CMS confirms nursing home staffing ratios to finalize this year

CMS said it will finalize the nursing home minimum staffing proposal in 2024, officials said in a national stakeholder call Jan. 23.

The CMS team said they received more than 46,000 comments on the proposal, which was used to inform the final rule.

The staffing proposal was first proposed on Sept. 1, and historically, the final rule followed up to three years later, though CMS can issue the final rule at any time after the 60-day comment period.

The proposed rules increased the number of hours registered nurses and nurse aides are required to provide per resident per day. Advocates have criticized the rules for not allowing licensed practical nurses to count toward the requirements.

Non-rural nursing homes have three years to meet the standards, and rural nursing homes have five. According to CMS data, 94% of government-funded nursing homes were short-staffed during the pandemic, and many continue to struggle to maintain proper staffing levels.

On Nov. 1, 15 governors wrote a letter to CMS asking them to reconsider the standards. On Dec. 5, Sen. Deb Fischer of Nebraska introduced a bill to block the proposed standards.

"Nursing homes aren't the only part of the healthcare system that will be affected if the administration continues to miss the mark and the [staffing] rule is implemented as proposed," LeadingAge, a nonprofit advocacy group, told Skilled Nursing News. "The administration has said it's committed to ensuring access to home and community-based care, but their actions are working against that goal, as homecare and hospice providers — already navigating workforce challenges — will be short even more workers if they move to nursing homes."

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