Senator moves to block CMS' nursing home staffing mandates

CMS' proposed minimum staffing mandates could force many nursing homes in rural areas to shut down, according to one senator who plans to introduce a bill to block the changes.

In an opinion piece published Nov. 28 in the Scottsbluff Star-Herald, Nebraska Sen. Deb Fischer said she plans to propose a bill that would prevent CMS' "misguided standards" from going into effect.

She said the legislation also would establish an advisory panel on nursing home workforce made up of 15 members representing various stakeholders, including members from rural and underserved areas.

"This mandate from CMS would devastate facilities across Nebraska and other rural states. It would force many facilities to reduce their number of patients or close their doors for good," she said. "The Biden administration must hear from voices outside the big cities on the coasts. This proposed rule is a one-size-fits-all solution that simply doesn't fit. It's a misguided mandate that will prove destructive for communities that most need care."

Ms. Fischer was one of 16 senators who sent a letter to CMS in September opposing the new standards. She said they never received a reply.

The nursing home workforce standards were released in September. 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.

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