A Quality Care Push: CMS to Set Strict Staffing Benchmarks for Nursing Homes
By Thomas Moore, Supervisor, Advisory Services
As of September 1, 2023, CMS has announced its plan to mandate a minimum staffing requirement for all nursing homes across the country in an effort to ensure a higher quality of care and safety for residents among these Facilities. CMS believes the initiative will impact the lives of over 1.2 million residents of long-term care facilities. The magnitude of this proposed rule can also be seen in the projected cost over a ten years, estimated at $40.6 Billion by CMS.
The proposed rule requires a minimum of 0.55 hours of RN time per resident day, 2.45 hours of CNA time per resident day, and a RN to be on site 24/7 at each Facility. According to CMS, this will leave approximately 75% of nursing homes out of compliance as they currently stand. These out of compliance facilities will now be forced to take action to meet the new standards set by CMS and may face penalties for non-compliance.
While the idea of increasing the quality of care in nursing homes sounds great on its face, the question remains as to how facilities will adapt to such a large new mandate without additional funding. Many facilities struggle to fill their direct care staffing due to the inability to find workers, increased costs for these workers, and an increased need for the more costly agency nursing staff. Undoubtedly, the proposed rule will lead to many providers no longer being viable and ultimately shutting their doors. Only time will tell if the proposed rule will lead to increased high-quality care in Facilities across the country or reduce citizen’s access to nursing facility care in their community.