Biden Requires Nursing Homes To Meet Federal Staffing Rules

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Most U.S. nursing homes will be required to add staffing under the federal rule announced on April 22, 2024, which, for the very first time, goes on to set the minimum staffing ratios across the country for homes that happen to care for the elderly as well as disabled people.

The rule, which was announced by Vice President Kamala Harris, goes on to mandate that nursing homes meet their minimum staffing needs for registered nurses as well as nurse aides. The rule happens to be intended to limit the cases of resident neglect or even delays in care, which happens to be a lingering issue that got exposed when over 200,000 nursing home residents as well as staff died from COVID-19 in the first couple of years of the pandemic.

Experts happen to call the rule quite a significant step when it comes to bolstering nursing home quality as well as safety.

According to one of the professors of health care policy at Harvard Medical School, David Grabowski, this happens to be the most prominent nursing home reform in decades, and they will need more staff within the nursing homes. This happens to be quite a big development when it comes to setting a floor in such a way that nursing homes cannot grossly understaff the facilities.

The president and CEO of the nursing home industry group American Health Care Association, Mark Parkinson, went on to blast the rule as unconscionable given that the nation is indeed going through a nursing shortage.

By way of issuing a final rule that goes on to demand hundreds of thousands of more caregivers when there happens to be a nationwide dearth of nurses just happens to create quite an impossible task for providers, said Parkinson in a statement. This unfunded mandate does not go on to magically solve the nursing crisis.

It is well to be noted that the White House remarked in a fact sheet that the fresh rule requires all nursing homes having a federal funding by way of Medicare and Medicaid so as to provide staffing, which is the equivalent of almost 3.5 hours of everyday care pertaining to each resident. The rule also requires that nursing homes go on to have registered nurses on duty for 24-hours and seven days a week in order to offer skilled nursing, which will in turn further go on to enhance nursing home safety.

Apparently, on average, a nursing home with 100 residents would have almost two to three registered nurses and a minimum of 10 nurse assistants on duty for every shift, all round the clock. Officials opined that this level of staffing happens to be necessary so as to provide safe care with good outcomes in terms of vulnerable residents.

The U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, Xavier Becerra, said these staffing needs represent the minimum level of care for over 1.2 million Americans across federally certified nursing homes.

If one is indeed going to represent to be a nursing home, they should have a nurse who is available for care for my loved one, which I am about to put in your facility, said Bacerra. He added his insistence that the care he is going to get must be quality.

He added that it’s a level of care any family member would anticipate.

The Biden administration happened to say that the rule will be executed in phases so as to offer nursing homes, specifically those in rural communities, much time to hire the additional workers. Nursing homes must go on to complete an evaluation gauging the day-to-day requirements of residents within 90 days of the rule being finalized. The minimum staffing levels would get phased in over two to three years.

Nursing homes within the communities that happen to face a workforce shortage will have limited and temporary exemptions in order to meet the registered nurse requirement as well as overall staffing ratios, said the White House.

Both federal and academic researchers have gone on to long establish the staffing levels as the best predictors of quality nursing home care. But the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, which go on to regulate the nursing homes that happen to receive Medicare and Medicaid funding, have never ever needed a specific number of nurses and aides. The agency has just gone on to make recommendations, which few facilities have followed.

In one more related rule, which was also announced on April 22, 2024, the Biden administration is looking to bolster home care when it comes to seniors and disabled residents within Medicaid, the federal health program for low-income populations. The rule requires that companies that provide home care services spend at least 80% of Medicaid payments on workers’ wages.

The Biden administration went on to say that higher wages for home health care workers would go on to reduce turnover and, as a matter of fact, lead to higher-quality home care for the elderly as well as the disabled.

It is worth noting that home health care workers can at times find a better paying job going to flip burgers than offering your loved one the care that he or she requires, said Becerra, who opined that more needs to be done.

The home care rule, which happens to be similar to the rule on nursing home staffing ratios, would go on to enable the states to account for distinct experiences that small home care providers as well as providers in rural areas face when it comes to meeting such requirements, said the White House.

It is well to be noted that one of the USA TODAY investigations found that though the nursing homes have gone ahead and submitted daily staffing data to federal officials for years, they have very rarely been punished when it comes to violating the existing guidelines as well as rules.

The fact is that such penalties have been pretty unusual when it comes to facilities wherein the inspectors noted low staffing in the course of investigating avoidable deaths as well as people who had suffered broken bones, spent days sans any help getting out of bed, or even spent hours sitting in feces, among other violations. Fines when it comes to such violations have been even rarer.