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Statement on Proposed CMS Rule on Minimum Staffing Standards for Long-Term Care Facilities

By Soumi Saha, Senior Vice President, Government Affairs

Premier shares the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)’ goal of ensuring that the country’s fastest-growing, most vulnerable population is receiving safe, high-quality care, but is concerned that the agency’s proposal reflects a lack of understanding of the true state of the workforce environment. The implementation of any unfunded staffing ratios in any healthcare setting is preposterous given the current labor challenges that are occurring across the board, but are particularly acute for skilled nursing facilities (SNF). While well-intended, mandating staffing ratios will likely leave SNF beds empty due to lack of staff – exacerbating boarding issues at acute facilities and increasing overall costs to the healthcare system.

Given the healthcare labor market’s current shortages and instability, Premier is encouraged that the Administration has committed to boost investments to grow the pipeline of nurses, but more must be done. Premier has called for a multi-pronged approach to holistically address healthcare workforce challenges, including policies to protect workers against violence and increase graduate medical education. Congress can also help empower long-term care facility staff to work more effectively and maximize their workflow by providing post-acute care providers incentives to adopt health information technology more readily to standardize patient data, improve care quality and reduce costs.

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