For the first time in its history, the federal government has announced that it might impose new rules and regulations regarding nursing home staffing requirements. The Biden Administration is considering the unprecedented move in response to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) analyses that showed a staggering death toll (approximately 167,000) among elderly nursing home residents during the COVID-19 pandemic. It is believed that many of those deaths could have been prevented with better nursing home staff levels that would have allowed residents to get more frequent check-ins and care.
The proposed rule changes – which are not official and could take years to go into effect if they ever are passed into law – call for:
- Enough staff at a nursing home to provide each resident with 3 hours of personalized care a day.
- At least 30 minutes of personalized care from a registered nurse per resident per day.
- On-staff registered nurse 24/7/365 at every nursing home center.
Based on projections from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), more than 75% of the country’s 15,000-odd nursing homes would need to increase staff levels to match the proposed requirements. Misleadingly, the average nursing home already meets the proposed requirements. However, this data means that there are many, many nursing homes that fall well below the requirements, which are offset by a minority number of nursing homes that far exceed them.
Critics of the Proposed Rules
While the proposed federal rules for nursing home staff requirements would create staffing improvements at many nursing homes, some critics have argued that the changes would not be enough. A previous study from the CMS itself estimated that 4.1 hours of personalized care per resident per day should be the minimum amount for improved resident health and safety.
Other critics, mostly professionals from the nursing home industry, argue that the proposed rules would go too far. The American Health Care Association, one of the country’s most prominent lobbyists for patient care facilities and nursing homes, said such staffing requirements would bankrupt many nursing home companies, ultimately worsening the care provided. Others, such as a spokesperson for LeadingAge, a nonprofit nursing home representative group, argue that there simply aren’t enough professionals in the industry to fill the staffing requirements proposed by the federal government.
For more information about the proposed regulations for nursing home staffing, you can click here to view a full article from AP News. If you think your loved one has been abused or neglected in a New Mexico nursing home, you can call (505) 295-2245 to speak with a member of Harvey & Foote Law Firm. Our law firm focuses on nursing home abuse claims and lawsuits, so you know that we will be ready to handle any challenge that your case might include. Get your free and confidential consultation today to begin.