Minimum Staffing Rule for Nursing Homes Is Finalized

CNA walking with patient at a nursing home
Written by
Lori Fuqua
April 23, 2024

The White House has announced that it has finalized a new minimum staffing rule for nursing homes, an effort to improve the quality of care for elderly residents.

The new rule comes after years of concern about the quality of care in nursing homes, with reports of neglect and abuse rampant in the industry. Many advocates for the elderly have been pushing for a minimum staffing ratio for years, claiming that it would greatly improve the well-being of residents.

What Is the Finalized Minimum Staffing Rule?

According to the mandate, nursing homes receiving Medicare and Medicaid funding must offer a minimum of 3.48 hours of nursing care per resident per day. This includes designated periods for both registered nurses and nurse aides. For a facility with 100 residents, this would require at least two to three registered nurses and 10 to 11 nurse aides per shift. Additionally, two more nurse staff, who can be registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, or nurse aides, must be present. These requirements have been outlined in a White House factsheet and have sparked some controversy.

Opposition to the Minimum Staffing Rule

However, not everyone is in favor of this rule. The American Health Care Association, which represents the nursing home industry, argues that the increased staffing requirement would add a significant financial burden on facilities. They also cite concerns that there is already a shortage of registered nurses, making it difficult to meet the proposed staffing levels. Some nursing home organizations have expressed concerns about the practicality of the new rule, arguing that it may be difficult for them to find enough registered nurses to meet the ratio. 

Response to Opposition

The government has responded to these concerns by stating that the new rule would be phased in gradually, giving nursing homes time to adjust and hire additional staff if necessary. They also argue that the added costs, estimated at $600 million annually, would be more than offset by the improved quality of care and potential cost savings from preventing avoidable health complications.

Alongside this, the Biden administration has unveiled a new final rule designed to enhance access to home care services for elderly individuals and those with disabilities while also improving the quality of jobs in the caregiving industry. This rule mandates that at least 80% of Medicaid payments for home care services must be allocated toward workers' wages.

Support of the Minimum Staffing Rule

Health experts have welcomed the new rule, stating that having more registered nurses on duty will lead to better health outcomes for residents. With their advanced training and expertise, registered nurses are able to provide a higher level of care and catch potential health issues before they become serious. The rule has garnered support from advocates for nursing home residents. They see it as a much-needed step towards holding nursing homes accountable for the care they provide to vulnerable individuals.

Who Would Benefit from the Rule?

The goal of this new minimum staffing rule is to lead to a significant improvement in the quality of care in nursing homes. Ensuring that there are enough registered nurses on staff to properly attend to residents' needs can be seen as a positive step towards ensuring that the elderly population in the US receives the care and respect they deserve. 

It is important to note that this new rule will benefit not only the residents but also the nursing home staff. With better staffing and improved working conditions, turnover rates are expected to decrease, and overall job satisfaction is expected to increase.

For more details on the minimum staffing mandate, review the official White House press release.

Source:

Blog published on:
April 23, 2024

Lori is a contributing copywriter at Nursa who creates compelling content focusing on location highlights, nurse licensing, compliance, community, and social care.

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