AHCA to “triumph” over proposed CMS staffing mandate: A Flawed Approach

nursing home abuse and neglect
Date: November 7, 2023

As of October 2nd, 2023, the American Health Care Association (AHCA) announced that they would continue to fight against the proposed federal staffing mandate by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). The proposed rule would cost providers nearly $6.8 billion annually and ultimately require nursing home facilities to hire close to 100,000 new employees.

Just a few days earlier, the Senate signed a letter asking CMS to consider withdrawing the staffing rule. They feel that the mandate is coming at the “worst possible time” and is not achievable or realistic.

President and CEO of the AHCA, Mark Parkinson shares that he believes the proposal was a bad idea. Parkinson notes that the sector is still experiencing a significant decline in the workforce following the Covid-19 pandemic. He is encouraging providers to submit comments to CMS on its proposal to stop CMS from enforcing the mandate.

Senators wrote “… we are deeply concerned that now is the worst possible time for the United States to establish the nation’s first federal staffing mandate for long-term care facilities. We believe the rule as proposed is overly burdensome and will result in additional closures and decreased access to care.”

As the AHCA argues that they will “triumph” over the proposed staffing mandate by bombarding CMS with written and spoken concerns, a new problem is arising. At this point in time, the very last thing the AHCA and other providers should be focusing on is fighting increased staffing. Increased staffing means increased quality of care for nursing home residents. As the AHCA and others battle with CMS, they are simultaneously fighting against effective and compassionate care.

There is a strong correlation between increased staffing and quality of care. In fact, a study conducted on over 3,000 hospital units determined that quality of care “significantly decreased as the nurse staffing levels decreased.” In fighting the staffing mandate, AHCA and providers are negatively impacting the quality of care for nursing home residents. The AHCA is more concerned with the quantity of nursing care facilities than the quality.

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Marselas, Kimberly, and Jessica R. Towhey. “Providers Pledge ‘Triumph’ over Staffing Rule as Pressure Grows in Washington.” McKnight’s Long-Term Care News, 3 Oct. 2023, www.mcknights.com/news/providers-pledge-triumph-over-staffing-rule-as-pressure-grows-in-washington/

Winter, Vera, et al. “Nurse Staffing and Patient-Perceived Quality of Nursing Care: A Cross-Sectional Analysis of Survey and Administrative Data in German Hospitals.” BMJ Open, British Medical Journal Publishing Group, 1 Nov. 2021, bmjopen.bmj.com/content/11/11/e051133.

Julia Kourpas