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In his State of the Union address, President Joe Biden called on Medicare to set higher standards for nursing homes.
Most controversial is the president’s call for a “sufficient” endowment.
Kathryn Brod, President and CEO of LeadingAge Ohio, said, “…LeadingAge Ohio fears the industry is already carrying an enormous regulatory burden, and these additional requirements will accelerate the flight of nurse managers and other leaders from long-term care.”
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services will establish minimum staffing requirements for nursing homes and conduct further research to determine the level and type of staff needed, The White House noted. CMS will publish a proposed rule within one year.
The action will be aided by federal government funding, according to Chiquita Brooks-LaSure, administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
“When we talk to people on the front lines in care homes, the number one issue we hear about is staffing, and I think funding is part of that, but that’s not all,” said Brooks-LaSure, according to Bloomberg News.
WHY IT’S IMPORTANT
Poorly performing care homes will be held accountable for inappropriate and unsafe care or have their funding cut by taxpayers’ money.
“The administration is committed to taking these urgent actions as first steps toward achieving a broader commitment to ensure taxpayer dollars go toward the safe, adequate, and respectful care that seniors and people disabilities deserve – not in the pockets of predatory owners and operators who seek to maximize their profits at the expense of the health and safety of vulnerable residents,” the White House said.
Other measures outlined by the Biden administration include reducing crowding in resident rooms; strengthen the value-based purchase program for skilled nursing facilities; and strengthen safeguards against unnecessary medications and treatments to reduce the use of antipsychotics.
Terry Fulmer, chairman of the John A. Hartford Foundation, member of the Coronavirus Commission for Safety and Quality in Nursing Homes, said. “The past two years have been cataclysmic for America’s nursing homes. President Biden’s commitment to overhauling care for the elderly is urgently needed and welcomed. While there are many issues to be addressed, a Adequate staffing is the most essential starting point for improving quality and safety.”
Kathryn Brod, President and CEO of LeadingAge Ohio, said, “While planned reforms include some common goals, such as improving training for health care aides, supporting recruitment and retention of workforce and the launch of a career path campaign, LeadingAge Ohio is very concerned that the reforms are not coupled with appropriate funding and resources for providers. The largest long-term care payer, Medicaid, is also the most underfunded. Medicaid only covers part of the cost of care. The link between Medicaid payments and the quality of nursing homes has been well documented, exacerbating health disparities. »
THE GREAT TREND
A recent study of state nursing facilities found that increasing RN staffing by just 20 minutes per resident day was associated with 22% fewer confirmed COVID-19 cases and 26% deaths by COVID-19 less, the White House said.
The Office of Government Accountability found that from 2013 to 2017, 82% of all nursing homes inspected had an infection prevention and control deficiency, including a lack of regular hand washing, which was identified by Medicare and Medicaid surveys .
Statement from CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure: “Tragically, nursing home residents and staff have accounted for about a quarter of all COVID-19 deaths in the country. Without the hard work, dedication and the sacrifices of our frontline caregivers, we know the death toll from COVID-19 would be even more staggering. I am deeply grateful to the nursing home staff who do this essential work every day.
“The President has charted a course for improving the conditions of care home residents and the staff who care for them. CMS is ready to implement this vision and at the foundation is the setting of standards minimum standards for staff in care homes.”