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Minimum staffing requirements announced for U.S. nursing homes

Nursing homes
Posted at 4:33 PM, Apr 22, 2024
and last updated 2024-04-22 18:33:08-04

The Biden administration has finalized a rule determining how much staff must be on hand at nursing homes across the US to increase patient care at these facilities.

The new federal rules require a registered nurse to be on-site at all times in facilities that receive federal funding. It also requires a minimum of 3.48 hours of nursing care per resident every day. This means a facility with 100 residents would need at least 2 or 3 nurses as well as 10 or 11 nurse aides per shift.

Though the staffing requirements aim to increase care quality, nursing home operators across the country are critical of the new rules, claiming that they are already having a difficult time filling positions. Now, they worry the federal rules could force them to shut down.

In an interview with Idaho News 6's Don Nelson, Mark Parkinson, President of the American Health Care Association said, "Although the Biden administration means well, they're just making this worse. They've issued a mandate for minimum staffing in nursing homes that we can't meet because the workers aren't out there."

The rule does make temporary exemptions for areas experiencing workforce shortages. The Biden administration is also working to relieve the strain by working with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to develop a $75 million national nursing home staffing campaign to increase the number of nurses available to work in nursing homes across the country.

A CMS fact sheet on nursing home staffing standards providing the foundation for the new rules as well as the implementation plan is available at CMS.gov. The implementation plan clarifies that facilities need to operate within the staffing guidelines within 2 years of the rule's passing.