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NRHA Statement on Minimum Staffing Standards for Long-Term Care Facilities Rule

NRHA CEO Alan Morgan released the following statement on CMS' rule for minimum staffing standards for long-term care facilities:

The National Rural Health Association (NRHA) is deeply disappointed by CMS’ decision to finalize a one-size-fits-all rule for long-term care staffing. NRHA appreciates and concurs with CMS’ commitment to improving resident safety in nursing homes but is extremely concerned about the consequences of this rule on rural beneficiary access to care. Rural facilities are facing historic nursing shortages, inflation, and inadequate reimbursement, leading to a wave of rural facility closures. A blanket, unfunded staffing mandate will threaten the viability of rural nursing homes and further jeopardize access to post-acute care for rural residents.

This rule comes at a time when over 200,000 more long-term care workers are needed to meet pre-pandemic levels, rural areas are projected to have a higher shortage of RNs compared to urban, and almost 500 rural nursing homes have closed their doors. A lack of post-acute care beds has ripple effects on an already strained rural health care delivery system. When rural hospitals are unable to discharge patients to the appropriate setting, older adults cannot get the care that they need, and hospitals must cover their extended stays. Minimum staffing levels will debilitate rural nursing homes and intensify placement challenges, putting patient safety and access to care at risk in rural communities. NRHA pledges to continue to work with Congress and the Administration on alternatives to ensuring residents’ safety and health without compromising the rural nursing home sector.

For details on the final rule, please find NRHA's summary here.

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Alexa McKinley

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