Each week we will highlight three trending news articles shared from the long-term care industry. From nursing homes to skilled nursing facilities, this weekly post will catch you up to speed on what's new.
Proposed Nursing Home Staffing Standards ‘Unattainable’ Amid Labor Crisis
The state of Virginia has just introduced a proposal to push for mandated minimum staffing hours. The ongoing staffing shortage in nursing homes across the country has forced other states to think about enforcing similar mandates.
In Virginia, the bill (House Bill 646) would require the state's Board of Health to enforce a minimum of 2.8 hours direct care per resident per day for nursing staff members, and at least 1.3 hours of care from a registered nurse per resident per day.
Despite this, The Virginia Health Care Association (VHCA) opposes this bill.
According to Amy Hewett, vice president of strategy and communications for the VHCA, “The workforce simply isn’t there,” and “We’ve lost 10 years of employment growth because of the pandemic. To mandate additional staff, the people simply aren’t there to fill those roles. It does seem really demoralizing when we know [nursing homes] have lost many workers in the sector … just based on the data, the staffing ratio and mandates would be unattainable.”
The state of Virginia currently has a program in development which would incentivize nursing homes to increase minimum staffing hours, called the Nursing Facility Value-Based Purchasing Program. It is set to begin in July of 2022.
CMS warns states: Survey fully or suffer consequences
On Wednesday, February 9, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services issued a memo warning state surveyors that they must enforce all parts of the federal programs’ health and safety requirements.
The memo is believed to be directed toward Florida and other states that have been vocal about decisions to not enforce mandate requirements.
In the memo, CMS threatens to reduce federal financial support that's budgeted for the survey process.
According to Jodi Eyigor, LeadingAge director of nursing home quality, "We are starting to hear about states who have either publicly stated or are whispering behind closed doors that they’re not going to be enforcing the CMS vaccine mandate for providers. If that is the case in your state, hear me very clearly: This will not keep you safe.”
Just last week, government officials in New Hampshire vowed to stop the mandate from being enforced for employees of county-owned nursing homes.
Nonetheless, CMS is adamant that failure to enforce all requirements could put nursing providers at risk for reduced funding.
CMS Makes Nursing Home COVID-19 Booster Vaccination Data Available Online, Increasing Transparency for Consumers
According to their official website, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is now posting data on COVID-19 vaccine booster shots given to nursing home residents and staff on the Medicare.gov Care Compare website. This is part of a collective effort to improve transparency and help families and loved ones navigate the selection process when deciding on a facility.
Current data indicate that the rate of booster shots given to nursing home residents is comparable to the national average, but it also shows the rate of booster shots given to nursing home staff lags well behind the national average.
According to the agency, "Providing the booster information on the consumer-friendly Care Compare site is one more tool that allows people to have a more comprehensive understanding of the environment they live in or are considering for themselves or a loved one."
Thank you for reading this week's edition of Weekly Long-Term Care News and Updates, from BASE10. We hope you enjoyed learning about the industry's latest news and findings. To be notified for next week's post, please subscribe to our email newsletter down below.
About BASE10 Genetics, Inc.
Located in Chicago, BASE10 is a healthcare software technology company whose platform creates turnkey disease management programs that can be deployed at scale for nursing home operators, pharmacies, payors, and self-funded employers.