Experts Question How Nursing Homes Will Pay For More Staff Amid Anticipated Minimum Staffing Mandate

Mary Madison, RN, RAC-CT, CDP
Clinical Consultant – Briggs Healthcare

Friday, October 7, 2022, AHCA/NCAL issued this press release (same title as this blog).

“The Biden administration is expected to issue a federal minimum staffing mandate for nursing homes. As the long term care sector continues to face a historic labor crisis, experts are questioning how the proposed mandate would address staffing shortages without resources or support.   

Many providers have already increased pay and benefits, which has been invaluable for workers and enabled nursing homes to try to compete in today’s challenging job market. This raises serious questions about the ability of programs like Medicaid and Medicare Advantage to keep pace. The mandate could require an estimated $10 billion per year for caregivers’ wages and benefits – and so far, the proposed mandate remains unfunded. 

Rather than unrealistic, unfunded mandates that will result in more nursing homes closing, policymakers should focus on meaningful solutions to attract more caregivers to the field. The American Health Care Association (AHCA) and LeadingAge have developed a comprehensive reform proposal, the Care for Our Seniors Act, that provides solutions to rebuild and strengthen the long term care workforce through a variety of staff recruitment and retention programs. Our nation’s seniors deserve dedicated caregivers. It’s time to start investing in the frontline heroes who serve our most vulnerable population.”

I’ve excerpted the beginning and ending statements in this press release. I encourage you to review the remarks in the body of the press release from:

  • David Grabowski, Ph.D. – Professor of health care policy at Harvard Medical School and Commissioner of the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC)
  • Mark J. Warshawsky – senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), former deputy commissioner for Retirement and Disability Policy at the Social Security Administration and former vice-chairman of the 2013 Long-Term Care Commission
  • John R. Bowblis, PhD, – Professor of Economics and Research Fellow at Miami University Department of Economics and Scripps Gerontology Center