Only 5% of Nursing Homes Meet Proposed CMS Staffing Levels: Report

The industry has opposed new nursing home staffing standards, claiming they will be too expensive, despite a massive death toll caused by a lack of staffing at long-term care facilities nationwide in recent years

Although it is widely known that staffing levels have a direct impact on the risk of residents suffering injuries caused by nursing home neglect or negligence, new data suggests that most of the facilities in the U.S. fail to meet the new guidelines proposed by the Biden Administration and U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), which are designed to protect elderly and ill Americans.

The U.S. News & World Report’s 2024 Best Nursing Home ratings were released last month, evaluating more than 15,000 nursing home facilities throughout the country, which were rated for providing the best and worst care among short-term and long-term care facilities.

Fewer than 5% of nursing homes in the United States met both the current federal staffing requirements and the newly proposed staffing standards by the Biden Administration in 2022, according to the ratings.

Nursing Home Staffing Standards

The current requirements call for a registered nurse to be on staff for patient care a minimum of eight hours per day, seven days per week. Overall, 436 nursing homes failed to meet the current federal requirements.

The new standards proposed by the Biden Administration call to raise the minimum hour requirements even further, in an effort to focus on patient care and safety amid the many nursing home resident deaths seen during the COVID-19 pandemic.

A total of 1,800 U.S. cities and towns in the country had facilities that received at least one Best Nursing Home rating and more than 2,500 cities had a nursing home that received at least one Below Average rating.

The report indicates 445 nursing homes that received high ratings of 4 or 5 stars from the U.S. Centers for Medicare Services (CMS) received low ratings of 1 or 2 stars out of 5 by the U.S. News & World Report.

Roughly 19% of nursing homes, or more than 2,800 facilities, were recognized with the Best Nursing Homes designation by the U.S. News.

The report notes that if a nursing home met the existing staffing requirements and the proposed requirements, the nursing home was 54 times more likely to be rated as a Best Nursing Home by U.S. News.

These findings highlight the link between increased staffing levels and improved quality of care, and the need for staffing levels to be overhauled in an effort to protect nursing home resident health.

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Opposition to Staffing Requirements

The U.S. News ratings were announced shortly after a CMS report, mistakenly released and quickly taken down, which suggested that there are no staffing levels that could guarantee quality care in nursing homes across the U.S.

The report indicated minimum requirements would increase the cost of care for most patients, leading to roughly 9,000 patients who would receive delayed care.

Additionally, more than 11,000 nursing homes in the U.S. would need to hire more staff to meet that level of care. But most nursing homes lost half their staff during the pandemic, leading to widespread staffing shortages and many facilities haven’t replaced their staff since then.

Since the Biden Administration proposal was released, the CMS received more than 40.000 public comments, both in favor of and in opposition to the proposed rules.

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