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Advocates Send Letter to CMS in Support of Staffing Study and Their Plan to Propose Minimum Staffing Standard

February 02, 2023

Consumer Voice along with more than a dozen other advocacy organizations sent a letter to Chiquita Brooks-LaSure, the Administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), expressing strong support for the agency’s efforts to address the staffing crisis in nursing homes across the country.

Almost one year ago, President Biden announced a historic set of nursing home reforms, one of which was a promise to implement a minimum staffing standard. Since that announcement, CMS has embarked upon a rigorous and fact-based approach to making this promise happen, including soliciting input from the public and conducting a study on the direct care needs of nursing home residents.

Implementing a minimum staffing standard would be the most significant increase in protections for nursing home residents in decades. Overwhelming evidence connects better health outcomes with higher staffing levels. Just recently, the Office of Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (OIG) called into question the adequacy of current staffing standards when analyzing the devastating effect of COVID-19 on nursing home residents.  Another OIG report in November 2022 found that inadequate staffing levels increase the likelihood that nursing home residents are illegally drugged, raising their risk of harm and even death. Poorly-staffed nursing homes are more likely to be cited for abuse, have worse health inspection results, and have lower overall ratings on CMS’s Compare Care website.

While it is unclear when a minimum staffing standard will be proposed, we need to ensure the voices of residents, families, and workers are heard.  Too often the voices of residents and their advocates are drowned out by the special interests of those in the nursing home industry. We must stand united to protect residents and be a voice of hope. We thank CMS for prioritizing the well-being of nursing home residents, our most vulnerable citizens, and look forward to working towards a staffing standard that protects all residents. 

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