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CMS Provides Details on Staffing Study

August 24, 2022

Earlier this year, President Biden announced a comprehensive set of reforms to improve safety and quality of nursing home care.  One initiative of these reforms is to establish new minimum staffing requirements, ensuring that every nursing home has sufficient staff who are adequately trained.   In April of this year, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a Request for Information (RFI) asking for input on a variety of issues related to a minimum staffing standard.  Read Consumer Voice’s responses to the RFI.

In its August 22, 2022 blog post, CMS noted it received "divergent views on the establishment of minimum staffing levels" from industry associations and nursing home resident advocates. Advocacy groups and family members of residents generally supported establishing a minimum staffing standard, but industry and provider groups expressed concern.  CMS stated that it is its goal to "consider all perspectives" when crafting the minimum staffing requirements.

Central to CMS’ goal of establishing a minimum staffing standard is a multi-faceted staffing study to be conducted by CMS. In its blog post, CMS laid out its plan for the staffing study which includes:

  1. Literature review: a review of existing studies and information to summarize the relationship between care quality and safety and staffing levels.

  2. Site visits to nursing homes and related analyses: CMS will visit 50 to 75 nursing homes to interview staff and residents regarding staffing levels and care.  In addition, CMS will be collecting observational data on care provisions to develop a simulation model to document the impact of different staffing levels on care quality. The goal, as stated by CMS, is to document not just what staffing levels currently exist, but what levels are needed to meet all residents needs.

  3. Quantitative analyses: CMS will study payroll data from nursing homes from 2018-2021 to identify staffing levels associated with better care.

  4. Cost analyses: CMS will use the data collected in the previous steps to attempt to ascertain the additional costs, if any, of a minimum staffing standard.

Learn more about CMS’ staffing study in their blog post.

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