September 1, 2023
AUSTIN – Today, September 1, 2023, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a long-awaited federal staffing mandate for nursing homes. Kevin Warren, President and CEO of the Texas Health Care Association (THCA), released the following statement:
“To say that we are disappointed the federal mandate is still going to proceed is an understatement. Available and well-trained staff is an important element of caring for the frail and elderly in Texas nursing homes; but implementing a ‘one size fits all’ unfunded staffing requirement for nursing homes is not the change we need. Texas is already short thousands of RNs and CNAs. A staffing mandate will not manufacture these sorely needed direct care staff that quite simply do not currently exist and will not exist when this rule is proposed to be implemented.
“Ironically, just a few days ago, CMS’ own study revealed recent literature ‘does not provide a clear evidence basis for setting a minimum staffing level’ and total national costs for implementation are between $1.5 billion and $6.8 billion.
“For providers unable to meet staffing mandates, they will have no choice but to deny new patients, close units or entire facilities, creating access to care issues and further travel for loved ones, particularly in rural communities. In lieu of mandates, we need to invest in the expansion of educational pipelines that incentivize nurses and encourage students to see long-term care as a long-term profession. We need to invest additional funding that creates the ability for rural and urban providers alike to compete for the best staff.
“Having been a part of the nursing home profession for over 25 years, I support the importance of consistent and quality staffing to care for residents in the over 1,200 nursing homes across the state. However, in Texas, this should be about taking care of people. It should not be about additional mandates for a profession that lacks the financial and personnel resources to achieve success.”
Founded in 1950, the Texas Health Care Association (THCA) is the largest long-term care association in Texas. THCA’s membership is comprised of several hundred licensed nonprofit and for-profit skilled nursing facilities (SNFs), specialized rehabilitation facilities and assisted living facilities in Texas.
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