Arkansas Staffing

Arkansas increased staffing in nursing homes. Arkansas’ nursing home staffing requirements will be updated for the first time in decades. However, the level is still not safe. The minimum safe levels are 4.1 hours per patient per day.  No wonder the industry lobbyists are happy.

Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson signed legislation HB 1776 that providers called a “big win for our long-term care facilities.”

The previous law was in place for more than 20 years ago. It required minimum staffing levels to be based on a per-shift basis. The old staffing ratios were the equivalent to 2.8 hours of staff time per resident day. The new standard calls for 3.6 average direct care hours per residents days, which is a nearly 30% increase to the previous minimum requirement.

Rachel Bunch is the executive director of the Arkansas Health Care Association. She praised the new law.

“Our shifts were in statute [7 a.m. to 3 p.m.; 3 p.m. to 11 p.m.; and 11 p.m. to 7 a.m.] and did not allow for flexibility in staffing models, which is not helpful for person-centered care or staff recruitment and retention,” Bunch told McKnight’s Long-Term Care News.

The measure also allows facilities to count medication assistants and therapists toward their direct care nursing staff. Previously, the law only allowed providers to count registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, and certified nursing assistants in the calculation.