OIG Report: Do Better!

AARP published a great article from Maura Kelly Lannan about a recent OIG report on the staffing issues in the nursing home industry. The report found “monumental and persistent staffing challenges,” as well as issues with infection control.

The Office of Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services released the ​​​report on February 29. The government watchdogs discovered the obvious:

Federal nursing home regulators must do more to prevent staffing shortages in nursing homes and strengthen infection controls to better protect residents after the COVID-19 pandemic, which resulted in more than 185,000 residents’ deaths.

Investigators found that training and certification requirements for nursing home aides should be reassessed, updated guidance should be given to nursing homes on how to improve infection control and a system should be created to share information on best practices among nursing homes.

Federal staffing requirements for nursing homes haven’t changed in decades despite mounting evidence that higher staffing levels are linked to better quality of care for residents, including better COVID-19 outcomes.

CMS has issued a proposed rule for minimum staffing requirements in nursing homes. That proposal, issued in September, outlined how U.S. nursing homes would need to meet specific staffing requirements for the first time. AARP believes the proposed minimum staffing standard is long overdue and an important step.

CMS said it will invest $75 million in a federal program for tuition reimbursement and scholarships for people entering careers in nursing homes.