Safe Staffing Methodologies

CMS will establish minimum staffing standards. Studies have found a strong connection between staffing levels and care.

Consumers and residents hope that the minimum will be at least 4.1 hours per patient day. Resident needs are then taken into account for additional caregivers. More than 3,000 comments on the proposed staffing rule will assist CMS on the best methodology.

The three main methodologies include: 1. Using an acuity-staffing model per shift; 2. Implementing a hybrid approach using facility assessment to determine staffing needs above a standard level; and 3. Establishing minimums for residents with lowest-care needs, assessed using the MDS.

“While there are clear differences of opinion among stakeholders on establishing minimum staffing standards, it is CMS’ goal to use information along with the findings of the research staffing study, to strike a balance between positions all in the interest of ensuring safe and quality care for residents.” 

A majority of nursing homes staff at unsafe levels, according to a recent survey. Insufficient staff causes unsafe conditions for the nation’s elderly. Unsafe staffing is a form of neglect. The facilities know that residents will be harmed without sufficient competent caregivers.

The Biden plan to require the nation’s 15,500 nursing homes to spend most of their payments from Medicaid on direct care for residents is a good start. However, limiting the amount allocated to related entities for alleged services or diverted to profits is also necessary. Taxpayers spend enough on the profitable nursing home industry.  Our seniors deserve better.