AHCA NCAL Leads Coalition Letter Urging Support For The Protecting Rural Seniors’ Access To Care Act

Bill Would Stop The Biden Administration From Implementing Federal Staffing Mandate For Nursing Homes

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL), sent a joint letter to U.S. House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Jason Smith (R-MO-08) and Ranking Member Richard Neal (D-MA-01) urging support for the Protecting Rural Seniors' Access to Care Act (H.R. 5796), introduced by U.S. Representatives Michelle Fischbach (R-MN-07) and Greg Pence (R-IN-06). The bill, which is a companion to bipartisan legislation in the U.S. Senate, would prohibit the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) from finalizing its proposed federal staffing mandate for nursing homes and establish an advisory panel on nursing home staffing.

The AHCA/NCAL-led letter was signed by nearly 1,100 groups, including more than 15 national organizations, dozens of state organizations and hundreds of long term care providers across the country. The diverse group of signers includes advocacy organizations representing rural providers, state veterans' homes, hospitals, and county officials. In the letter, the groups write:
“Without workforce development programs and funding, a staffing mandate will not create more caregivers. This impossible standard only threatens to shut down more nursing homes – creating further hospital backlogs – and severely limit access to care for our nation's most vulnerable seniors. Without a pipeline of new caregivers and resources to recruit, nursing homes will be forced to downsize to meet these requirements or close.
“Since the federal staffing mandate was announced, there has been a growing consensus among Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle, long term care advocates, and health care experts that the proposal will hurt our most vulnerable residents and their families and that the Biden Administration should reconsider its implementation.”
“Nursing homes are a critical part of our health care continuum, which is why the number of stakeholders speaking out against this flawed policy continues to grow,” said AHCA/NCAL Senior Vice President of Government Affairs Clif Porter. “We are extremely proud to have led this effort and grateful for the support of these organizations. We strongly urge Members of Congress to support both the House and Senate versions of this bill, so we can protect access to care for our nation's seniors.”

The one-size-fits-all staffing mandate proposed by CMS would require nursing homes to meet arbitrary staffing minimums without any meaningful resources and workforce development programs. Nearly 95 percent of nursing homes do not meet at least one or more of the three proposed requirements. The impossible standards would force nursing homes to downsize or close entirely, displacing hundreds of thousands of nursing home residents—a major concern for underserved and rural communities. Hundreds of nursing homes have already been forced to close since the beginning of the pandemic, many due to a lack of available workers.

Read the full letter HERE.