The Bulletin Board

Sununu joins call for Biden to abandon proposed staffing requirements for long-term care facilities

By: - November 1, 2023 4:09 pm

According to a KFF analysis, fewer than 1 in 5 long-term care facilities could currently meet the proposed staffing minimums. (Getty Images)

Gov. Chris Sununu has joined health care leaders in calling on the Biden administration to abandon proposed minimum staffing requirements for long-term care facilities as providers struggle to fill existing jobs. 

In a letter to Biden Wednesday, Sununu and 14 other Republican governors warned the proposed requirements from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services would force long-term care facilities to close. 

“America’s long-term care industry is facing a full-fledged workforce crisis,” they wrote. “Despite this, the CMS requirements would force over 80% of facilities nationwide to hire more staff at a time when workers, particularly RNs, have never been scarcer.” 

Under the proposed rules, long-term care facilities would have at least three hours of care per resident per day, with 2.45 hours provided by nurse aids and .55 hours by registered nurses. They would also have to have a registered nurse on staff 24 hours per day, seven days per week.

The governors told Biden, “…your proposed rule treats this complex, deep-rooted problem as something to be solved with a simple wave of the bureaucratic wand.” 

According to a KFF analysis, fewer than 1 in 5 long-term care facilities could currently meet the proposed staffing minimums, meaning more than 80 percent of facilities would need to hire nursing staff. It said 90 percent of for-profit facilities would need to hire additional nursing staff compared with 6 percent of nonprofit and government facilities.

The analysis found that only 30 percent of the state’s nursing facilities could meet the proposed staffing requirements for nurse aides and registered nurses. Nearly 80 percent could meet the standard for registered nurses, but only 33 percent have enough nurse aides, KFF said.

Several New Hampshire nursing home leaders have raised concerns too. 

Brendan Williams, president and CEO of the New Hampshire Health Care Association, sounded the alarm in a recent New Hampshire Business Review editorial. He said members of his association who are not already meeting the proposed requirements could do so only by limiting admissions or turning to more expensive nurse staffing agencies, he wrote. Some said they’d have to close.

Williams called on the Biden administration to “rescind its care-destroying, irrational proposal.”

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Annmarie Timmins
Annmarie Timmins

Senior reporter Annmarie Timmins is a New Hampshire native who covered state government, courts, and social justice issues for the Concord Monitor for 25 years. During her time with the Monitor, she won a Nieman Fellowship to study journalism and mental health courts at Harvard for a year. She has taught journalism at the University of New Hampshire and writing at the Nackey S. Loeb School of Communications. Email: [email protected]