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January 17, 2023

In this Issue:

  1. Why Nursing Homes Need a Minimum Staffing Standard
  2. New Online Tool Compares Direct Care Workforce by State
  3. Webinar on Ombudsman Program Communications and Media Relations
  4. Virtual Office Hour for Ombudsman Programs on Inadequate Staffing in Nursing Homes

Why Nursing Homes Need a Minimum Staffing Standard

In April 2022, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced it was beginning the process of implementing a minimum staffing standard for nursing facilities.This standard would require nursing homes to have enough staff to provide each resident with a minimum amount of direct care each day. Since the announcement, CMS has undertaken a study to determine the standard and intends to publish proposed rules in early 2023. When implemented, this standard will be the most significant increase in protections for nursing homes in decades.

Staffing nursing homes adequately has multiple benefits to residents. Numerous studies have found that there is a correlation between higher staffing levels and improved care quality. A 2001 CMS study found that nursing home residents require 4.1 hours per resident day (hprd) of direct nursing care to avoid being at an increased risk of harm. The study found that every day residents need, at a minimum, .75 hours of care performed by an Registered Nurse, .55 hours of care performed by a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) or Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN), and the remaining 2.8 hours of care to be performed by a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA). Any new federal staffing standard should separately mandate staffing hours for each nursing staff category, i.e., RN, LPN/LVN, CNA. A 2020 paper recommended a guide for determining adequate staffing that resulted in a proposal for six different minimum staffing standards based on PDPM resident acuity levels.

Consumer Voice strongly supports the creation of a staffing standard that creates different minimum staffing baselines based on the acuity of nursing home residents. It is essential that this standard provide minimum staffing levels based on resident acuity and be broken down into nursing staff to resident ratios. A minimum staffing standard will save countless lives and result in better health outcomes for nursing home residents across the country.

Read our new issue brief for more information.

New Online Tool Compares Direct Care Workforce by State

PHI released a new online tool to help state policymakers, advocates, and other leaders understand how they support direct care workers, where they can improve, and how they compare to other states. The Direct Care Workforce State Index enables users to rank and compare states based on two composite measures: the range of policies that states have enacted to support these and other workers, and the economic status of direct care workers.

See the Direct Care Workforce State Index.

Webinar on Ombudsman Program Communications and Media Relations

Join the National Long-Term Care Ombudsman Resource Center (NORC) for a webinar on Communications and Media Relations to Raise Awareness of the Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program on Tuesday, January 31 from 2:00 - 3:30 pm ET. Media experts Kristin Hyde and Katie Hewett will provide an overview of media relations, offer tips on how to respond to media inquiries to elevate the awareness of the Ombudsman program, and discuss how to successfully use social media and digital communication tools to engage targeted audiences to attract more volunteers and gain support for the program. This webinar is intended for State Long-Term Care Ombudsmen and program representatives.

Register Now

Virtual Office Hour for Ombudsman Programs on Inadequate Staffing in Nursing Homes

The National Ombudsman Resource Center (NORC) is hosting a virtual office hour for long-term care Ombudsman programs the last Wednesday of each month at 2:00 pm ET. This is an opportunity to ask questions, share information, and have open conversations with peers and NORC staff.

The focus of the January call will be Addressing Issues Due to Inadequate Staffing. These Zoom calls do not include a structured presentation and are open to all State Ombudsmen and their program representatives. These calls will not be recorded and do not require registration. Attend to ask questions and share advocacy strategies when addressing issues related to inadequate staffing.

Learn more and attend the January 25th call.

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