November 7, 2023
In this Issue:
- Consumer Voice and Others Comment on CMS's Proposed Nursing Home Staffing Rule
- Fire Through Dry Grass Documentary Follows Nursing Home Residents During COVID-19
- Webinar on Supporting Residents with Mental and/or Behavioral Health Needs
- NCLC and Justice in Aging Seeking Information on Nursing Home Debt Collection Practices
Consumer Voice and Others Comment on CMS's Proposed Nursing Home Staffing Rule
On September 6, 2023, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released the long-anticipated Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) that would implement a minimum staffing standard in nursing homes. The rule was open for public comment through November 6, 2023. CMS received more than 46,000 comments on the rule.
Thank you to all those who made their voices heard by commenting! We appreciate your advocacy!
Consumer Voice's comments to CMS on the rule included:
- Consumer Voice strongly supports the proposed requirement that a nursing home have at least one registered nurse (RN) on site 24 hours per day, seven days per week. The current requirement of eight hours per day is insufficient and places residents at risk of harm.
- While Consumer Voice supports the implementation of a minimum staffing standard, the proposed standard is too low and must be increased.
- Additionally, we oppose the proposal that will permit waivers/exemptions from requiring nursing homes to comply with a minimum staffing standard if they meet certain criteria.
- We urge CMS to reduce the timeframes for implementation and use a phased-in approach; and to adopt a more stringent system for monitoring and enforcing compliance with staffing standards.
- Consumer Voice supports increased Medicaid transparency regarding direct care wages but believes more can be done.
- While we support the proposed additions to the facility assessment regulation, we note that these additions will only be effective with proper guidance and enforcement.
Read our full comments.
Additional Support for Strengthening the Staffing Rule
More than 80 national and state organizations, including Consumer Voice, signed onto a letter regarding the rule. Plus, U.S. Representatives Lloyd Doggett (D-TX), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), and 101 lawmakers wrote a letter urging CMS to strengthen and finalize the proposed Minimum Staffing Standards for Long-Term Care Facilities rule.
While official comments on the proposed rules have been submitted, our advocacy is not over. Continue to let your policymakers know that strong staffing standards must be implemented; and stay tuned to the Consumer Voice for next steps!
Fire Through Dry Grass Documentary Follows Nursing Home Residents During COVID-19
At the Consumer Voice Conference last week, we were honored to speak with the filmmakers behind the documentary Fire Through Dry Grass, during the Resident Empowerment Luncheon. Fire Through Dry Grass, an OPEN DOORS/Reality Poets documentary film, uncovers the real-time devastation experienced by residents of a New York City nursing home during the coronavirus pandemic. Using GoPros clamped to their wheelchairs, Andres “Jay” Molina and fellow Reality Poets, Vincent Pierce and Peter Yearwood, all residents of Coler Nursing Home, on Roosevelt Island, New York, document their harrowing experiences on “lock down.”
Watch the full documentary now available on PBS.
Webinar on Supporting Residents with Mental and/or Behavioral Health Needs
Join Consumer Voice and the National Long-Term Care Ombudsman Resource Center (NORC) for Resources for Supporting Residents with Mental and/or Behavioral Health Needs webinar on Tuesday, November 28, 2:00 – 3:00pm ET.
In recent years, changes in public policy and in living options have resulted in more residents with mental and/or behavioral health needs living in long-term care facilities. Long-term care facilities often lack the training and access to the support necessary to provide individualized care for residents with these needs. Join us to hear about a new free resource for nursing facilities, the Center of Excellence for Behavioral Health in Nursing Facilities (COE-NF).
The COE-NF was established in September 2022 by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) in collaboration with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). COE-NF leadership will share what they do, who they help, program goals, and how to connect the nursing facilities you visit with their resources.
- Linda Kluge, Senior Executive Director, Quality & Strategic Alliances
- Jacob Berelowitz, Program Manager, Center of Excellence for Behavioral Health in Nursing Facilities (COE-NF)
NCLC and Justice in Aging Seeking Information on Nursing Home Debt Collection Practices
The National Consumer Law Center (NCLC) and Justice in Aging are conducting a survey to obtain more information about nursing home collection practices in an effort to stop illegal or abusive conduct. Federal law prohibits nursing homes from requiring third-party guarantors in admission agreements. Despite this prohibition, nursing homes often bring collection lawsuits against third parties, such as family members or friends, when a resident owes a debt
If you are an attorney or aging services advocate and have seen nursing homes attempt to collect debt from residents, their families, or friends, fill out NCLC and Justice in Aging's survey regarding nursing home debt collection. The deadline for completing the survey is November 22nd.