Medicare’s proposal on nursing home staff is ‘insanity,’ key expert says

October 5, 2023

Some of the country’s top Medicare experts aren’t sold on a new Biden administration plan to enforce stricter staffing requirements in nursing homes. 

Current federal law requires nursing homes to have a registered nurse on duty for 8 consecutive hours per day, 7 days a week, and to have a licensed nurse — either an RN or licensed practical nurse — on site 24/7. Last month, Medicare proposed new rules that would require long-term care facilities to have an RN on site 24/7. They would also need to have minimum staffing ratios of 0.55 RN hours per resident day and 2.45 nursing assistant hours per resident day.

But such a rule could create more problems than it solves, according to Congress’s official Medicare advisors, the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission, which reviewed the rule at a Thursday meeting.

“Recommending a staffing requirement that something like 80% of facilities cannot comply with is I think best described as the definition of policy insanity,” said commissioner Brian Miller, a health policy researcher and assistant professor at Johns Hopkins University. 

Read the full story from STAT News here.