Residents would be most hurt by nursing home regulations
Nursing homes in Georgia and throughout much of the rest of the nation are facing a federal regulation that may very well force the removal of beds from the senior care facilities. At a time when nursing homes are having trouble finding employees, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) wants to dictate to them how many employees they must have, as well as their level of skills and the amount of time they must spend with each resident on a daily basis. Few would be inclined to disagree that the requirements would improve the quality of care. The problem, especially in Georgia, according to the Georgia Health Care Association, is that the new rules CMS is seeking would necessitate the hiring of 3,652 more nurses and nurse aides in this state alone. Of that number, 898 would have to be RNs and all others nurse aides.
Given the workforce shortage, that is unrealistic. It is an unattainable goal. The cost of compliance to nursing homes in Georgia alone would be about $187 million annually. The new rules would require, according to GHCA, that a nurse aide spend at least 2.45 hours with each resident over a 24-hour period. It also would require a registered nurse to be on site at all times and RNs to spend at least 0.55 hours each day with each resident.
The association cautions that 76% of the nursing homes in the state fail to meet at least one of the proposed staffing requirements. Less than 1% meet all three. If enforced, the GHCA says more than 9,598 nursing home residents could be impacted by census reductions.