What a Staffing Mandate Could Mean for Nursing Homes

Staffing remains one of the most contentious topics in the senior housing landscape as the Biden administration’s proposed staffing mandate is once again making headlines. In February 2022, federal lawmakers shared plans for several historic nursing home reforms, including a staffing minimum that would require nursing homes to provide 24-hour licensed nursing services using an RN for a minimum of 8 hours. While the reforms have received positive press and support, operators across the nation are petitioning lawmakers to consider the possible negative implications of such a mandate.
While the White House released the reform plan on Feb. 29, 2022, whether or not it will go into effect hinges on the staffing mandate and the findings of a year-long study

Staffing Mandate Could Spell Trouble for Rural Communities 

There’s no question the Biden administration’s staffing mandate has been a topic of much debate over the last year. On one hand, many stakeholders see it as a necessary step to ensure that nursing home residents receive the care they need. On the other hand, some argue that the one-size-fits-all strategy could hurt and potentially close rural nursing homes.
The staffing mandate undoubtedly aims to protect and amplify the best interests of nursing home residents by ensuring they receive a minimum level of care. While the proposal has been welcomed by some, others argue that it is unrealistic and may cause more harm than good. In particular, rural nursing homes are likely to be hit the hardest by the mandate. Many of these facilities are already struggling to find enough staff to operate adequately, and the mandate could make it even more difficult for them to do so. 
Shaylee Green had this to say about the impact the mandate could have on rural markets:Given the fact that many SNFs have already closed in Montana and other rural areas due to high costs, low reimbursements, and lack of staffing; a mandatory staffing requirement would only exacerbate this situation. If a rural nursing home closes, its residents will still need to find somewhere to go. Unfortunately, this could mean many of them would be left with no nursing home option at all. 

Senior Living’s Staffing Crisis 

The senior housing industry is at the crux of a staffing crisis that was exacerbated by the pandemic. According to a report from the American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL), nursing homes have lost 210,000 jobs since 2020. Furthermore, long-term care facilities have lost 307,000 jobs, causing a backlog of patients waiting for available beds and, in turn, impacting occupancy rates. 
The proposed staffing mandate garners mixed feelings from operators, providers, and other stakeholders. While its important facilities are held accountable and provide the highest quality of care possible, a federal mandate without sufficient resources could make the situation worse. 
If you have any questions about how the staffing mandate could impact your operations, or if you’re interested in viewing Sherman & Roylance’s inventory, please do not hesitate to reach out today.