CMS is actively involved in a study, physically in nursing centers across the country to determine what minimum staffing numbers should look like. The study is suspected to be an effort by CMS to support their goal of minimum staffing requirements. The outcomes of the study won’t be available until April but are rumored to come out earlier so AHCA/NCAL, along with other healthcare associations, is actively working to change the minimum staffing rule prior to the proposed implementation date of May 1, 2023.
AHCA/NCAL is asking providers to submit comments before February 28, 2023, as when the rule is already written, it is extremely difficult to change. Your comments do not have to be written as a legal document, it can be one or two paragraphs using your own language, talking about how bad this policy would be and how it would impact resident outcomes.
AHCA/NCAL suggests that you personalize your comments, use your circumstances/examples, and stay focused on your residents. It is suggested that you hit on the following points:
- Explain who you are, how long you have been working in post-acute care
- Talk about your commitment to quality and explain “why” you work in post-acute care
- Talk about the challenges of workforce availability, agency staff and related costs and care of residents since the pandemic!
- Describe your building, i.e., memory care, special needs, etc. number of beds, etc.
- Talk about your commitment to quality, talk about awards you may have received (i.e., 4- or 5-star building, 4- or 5-star in quality measures, quality awards, etc.)
- Explain how important your residents and team are to you!
- Ask questions of CMS – who counts in the staffing numbers, request a phase in period that would only go into effect when and if the workforce is back to pre-pandemic levels
And finally, have staff members write letters. Everyone could be impacted by this policy and direct care staff need to have their voice heard. Everyone, CNAs, licensed staff, ancillary support staff, etc. We are all in this together, this policy would have a tremendous impact on the post-acute care community. Don’t be shy, be vocal, every voice matters! Stay informed and stay well!
HealthandSafetyInquiries@cms.hhs.gov and send a copy to AHCA at firstname.lastname@example.org