featured graphic for American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living after COVID-19

New report states staffing minimums will cost long term care industry $10 billion annually

In case you missed it, the American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) released a new report earlier this week from CliftonLarsonAllen LLP (CLA) on the negative impact of increasing staffing minimums at the federal level. The report shows that increasing staffing minimums will require billions of dollars each year to hire tens of thousands of additional caregivers. CLA estimated the impact of implementing a staffing minimum of 4.1 hours per resident day (HPRD) and found:

  • 94 percent of nursing homes that care for more than 900,000 residents would need to increase staffing levels in order to be in compliance with such a requirement.
  • It would cost $10 billion a year and require hiring more than 187,000 nurses and nurse aides to meet the standard.
  • 18 percent of residents, or more than 205,000 residents, may be at risk of displacement as facilities are forced to potentially reduce their census in order to meet the higher staffing standard.

Becker’s Hospital Review, McKnight’s Long-Term Care News, Modern Healthcare, RevCycle Intelligence, and Skilled Nursing News, among others, reported on CLA’s findings.

The Biden administration has proposed minimum nursing home staffing requirements but without the necessary resources that facilities would need to recruit additional caregivers. The long term care industry is still in the midst of a historic workforce crisis, and nursing homes have lost more than 200,000 workers over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic – disproportionately more than any other health care sector. The staffing shortage has led to six out of 10 nursing homes limiting admissions, and three-quarters of providers are concerned they may have to close their doors for good. An unfunded minimum staffing requirement fails to address the underlying issues in recruiting and retaining staff and would only exacerbate the crisis.

Mark Parkinson, president and CEO of AHCA/NCAL, said of the CLA report:

“This report makes it crystal clear that increasing staffing standards in nursing homes requires substantial and consistent government resources. Even then, nursing homes would have the impossible task of finding another 187,000 nurses at a time when vacant positions sit open without applicants for months on end. The unintended consequences of this sort of unfunded mandate would be devastating to hundreds of thousands of vulnerable residents who could be forced out of their nursing home.”

AHCA/NCAL has been calling on state and federal policymakers to help address the staffing challenges within long term care long before the pandemic. With additional funding and workforce programs, nursing homes would be able to better recruit and retain the caregivers needed to continue providing quality care to our nation’s seniors. AHCA’s proposed Care For Our Seniors Act offers a comprehensive approach to addressing the workforce crisis, which includes solutions such as loan forgiveness, tax credits, affordable housing, childcare assistance and immigration reform.

View the CLA report HERE.