May 29, 2024 - Last week, the American Health Care Association (AHCA), its Texas counterpart, and the operators of three nursing homes in Texas filed suit against the Biden Administration in an effort to overturn the mandatory minimum staffing requirements for nursing homes. 

The Final Nursing Home Minimum Staffing Rule, issued last month, would require nursing homes receiving federal funding to deliver 3.48 hours of daily direct care per patient, including .55 hours of care delivered by registered nurses per resident per day and 2.45 hours of care delivered by nursing aides per resident per day. The rule also requires an on-site registered nurse (RN) 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

 The complaint filed late last week  argues that the federal Medicare agency exceeded its authority by:

  • Imposing “onerous and unachievable mandates on practically every nursing home in the country,”  a violation of the Administrative Procedure Act. 
  • Setting one-size-fits-all staffing requirements that will require some four-fifths of the nation’s nursing homes to hire additional personnel. 
  • Creating impossible-to-meet standards that will force facilities to close or downsize, displacing tens of thousands of residents.
  • Instituting new rules on nursing homes that are projected to cost $43 billion over the next ten years.

Per Mark Parkinson, President and CEO of AHCA, “We had hoped it would not come to this; we repeatedly sought to work with the Administration on more productive ways to boost the nursing home workforce. Unfortunately, federal officials rushed this flawed policy through, ignoring the credible concerns of stakeholders and showing little regard for the negative impact it will have on our nursing home residents, staff, and the larger healthcare system. We cannot stand idly by when access to care is on the line and federal regulators are overstepping their authority. Hundreds of thousands of seniors could be displaced from their nursing home; someone has to stand up for them, and that's what we're here to do." 

The lawsuit asks the court to issue an order and judgment setting aside the new staffing requirements that were finalized by CMS on May 10.

Read the full complaint here.

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