Healthcare assistants back nursing home minimum staffing proposal

McKnight's Long Term Care News Danielle Brown, December 1, 2019

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The National Association of Health Care Assistants is supporting a legislative proposal that would implement minimum staffing requirements for nursing homes. Nursing home providers have criticized the proposed bill.

The organization last week disclosed its support of the Quality Care for Nursing Home Residents Act (S.2943), which was introduced by Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) in November. Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) also introduced the proposal (H.R. 5216) in the House.

“No longer shall we accept being understaffed as a standard practice, all while claiming quality care is being provided. The needs of the residents are not being met and one reason is because sufficient staffing is not a requirement,” Dane Henning, NAHCA’s director of public policy, said in a statement.

“We are in the business of taking care of humans with humans; how can this not be the most important aspect, the paramount characteristic in providing quality care,” he added.

Facilities could be subject to up to $10,000 in fines per day for noncompliance under the proposal. It would also require facilities to disclose their nurse staffing levels, and implement administrative staffing requirements and whistleblower and resident protections.

The proposal received pushback from the American Health Care Association and Leading Age when it was first announced. The National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care commended it.

“There are many aspects to recruiting and retaining staff, in which NAHCA have become experts; however, there really is no incentive for providers to do so. Unlike those that oppose, NAHCA supports this staffing bill, with or without funding. This is necessary in providing quality care and is a given in this line of work. This bill does not arrive a second too soon,” Henning added.

 

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