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Consumer Voice Statement on H.J. Res. 139 –A Resolution to Block Staffing Standards in Nursing Homes

On May 10, 2024, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a final rule implementing a minimum staffing standard in nursing homes.  The rule will require that nursing homes have a registered nurse on-site 24 hours per day, seven days per week, meet modest minimum staffing requirements, use evidence-based, data-driven methods when determining the needs of residents in their homes, and implement much-needed transparency in Medicaid spending. This rule was the culmination of decades of advocacy by nursing home residents, their families, and their advocates. It is arguably the most significant increase in protections for nursing home residents in nearly forty years.

Despite this historic announcement, some in Congress are seeking to stop the implementation of the final rule. Recently, H.J. Res. 139 was introduced that would not only block this rule but would prevent CMS from ever issuing a rule requiring safe staffing standards in nursing homes. It would perpetuate the poor care and working conditions that exist in far too many nursing homes and put current and future residents and staff at risk of harm.  

Since the Biden Administration announced the rule, lobbying groups for the for-profit and non-profit nursing home industry have been actively opposing it, spending millions of dollars in their efforts. It’s important to note that the rule is modest, targeting the worst-performing homes, and offers a generous implementation period, as well as ample exemptions and waivers for nursing homes making good faith efforts to comply.

Rather than investing millions of dollars in opposition and litigation, the nursing home industry should seek to address the job quality crisis that plagues it. The average annual turnover for a nursing home in the United States is 53% each year. Poor job quality, including low wages, inadequate benefits, impossible workloads, and inadequate training, has driven workers from the field. It is time for the industry to invest in the workforce and in turn, nursing home residents.

Consumer Voice strongly opposes H.J Res. 139 and any other effort to prevent implementation of safe staffing requirements in nursing homes. We urge Congress to stand with nursing home residents, their families, and nursing home workers and reject these efforts.

Download the Consumer Voice statement opposing H.J. Res. 139 (pdf).