Unfunded mandates in ‘Build Back Better’ bill threaten nursing home industry

Published: Nov. 19, 2021 at 12:11 PM CST
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Organizations representing nursing homes and long-term care facilities across the country are taking issue with parts of President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better bill.

The American Health Care Association (AHCA) and National Center for Assisted Living (NCAL) provide care to about five million people each year at more than 14,000 facilities in the United States.

President & CEO, Mark Parkinson, said they believe two provisions in the president’s new bill will worsen the historic staffing crisis they are experiencing and are calling for those to be removed.

The first requires a study be done by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to determine a minimum staffing level for all facilities and then mandate it within a year. The second provision requires nursing homes have a registered nurse (RN) on staff 24 hours a day.

The AHCA and NCAL said current requirements mandate an RN be on staff just eight hours a day.

“All of this demonstrates what happens when bills are passed without regular order, without hearings, without discussion, without deliberation, and without collaboration,” Parkinson continued saying, “You end up with things that sound good, but in fact have unintended consequence and the consequence here is that the skilled nursing sector would simply not be allowed to continue.”

Data shows nursing homes are facing the worst job loss among all health care providers and the new mandates would require hiring more than 150,000 RN’s, licensed practical nurses (LPNs), and certified nursing assistants (CNAs). The AHCA and NCAL said that could cost $10.7 billion per year.

You can hear the full news conference with the AHCA and NCAL on their YouTube channel.

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