U.S. SENATE – U.S. Senator Steve Daines today joined a group of bipartisan senators to express concerns with the Biden administration’s plans to issue one-size-fits-all staffing mandates for Montana nursing homes. Daines and the group of senators are urging the Administration to address the severe workforce shortages facing rural Montana and ensure Montana seniors have access to quality, long-term care.
“We fear a one-size-fits-all staffing mandate would undermine access to care for patients, particularly in rural communities. Instead, we urge you to work with Congress and rural stakeholders on tailored solutions that address the severe workforce challenges in our states’ underserved areas.
“Going forward, we recognize CMS as a crucial partner in identifying, mitigating, and preventing future health and safety problems in nursing homes. We stand ready to work with your agency on proposals to improve long-term care for patients. The best way to accomplish this goal is working with Congress and stakeholders to ensure any future actions do not further exacerbate the serious challenges already facing facilities in rural America,” the senators wrote.
Read the full letter Daines sent to Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure HERE.
In recent years, staffing issues and nursing home closures have limited access to senior care in rural communities. Since 2021, Montana has seen the closure of 11 nursing homes, and in 2022 alone, the state lost more than 850 nursing home beds, according to the Montana Health Care Association.
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, nursing homes have struggled with nurse recruitment and retention, especially in underserved communities. Staffing mandates would put an additional burden on rural nursing homes, which face different workforce conditions and patient needs than their urban counterparts. These blanket mandates would also place a disproportionate financial burden on rural nursing homes and could potentially result in additional closures that would be detrimental to underserved communities.