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⭒ New Developments

Feds Release First-Ever National Nursing Home Staffing Standards

On April 22, the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released the first-ever federal nursing home minimum staffing standards. The new rule calls for 3.48 hours of direct care per resident per day (hprd), of which a minimum of 0.55 hprd must come from registered nurses (RNs) and 2.45 hprd from nurse aides.  The 3.48 overall direct care requirement doesn’t raise the bar in California because we have a 3.50 standard already.  But the 0.55 RN hprd and an additional 24-hour a day onsite RN requirement is new to California and is expected to be very beneficial for facility residents.  The 2.45 hprd requirement for nurse aides is slightly higher than California’s 2.40 requirement.  The standards won’t be in effect for 2-4 years, depending on whether the facility is in a rural or non-rural area so the impact won’t be felt for some time.  Facilities also may receive waivers or exemptions that will further blunt the effects of the rule.  Nonetheless, the new federal standards are a historic step forward for nursing home care in the United States and will improve resident care if they are meaningfully enforced.