Proposed Rule is Much-Needed Step, Can be Strengthened to Ensure Better Nursing Home Standards, Quality Care For Patients
WASHINGTON, DC – The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), which represents 1.2 million essential workers across North America, including nursing home and assisted living workers, recently submitted public comment on the proposed rule by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that would require minimum staffing standards in long-term care facilities.
UFCW International President Marc Perrone released the following statement:
“We are encouraged to see the Biden Administration take a much-needed step towards addressing the staffing crisis in our nation’s nursing homes and long-term care facilities.
The UFCW’s more than 11,000 nursing home and assisted living members know all too well that understaffing in this industry is not due to a lack of hardworking, dedicated workers, but rather the willingness of the industry to place profit over patient care.
A well-thought-out minimum staffing standard would help ensure our nation’s long-term patients are well cared for and that our nursing home members, and all long-term care workers, have the staffing levels they need to provide the skilled, quality care our loved ones deserve.
We hope that the Biden Administration and these agencies continue to listen to our members and take into consideration our suggestions to strengthen the proposed rule.”
The UFCW’s public comment included suggestions to strengthen the proposed rule with an updated staffing level, a shorter phase-in period for implementing new staffing regulations and the elimination of waivers for facilities to delay implementation, automatic enforcement of fines and payment denials for violators, guidelines for staffing acuity adjustments with strict enforcement, and improved financial transparency and accountability within facilities.
The UFCW also submitted testimonials from its nursing home members that included the following:
“When we do not have enough staff, the patients who rely on us to feed them sometimes have to wait hours, or sometimes are not fed at all… patients are not getting up out of bed, which causes them to get pneumonia along with bedsores.” – UFCW Member from New Haven, Connecticut
“These residents live here, they depend on us, it breaks my heart because they’re not getting the proper care they deserve. I’ve been a CNA for twenty-one years, I love all the patients, I love what I do. I just wish that they can staff accordingly so we can give the care these residents deserve.” – UFCW Member from Watertown, Connecticut
The proposed rule by CMS and DHS would establish minimum staffing standards for long-term care facilities as part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s Nursing Home Reform initiative and require States to report the percent of Medicaid payments for certain Medicaid-covered institutional services that are spent on compensation for direct care workers and support staff.
The UFCW International is the largest private sector union in the United States, representing 1.2 million workers and their families in grocery, meatpacking, food processing, healthcare, cannabis, retail, and other essential industries. UFCW members serve our communities in all 50 states, Canada and Puerto Rico. Learn more about the UFCW at ufcw.org