PROVIDENCE, RI – As Rhode Island’s new minimum staffing law is due to take effect Jan. 1, two organizations representing nursing homes are asking for a one-year delay in enforcement.
The Rhode Island Health Care Association and LeadingAge Rhode Island together represent 75 of the state’s 80 nursing homes.
John Gage, president of the Health Care Association, said it would be “impossible for our homes to meet these new demands” given the circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic, employee burnout and reimbursements. facilities.
“As much as we all want to have a full complement, the candidates just don’t currently exist to meet these new demands,” Gage said. “Steps that nursing homes are expected to take, such as reducing or further limiting admissions to hospitals in the region, will impose an already overburdened hospital system. These steps will be necessary for homes to avoid crippling fines and prevent some closures.”
The problem “will only get worse” if facilities are forced to downsize under the new law, Gage continued, saying a one-year moratorium is needed to “assess the structural changes needed to ensure long-term success “.
“This would include enhanced workforce training efforts; appropriate and much-needed adjustments to the Medicaid reimbursement system; and physical upgrades to our homes to deal with future pandemic challenges,” he said. concluded.
The new law, signed by Governor Dan McKee in May, requires facilities to provide at least 3.58 hours of care to residents per day. In 2023, the need increases to 3.81 hours per day.
According to the two organizations, there are nearly 2,000 open positions in nursing homes across the state. Under the new regulations, “very few, if any, nursing homes will comply with the new law while maintaining their current resident populations,” the statement said.
Jim Nyberg, executive director of LeadingAge Rhode Island, said nursing homes cannot meet the new requirements at this time.
“Without proper funding, proper training, and available CNA test sites in the state, the workforce challenges facing the industry will only get worse, not better in the short term. “, did he declare. “This crisis is not only affecting the operators of our facilities, but also their local communities. With insurmountable staff shortages, the threat of impending fines, payment freezes, admission bans and potential closures, Rhode Island’s most fragile residents will have no place to go if these requirements are put in place. Deferring the requirements is a much more cautious policy that the state must pursue at this time. “