Expect minimum staffing requirements for nursing homes next year

Good morning, everyone. Here’s some animal photos to start out your day (h/t NYT). As always, send news and tips our way: rachel.roubein@washpost.com.  Today’s

edition: The Senate Finance Committee is releasing a draft of its legislation to bolster the mental health workforce. Updated booster shots for children 5 and up could come in

October. But first …  A new report on nursing home harms could bolster the case for staff-to-patient ratios Federal health officials are planning to propose minimum

staffing levels in nursing homes by this spring. New findings from Democratic staff for the House panel investigating the nation’s pandemic response could bolster the

Biden administration’s case for the policy opposed by the powerful nursing home industry. The committee released anecdotal evidence yesterday alleging low staffing in nursing

homes harmed residents as the coronavirus ripped through facilities during the early months of the pandemic.  The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and other

health experts argue that sufficient staffing is tied to the quality of care residents receive. But the industry contends requiring a certain number of staff to each patient would

amount to an “unfunded mandate” with unintended consequences, foreshadowing the fights to come.  For years, nursing homes have been plagued with staffing shortages and

well-documented infection control problems. But the issue erupted into the limelight when facilities became an epicenter of covid spread, forcing lawmakers in Washington and

beyond to respond.