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Barrasso, Tester, Daines, Hickenlooper Push Biden Admin to Address Rural Nursing Home Staffing Shortages

CASPER, WY – U.S. Senators John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), John Hickenlooper (D-Colo.), and colleagues today sent a letter to Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure expressing concerns about CMS’ intent to issue additional staffing mandates for nursing homes.

In the letter, the senators discourage CMS from taking a “one-size-fits-all” approach and instead address the significant workforce shortages affecting rural America.

“We fear a one-size-fits-all staffing mandate would undermine access to care for patients, particularly in rural communities,” the senators wrote. “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,” the letter continued. “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 letter was also signed by Senators John Thune (R-S.D.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), and Mike Rounds (R-S.D.).

“I’m grateful for this bipartisan effort to push back on additional burden and complex rules for Wyoming nursing homes. Nursing homes across the state are already struggling with staffing shortages, and further prescribed staffing levels would put many of these important nursing homes in financial jeopardy. If additional staffing requirements are implemented, we could see the closure of many rural nursing homes, leaving vulnerable patients and large geographical areas without much-need services.  I’m grateful to Senator Barrasso for his leadership on this issue.” –Eric Boley, President, LeadingAge Wyoming

Text of the letter can be found here and below.

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