The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services plans to establish minimum staffing requirements for nursing homes within a year, agency officials told industry representatives Thursday.
There's no timeline yet for all of the more than 20 other initiatives President Joe Biden proposed during the State of the Union address last week, the officials said during a conference call.
"We are on a full-court sprint toward new regulations, new safety guidance and new systems," said Jonathan Blum, CMS principal deputy administrator and chief operating officer.
The upcoming regulations would be part of the administration's efforts to improve conditions in nursing homes after more than 200,000 patients and workers in long-term care facilities died from COVID-19. Biden announced plans to set minimum staffing requirements, create more transparency about facility ownership, address overcrowding, cut back on the overuse of antipsychotic medications and increase inspections and enforcement.
CMS will prioritize policies appropriate for "swift action in the short term" and identify longer-term goals among the president's proposals, said Jean Moody-Williams, deputy director of CMS's Center of Clinical Standards and Quality.
The nursing home industry and other interested parties will have opportunities to offer feedback, said Will Harris, a senior advisor to CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure.
Groups representing the long-term care industry, such as the American Health Care Association and the National Center for Assisted Living, have expressed concern about the feasibility of nurse staffing rules and other Biden proposals. This week, the AHCA/NCAL wrote Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra requesting a meeting with Biden and his senior health officials.