CMS Strengthens Nursing Home Oversight and Safety to Ensure Adequate Staffing

Source: Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), Press Release, November 30, 2018

Agency works with states, facilities to identify and address potential cases of inadequate staffing
Today, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced actions that will bolster nursing home oversight and improve transparency in order to ensure that facilities are staffed adequately to provide high-quality care. These actions include sharing data with states when potential issues arise regarding staffing levels and the availability of onsite registered nurses; clarifying how facilities should report hours and deduct time for staff meal breaks; and providing facilities with new tools to help ensure their resident census is accurate. ….

…. Research shows the ratio of nurses to residents impacts quality of care and health outcomes. For example, facilities with higher nurse staffing levels tend to have fewer resident hospitalizations. In general, the new payroll-based staffing data shows most facilities have somewhat fewer staff on weekends, but some facilities have significantly lower weekend staffing. Additionally, some facilities have reported days with no registered nurse onsite, although nursing homes are generally required by law to have a registered nurse onsite eight hours a day, seven days a week.

To help address these risks, CMS will use frequently-updated payroll-based data to identify and provide state survey agencies with a list of nursing homes that have a significant drop in staffing levels on weekends, or that have several days in a quarter without a registered nurse onsite. State survey agencies will then be required to conduct surveys on some weekends based on this list. If surveyors identify insufficient nurse staffing levels, the facility will be cited for noncompliance and required to implement a plan of correction. ….