Friday, December 1, 2023
Ron Cunningham is flanked by U.S, Senators Cynthia Lummis and John Barrasso this past summer after induction ceremonies for Cunningham in the Wyoming Agriculture Hall of Fame. Both US Senators are concerned over staffing rules for rural nursing homes Photo courtesy of Amanda Winchester/

Barrasso, Lummis Express Concern Over CMS Nursing Home Staffing Rule

U.S. Senators John Barrasso and Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.) sent a letter to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) regarding the agency’s proposed minimum staffing standards in nursing homes. Specifically, the senators disapprove of the administration’s one-size-fits-all approach that does not account for the needs of rural states, such as Wyoming.

Should the proposed rule become a requirement, it will result in nationwide nursing home closures due to provider shortages, financially devastate facilities in Wyoming, and leave vulnerable individuals in rural communities without care. The letter urges CMS to rescind the proposal and work with Congress, states and key stakeholders on alternative solutions.

“Across the country, Long-Term Care (LTC) facilities face dire workforce shortages. The United States is projected to have a 10 to 20 percent shortage of nurses in the coming years,” the senators wrote. “If the proposed rule is implemented, many LTC facilities will be forced to hire additional Registered Nurses (RNs). Additional RNs will cost facilities in Wyoming at least $500,000 in annual salaries or more should they be forced to hire travel nurses to supplement their permanent workforce.”

“CMS estimated the proposed rule would cost $40.6 billion over ten years. It stated, ‘LTC facilities would be expected to bear the burden of these costs, unless payers increase rates.’ Many LTC facilities will be unable to take on these staggering new costs. We are concerned that facilities may decide it is no longer economically viable to accept government insurance, resulting in our nation’s most financially and physically vulnerable individuals being turned away from care,” the senators continued. “We are willing to work with your agency on proposals to improve LTC for patients and providers. The best way to accomplish this goal is by working with Congress, key stakeholders, and states to ensure federal mandates do not exacerbate the serious challenges already facing facilities across the county.”

Full text of the letter can be found here