Proposed new staffing regulations could affect some Colorado Nursing Homes

The Biden administration has proposed that the federal government, for the first time, dictate staffing levels at the nation’s nursing homes. For decades, advocates for older adults have pushed for such regulation, and for decades the nursing home industry has resisted it. That divide continues with the current proposal, with one side saying it does not go far enough and the other side saying it goes too far. The proposed rules, which now enter a public comment period and would take years to fully implement, call for staffing equivalent to three hours per resident per day, with just over half an hour of it coming from registered nurses. The rules also call for facilities to have an RN on staff 24 hours every day. The average staffing in the country’s roughly 15,000 nursing homes is close to these proposed levels, but staffing in individual facilities can vary widely. A majority of homes would reportedly have to add staffing to meet the proposed rules. Colorado’s Department of Public Health and Environment stipulates in its Code of Regulations that a nursing care facility “shall be staffed at all times with at least one registered nurse who is on duty on the premises,” and a nursing care facility shall provide nurse staffing “sufficient to meet the needs of residents, but no less than two hours of nursing time per resident per day.” At least one survey found that the average staffing levels at Colorado’s 200+ skilled nursing facilities is 3.63 hours per resident per day.

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