The South Dakota Association of Healthcare Organizations recently responded to a February 28, 2022 fact sheet released by the Biden Administration on “Protecting Seniors and People with Disabilities by Improving safety and Quality of Care in the Nationals Nursing Homes”. SDAHO’s leadership and advocacy team prepared an executive summary responding to the Biden Administration fact sheet saying, “The fact sheet completely missed the mark in its assessment of the tragedy of COVID-19 and the need to crack down on bad actors.” Tammy Hatting – COO, SDAHO.
Members of South Dakota’s congressional delegation, Governor’s office, State Department of Health, SDAHO’s post-acute care member administrators and policy makers were provided copies of the executive summary that outline the actuality of the nursing home industry challenges before the pandemic and today. “No other industry has had to adjust their practice and suffer the consequences of civil monetary penalties as much as nursing homes due to heavy federal regulatory oversight and political pressure from the CDC, CMS and numerous others.” Tammy Hatting – COO, SDAHO.
In addition to an on-going pandemic and continually changing guidance, today’s long-term care providers are stretched thin with a workforce shortage that has exhausted the staff. Current Medicaid reimbursement rates compound the challenges, as low rates make it difficult to pay current or future staff a higher competitive wage. “Nursing home administrators are reporting that staff are dealing with strain and PTSD symptoms pushing staff to their breaking point.” Tammy Hatting – COO, SDAHO
The executive summary letter provides proposed solutions and recommendations on four key areas outlined in the Biden Administrations fact sheet. First, meeting the needs of each community is a must as our nation and policy makers look at the future of senior living in the United States. Regulations come with a cost and the funding and staffing in place has not been able to keep up. It’s time to think outside of the box. Second, Overhauling the CMS survey process is a top priority and SDAHO’s leadership hope congress seriously consider, eliminating civil monetary penalties and replace them with targeted training with an investment in recruitment. The third area pointed out by SDAHO as an area to focus on for our congressional leaders, capital investments designed to improve or rebuild many of our states aging nursing homes. 66% of our states nursing home were built over 50 years ago. Fourth, SDAHO is asking congress to look at ways to help lower the cost of nursing home care for Americans. We need to incentivize Americans to invest in long term care insurance options and advance care planning. In addition, we all need to help increase quality of care through innovation, grants, collaborations and more.
SDAHO appreciates President Biden’s intent to improve safety and quality in nursing homes but encourages our state’s congressional delegation to work with CMS and consider the current workforce crisis and lack of funding as they discuss reform. “Front-line workers and the associations that represent our long-term care providers should be at the table when discussing enhanced transparency, accountability, and oversight.” Tammy Hatting – COO, SDAHO
To learn more about SDAHO’s advocacy efforts, visit our Advocacy Webpage today.