U.S. Senator Kevin Cramer is cosponsoring a Congressional Review Act resolution of disapproval against the final rule issued by CMS

WASHINGTON—The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced a final rule in April, imposing minimum staffing requirements for long-term care facilities (LTC), which provide care to nearly 1.2 million residents across the nation. According to the American Health Care Association (AHCA), this rule will exacerbate the existing workforce shortages and significantly harm access to care in rural communities.

This new standard, which was first proposed in September 2023, will require nearly 80% of nursing facilities to hire more nurses to comply with the regulation. However, in states already facing staffing shortages, these requirements will be nearly impossible to meet and likely force closure on many facilities across the country, reported AHCA.

U.S. Senator Kevin Cramer (R-ND), a member of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee (SVAC), joined U.S. Senator James Lankford (R-OK) in cosponsoring a Congressional Review Act resolution of disapproval against the final rule issued by CMS.

“These one-size-fits-all mandates for nursing homes will exacerbate staffing and access challenges across the country by requiring unattainable standards, especially in rural communities,” said Cramer. “Unrealistic staffing requirements will force the closure of facilities, depriving seniors and veterans of the long-term care options they deserve. These rules should be overturned.”

“Oklahomans shouldn’t lose access to health care because of overly broad and unrealistic rules from Washington, D.C.," said Lankford. "The Biden Administration’s staffing requirements won’t fix workforce shortage problems or solve care quality problems, but they will make it even harder for seniors in rural areas to get care in their own communities. Our seniors deserve high-quality care, not more D.C. mandates. I am leading the fight to stop Biden’s one-size-fits-all requirements, which he knows will close rural nursing homes across Oklahoma."

Last month, Cramer and U.S. Senator Angus King (I-ME) introduced a piece of legislation requiring the VA to conduct a study examining the risks associated with the rule issued by CMS. Cramer and King recently sent a letter to VA Secretary McDonough requesting an analysis of the CMS staffing rule’s impact on veteran access.

In October, Cramer and King sent a letter to CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-Lasure, requesting the agency withhold from establishing the staffing mandate for long-term care facilities and instead work with Congress on flexible, commonsense solutions. In June 2023, Cramer and his colleagues questioned Jonathan Blum from CMS during an SVAC hearing about this push for minimum standards across the VA even if it results in the closing of facilities.

Click here for bill text.

Additional members supporting this legislation include U.S. Senators Joe Manchin (I-WV), Mike Braun (R-IN), Jim Risch (R-ID), Roger Marshall (R-KS), Deb Fischer (R-NE), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA), Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Katie Britt (R-AL), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Jon Tester (D-MT), Bill Hagerty (R-TN), John Boozman (R-AR), Markwayne Mullin (R-OK), Tom Cotton (R-AR), Thom Tillis (R-NC), Susan Collins (R-ME), John Cornyn (R-TX), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Steve Daines (R-MT), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), John Barrasso (R-WY), John Thune (R-SD), Roger Wicker (R-MS), Mike Lee (R-UT), John Hoeven (R-ND), and Dan Sullivan (R-AK).