Washington, D.C. - Today, Congresswoman Fischbach (MN-07) introduced the Protecting Rural Seniors Access to Care Act.
"I am deeply disappointed CMS continued to move forward with this rule given the public knows their reservations regarding its efficacy. If the one-size-fits-all staffing ratios issued by CMS are put in place, it will devastate facilities across greater Minnesota, forcing them to either decrease the number of patients they serve even further, or close their doors entirely," said Rep. Fischbach. "The Protecting Rural Seniors Access to Care Act will keep CMS from implementing this rule until it can prove it will not result in the closure of skilled nursing facilities, will not harm patient access, and will not make workforce shortage issues worse in areas that are already struggling. I am proud to introduce this legislation and will continue to fight for the strength of our rural communities."
“At a time when nursing homes are already experiencing significant staffing shortages and financial hardships, it is frustrating to see the Biden White House encouraging the HHS to establish minimum staffing requirements and standards for nursing homes,” said Congressman Pence. “If implemented, this will result in limited access to care for seniors, mandatory increases in state Medicaid budgets, and could lead to nursing home closures, which would have an especially negative impact in rural communities, like many of the ones I represent in Indiana, that already experience health care access challenges. I am proud to co-lead the Protecting Rural Seniors Access to Healthcare Act to stop this proposed rule from being implemented, and I want to thank Congresswoman Fischbach for her work on this.”
This bill has the support of the Minnesota Hospital Association, stating, "Ensuring every Minnesotan has access to quality care in their own communities is a top priority for Minnesota’s hospitals and health systems. That's why the Minnesota Hospital Association expresses deep gratitude to Congresswoman Fischbach for introducing the 'Protecting Rural Seniors’ Access to Care Act.' This legislation aligns precisely with what patients need most: timely, high-quality care delivered close to home. This bill will help to mitigate the risk of unintended negative consequences that would arise from rigid, one-size-fits-all mandates—especially amid a historic workforce crisis and in rural areas where resources are notably limited. We applaud Congresswoman Fischbach's dedication to preserving essential health services for all Minnesotans and look forward to ongoing collaboration to protect care and access statewide."
Background: The Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has issued a new rule requiring minimum staffing standards for long-term care facilities. This rule was issued despite the fact that a report commissioned by CMS itself expressed reservations about this rule. Most notably, this report said there was "no single staffing level that would guarantee quality care." Congresswoman Fischbach (MN-07) has been pushing back against this rule since it was first proposed by the administration. This spring, she questioned HHS Secretary Becerra about the impacts the proposed rule would have on rural America sent a letter to the Administrator of CMS encouraging alternatives.