Washington, D.C. - On June 26, the Skilled Nursing Facility and Assisted Living Facility in Arlington, MN announced that it would be closing. 

"I am heartbroken to hear the news about Arlington's facility closing because, now almost 40 families need to find new homes for their loved ones, homes that will likely take them further away from the lives they have built in the Arlington community," said Rep. Fischbach (MN-07). "This facility has been working to overcome staffing challenges for over a year, increasing wages to attract candidates, offering bonuses, and bringing in temporary workers to fill gaps. The shortage of qualified workers available to hire led to a situation where closure became the only option to make sure residents can continue getting high quality care.

"This is a problem that will be made worse when Biden's federally mandated nursing staff ratio goes into effect. His administration has chosen an arbitrary quota for facilities to meet that does not guarantee quality of care, will harm rural facilities like this one, and will do nothing to actually solve the staffing shortage. We need to be focused on recruitment, retention, and building the nursing pipeline, not tying the hands of our nursing and assisted living homes. I want to thank the Arlington facility for all the work they have done to keep their doors open as long as they could and for all they are doing to help these residents find new homes."

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.

While CMS has touted hardship exemptions as a pathway for facilities facing workforce availability challenges, the notion that these waivers will keep long-term care centers open is misleading. The reality is, not a single nursing home in Minnesota’s District 7 district will be eligible to apply for a hardship exemption due to the narrow eligibility requirements. With a limited workforce available to hire and no lifeline in an exemption, many more facilities in Minnesota will be forced to make difficult decisions. Unfortunately, seniors and their families will be the ones who pay the price.