On Wednesday, March 30, 2022, Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra hosted a roundtable with stakeholders to discuss the nursing home reforms President Biden announced on February 18 and reiterated during his State of the Union address. The roundtable discussed nursing home staffing requirements, ideas for workforce development and retention, and COVID-19 booster shots. Secretary Becerra and roundtable participants reiterated the need to improve quality of care for residents and working conditions for staff.
Participants, who represent advocacy organizations, industry leaders, the workforce, and long-term care ombudsmen, are listed below.
- National Association of State Ombudsman Programs (NASOP)
- Consumer Voice
- Center for Medicare Advocacy
- American Health Care Association/ National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL)
- Service Employees International Union (SEIU)
- National Association of Health Care Assistants (NAHCA)
The roundtable discussed the relationship between better care and higher staffing levels and delved into data-driven examples of how staffing increases can yield significant positive impacts. Secretary Becerra and roundtable participants also discussed the importance of investing in staff development to bolster retention of nursing home employees. The group underscored the importance of creating a culture that emphasizes that this is a “careforce” not a workforce.
Secretary Becerra closed the roundtable by encouraging participants to stay in touch and continue to share ideas and information: “I hope it’s the families who have residents in the facilities who say they can see a difference. Hopefully it’s a difference that will make everyone feel like things are getting better.”
This discussion builds on both HHS’s and the Biden-Harris Administration’s demonstrated commitment to improving the conditions in nursing homes utilizing data-driven solutions. For example, starting in January 2022, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) began posting staff turnover rates and weekend staffing levels for nursing homes on the Medicare.gov Care Compare website for the first time.