Hoeven, Colleagues Urge CMS to Ensure Flexibility for Nursing Homes in Rural Communities

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven (R-N.D.) today joined Senators John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.) and John Hickenlooper (D-Colo.), in urging the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to avoid one-size-fits-all staffing mandates for nursing homes and ensure flexibility for providers to address recruitment and retention challenges. In a letter to CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure, the senators caution that such mandates would exacerbate existing workforce shortages and place a disproportionate financial burden on facilities in rural and underserved communities, resulting in their closure.

“We fear a one-size-fits-all staffing mandate would undermine access to care for patients,” wrote the senators “This could lead to the shuttering of facilities, especially in rural communities. There is no question such a scenario would only amount to a counterproductive regulatory environment that leaves vulnerable patients and their families with far less access to care.”

“We stand ready to work with your agency on proposals to improve long-term care for patients. The best way to accomplish this goal is working with Congress and stakeholders to ensure any future actions do not further exacerbate the serious challenges already facing facilities in rural America,” the senators continued.

In addition to Hoeven, Barrasso, Tester, Daines and Hickenlooper, the letter is co-signed by Senators John Thune (R-S.D.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Kyrsten Sinema (I-Ariz.), Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.) and Mike Rounds (R-S.D.). The full text of the letter can be found here.