Nursing rule ‘insanity’
Biden administration threatening nursing mandate amid shortage
Michael Christensen spent three and a half hours on the phone this week with representatives from the agency that handles billing for Medicare and Medicaid in South Dakota. It took that long to find somebody who could retire the federal identification number associated with the nursing home he administered. The Bennett County Hospital and Nursing Home was no more.
Christensen updated his email signature line to reflect the new reality: Now, he was just the CEO of Bennett County Hospital. On Oct. 13, he had been the CEO and administrator of Bennett County Hospital and Nursing Home.
But the entity surrendered its nursing home license to the state Oct. 13 amid hemorrhaging revenues, becoming the latest nursing home to close in South Dakota.
The wave of closures is about to get worse, according to Christensen and other industry veterans. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the entity that regulates the industry at the federal level, has proposed new rules that would require most nursing homes to increase the number of nursing hours at their facilities. Under the proposed rules, nursing homes would need registered nurses on staff .55 hours per resident day and 2.45 nurse aide hours per resident day. At least one registered nurse – a higher level of certification – would need to be on staff at all times.
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