LeadingAge California Participates in Stakeholder Meeting on New Skilled Nursing Facility Staffing Ratios

On Friday, August 11, LeadingAge California participated in a stakeholder meeting with the Department of Public Health regarding implementation of new skilled nursing facility staffing ratio, which will be implemented on July 1, 2018.

At the meeting, LeadingAge California communicated it concerns with the new staffing requirements, as facilities are already struggling to recruit and retain qualified certified nursing assistants, and we fear that this new proposal will add a huge burden on providers.

In June, the legislature released a final state budget that included a last minute budget deal increasing the Nursing Hour per Patient Day (NHPPD) minimum, from 3.2 Hours to 3.5 hours beginning July 2018. The proposal also requires that within the 3.5 NHPPD, certified nursing assistants (CNAs) cover 2.4 hours.

This significant policy proposal, with an estimated $30 million General Fund cost, received almost no public comment. Alarmingly, the estimated cost of this proposal does not match the $10 million in General Fund money being allocated to it, making it significantly underfunded.

LeadingAge California also discussed language that was included in the budget proposal that allowed facilities to apply for a waiver that would exempt them from the requirements. We communicated that facilities that are currently making recruitment efforts to meet the current staffing requirements and are providing good patient care should be eligible to obtain a waiver from the new requirements. A follow-up meeting with the department will be scheduled in the near future to discuss additional elements of the new requirements. LeadingAge California will continue to participate in these discussions, and would encourage you to share your thoughts with staff so that we may share at the next meeting.