Final Stakeholder Meeting on New Skilled Nursing Facility Staffing Ratios Held on February 23rd

On Thursday, February 23, the final stakeholder meeting was held with the Department of Public Health regarding implementation of new skilled nursing facility staffing ratio, which will be implemented on July 1, 2018. LeadingAge California has been communicating its ongoing concerns with the new staffing requirements, as facilities are already struggling to recruit and retain qualified certified nursing assistants. We fear that this new proposal is being rushed into implementation, and facilities will not have the additional workforce trained and ready to work by July 1.

In June 2017, 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 has strongly 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 immediately obtain a waiver from the new requirements.

The department will be posting the regulations on their website at the end of March 2018, which will allow providers to submit comments on the proposed regulation. We are strongly encouraging our members to submit comments on the proposed regulation once they are made available.