Iowa Nursing Homes Face Staffing Challenges Amid New Federal Rule

Posted on behalf of Jeff Pitman on May 7, 2024 in Nursing Homes and Elder Rights
Updated on May 8, 2024

image of a nurse aide helping an elderly man with a walkerA new report from the Long-Term Care Community Coalition, a nonprofit advocacy group, has highlighted critical staffing issues in Medicare-certified nursing homes across Iowa. This report reveals that a significant portion of the state’s facilities are not ready to meet upcoming federal staffing mandates. The detailed analysis, drawing on the latest federal data from the fourth quarter of 2023, provides essential insight into the staffing dynamics today.

What Are the New Federal Staffing Requirements?

The federal government has set new staffing rules for nursing homes, which will be rolled out over the next few years. Under these new rules, a registered nurse must be on site at the facility 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Additionally, each resident must receive 3.48 hours of total nursing staff time per day. Of the time allotted, a registered nurse must provide .55 hours.

How Prepared Are Iowa Facilities To Comply With New Federal Staffing Requirements?

A newly released national report reveals that 43 percent of all Iowa nursing homes today fail to meet these upcoming requirements. The report also shows that 21 care facilities in Iowa went through three to five nursing home administrators during the past year. This degree of staff turnover significantly disrupts the continuity of care to residents.

According to a news article, only 60 percent of nursing homes nationwide would have been in compliance during the last quarter of 2023 if the new standard was already in effect. Only 56 percent of facilities in Iowa would have been able to meet the standards mandated under this new rule.

Despite the stricter staffing mandates, many advocates say this new rule does not go far enough. Their recommendation is to increase daily staffing to 4.1 hours of care per resident per day. Today, just 26 percent of nursing homes nationally and 24 percent of facilities in Iowa achieve this level of care.

Moving Forward

As the new federal mandates approach, many facilities, particularly in Iowa, will need to make significant adjustments to comply. This situation calls for immediate and focused changes to stabilize staffing and improve care standards across the board, ensuring all residents receive the care they need and deserve.

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