Home > Newsroom > Lutheran Services in America Urges Changes in New Requirements to Ensure Quality Access to Care for Older Adults

Press Releases & Statements Lutheran Services in America Urges Changes in New Requirements to Ensure Quality Access to Care for Older Adults

April 25, 2024

WASHINGTON — Lutheran Services in America released a statement in response to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ final rules instituting minimum staffing requirements at skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) and a new requirement for home- and community-based service (HCBS) providers that directs 80 percent of Medicaid payments to be spent on wages for aides and nurses. Lutheran Services in America is one of the largest nonprofit provider networks of services for older adults in the United States with nearly 200 member organizations working in long-term care, assisted living, and home- and community-based care.

Lutheran Services in America President and CEO Alesia Frerichs issued the following statement in response:

“We strongly urge the administration to reconsider implementing these rules without further changes to address workforce shortages and adequate reimbursement rates. We share the administration’s goals of quality skilled nursing home care along with greater access to home- and community-based services (HCBS). Most of our nonprofit providers receive the highest quality ratings and have consistently for decades. These rules simply do not reflect or address realities in communities across the country — especially in rural and underserved areas. With Medicaid reimbursement unable to keep up with current costs and challenges with workforce recruitment, these rules will only force high quality nonprofit providers to close their doors — further constraining access to care.

“While we remain ready and willing to work with the administration to address quality access to care in skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) and HCBS, these rules are merely unfunded, one-size-fits-all requirements and mandates without sufficient remedies to address existing constraints — widening the gap in serving the most vulnerable older adults. In fact, by CMS’s own estimate, the SNF rule alone will cost providers an additional $43 billion over 10 years. Accordingly, we will continue to pursue all available remedies to further address the shortfalls and pervasive challenges associated with these new rules.

“While we understand that our collective advocacy as a network had an impact on shaping these final rules — with longer phase-in periods in rural and underserved communities in the SNF rule and the omission of intellectual and developmental disability (IDD) providers in the HCBS rule — further actions are needed to close reimbursement and workforce shortage gaps.

“We urge the administration to work with us on meaningful solutions to ensure all older adults can remain in the communities of their choice.”

Lutheran Services in America comments on the rules for the public record:

About Lutheran Services in America
Lutheran Services in America is one of the nation’s largest national networks of health and human service providers with a mission to cultivate caring communities that advance health and opportunity for all. With 300 nonprofit organizations across 1,400 U.S. communities and more than $26 billion in combined annual services, the Lutheran Services in America network advances equitable outcomes for children, youth and families, improves independence and choice for older adults, champions meaningful services and support for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and strengthens stability and purpose for veterans, refugees, new Americans and other special populations. Formed in 1997, Lutheran Services in America brings together a network of leaders, partners and funders to catalyze innovation, strengthen organizational capacity and advance public policy.

To learn more, visit lutheranservices.org or find us on Facebook, LinkedIn and X.