WASHINGTON — Lutheran Services in America recently submitted comments urging the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to reconsider its proposed rule for minimum staffing requirements at skilled nursing facilities. Lutheran Services in America is one of the largest provider networks caring for older adults in the United States. The long-standing leadership of Lutheran Services in America network providers in offering the highest quality care to older adults is core to its mission. Nearly 200 member organizations provide long-term care, assisted living, and home- and community-based services (HCBS), in addition to a broader network of providers who support children, youth and families, people with disabilities, and others.
Across the board, workforce shortages are hampering access to care, with a particularly critical shortage in senior services, especially in rural areas. Lutheran Services in America President and CEO Alesia Frerichs issued the following statement after submitting comments to CMS:
“Given the current and expanding workforce crisis across all direct care services, implementing the proposed rule, especially with no additional resources, would only further exacerbate the existing staffing shortage. Our faith-based network often represents the lone health provider in rural and underserved areas that assist high-need, vulnerable populations. The likely result is that fewer older adults will receive the care they require. Moreover, we anticipate this proposed rule will also lead to additional nursing home closures, especially in rural and other underserved areas where access to care is already out of reach as demand exceeds availability.
“We urge the administration to reconsider this proposed rule and join us in working towards short-term and long-term solutions through a comprehensive approach to address the shortage in workforce capacity. As the baby boom generation ages, along with shrinking U.S. population trends, we anticipate increasing demand (for care and services), and we know this ‘one-size-fits-all’ mandate will not improve outcomes and rather will only further hamper access to care.
“We ask CMS to commit to meaningful solutions to recruit, retain and expand the pipeline of the long-term care workforce. Solutions should include improving access to training and career advancement opportunities, ensuring Medicaid reimbursement enables providers to pay family sustaining wages, and increasing workforce availability by allowing new Americans to practice to the full extent of their licenses.”
About Lutheran Services in America
Lutheran Services in America is a national network of 300 faith-based health and human services organizations that cultivates caring communities to advance health and opportunity for all people in the United States. Recognized by the Chronicle of Philanthropy and Forbes as one of the nation’s top nonprofit organizations, the Lutheran Services in America network operates with more than $26 billion in combined annual revenue to reach one in 50 people located in 1,400 communities across 46 states each year. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., Lutheran Services in America catalyzes innovation through collaboration with its member organizations and partners in philanthropy, academia, healthcare and business to address the most critical challenges in our communities and empower people to lead their best lives.