Tester, Lankford Demand Biden Administration Abandon Proposal That Could Close Nursing Homes Across Montana

Senators call out Biden rule that would close rural nursing homes, hurt Montana seniors

As a part of his continued effort to support rural nursing homes and ensure Montana’s seniors are receiving the highest quality of long term care possible, U.S. Senator Jon Tester and his colleague Republican Senator James Lankford of Oklahoma today led a bipartisan group of Senators in demanding the Biden Administration abandon their proposed Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) rule that would increase staffing ratios in rural nursing homes, which could result in mass facility closures across Montana.

“In many parts of the country, America’s long-term care facilities are facing severe workforce shortage issues that are harming access to critical care for our nation’s seniors,” wrote the bipartisan group of Senators in a letter to CMS Administrator Brooks-LaSure. “With this in mind, we are deeply concerned that now is the worst possible time for the United States to establish the nation’s first federal staffing mandate for long-term care facilities… We urge you to rescind CMS’s proposed rule and instead commit to working with Congress on a large number of alternative approaches to ensure the quality and safety of care in skilled nursing facilities.”

The Senators continued: “We understand the importance of ensuring beneficiaries of federal health care programs have access to safe and high-quality nursing care. In fact, we share your intended goal of improving the quality of care for seniors and ensuring resident safety.”

Tester has led the charge to ensure Montana seniors have access to quality long-term care. In June, Tester sent a letter to CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure to express concerns about the Administration’s intent to issue staffing mandates for nursing homes. Last year, Tester sent a letter to CMS urging the agency to reconsider a proposed rule to update Medicare payment policies and rates for skilled nursing facilities that would have resulted in a $320 million overall decrease in payments to long term care facilities. 

In recent years, staffing issues and nursing home closures have limited access to senior care in rural communities. Since 2021, Montana has seen the closure of 11 nursing homes, and in 2022 alone, the state lost more than 850 nursing home beds, according to the Montana Health Care Association.

You can read Tester’s full bipartisan letter HERE.


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