Tester Statement Opposing Burdensome Biden Administration Staffing Mandate for Rural Nursing Homes

Senator has repeatedly pushed back against one-size-fits-all policy

Following today’s announcement that the Biden Administration is proposing a federal mandate dictating staffing levels at nursing homes, which would place an undue burden on rural and underserved facilities that are struggling with severe staffing shortages, U.S. Senator Jon Tester issued the following statement:

“At a time when rural states like Montana are experiencing challenging staffing shortages, it’s completely unacceptable for the Biden Administration to impose a one-size-fits-all staffing mandate that will only make things harder on rural nursing homes. This is just the latest example of Washington bureaucrats displaying how little they understand about the challenges rural America faces, and I’ll continue to fight back against burdensome mandates that simply do not work for communities across Montana.”

Tester has led the charge to ensure Montana seniors have access to quality long-term care.

In June, Tester sent a letter to Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Shalanda Young urging the Biden Administration not to implement a burdensome staffing mandate that would exacerbate the serious recruitment and retention challenges currently facing nursing homes in rural America.

In January, Tester led a bipartisan 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 an earlier 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 12 nursing homes, and in 2022 alone, the state lost more than 850 nursing home beds, according to the Montana Health Care Association.


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