Senator Marshall Maintains Focus on Protecting Rural Nursing Homes from Burdensome Staffing Rules

Wichita, KS – U.S. Senator Roger Marshall, MD continues to fight against the Biden Administration’s rules that would impose unnecessary federal regulations on long-term care facilities. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) published the final rule in April 2024, which would increase the required staff-per-resident ratio, require that a Registered Nurse be on-site 24/7, and increase regulations on facility assessment reporting.

Facing an already tight healthcare workforce, these new staffing requirements will effectively force many nursing homes to close.

“These overly burdensome rules will be devastating to nursing homes in Kansas, especially those in rural areas,” said Senator Marshall. “The unfunded mandates will further increase operating costs and exacerbate the existing nursing shortage.  There is no evidence that these regulations will improve the quality of patient care. It just doesn’t make sense. I am proud to fight to keep nursing homes open so that Kansans can keep their loved ones in facilities close to home.” 

Senator Marshall has taken several actions against the new rules. Most recently, he joined Senator Lankford (R-OK) in introducing a joint resolution for congressional disapproval. If passed, the resolution would nullify CMS’s rules. Other Senate colleagues on the resolution include Senators Joe Manchin (I-WV), Mike Braun (R-IN), Jim Risch (R-ID), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Deb Fischer (R-NE), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA), Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Katie Britt (R-AL), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Jon Tester (D-MT), Bill Hagerty (R-TN), John Boozman (R-AR), Markwayne Mullin (R-OK), Tom Cotton (R-AR), Thom Tillis (R-NC), Susan Collins (R-ME), John Cornyn (R-TX), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Steve Daines (R-MT), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), John Barrasso (R-WY), John Thune (R-SD), Roger Wicker (R-MS), Mike Lee (R-UT), John Hoeven (R-ND), and Dan Sullivan (R-AK).

Soon after the rules were announced in September 2023, Senator Marshall signed onto a bipartisan letter to CMS, urging the administrator to rescind the proposed rules. In part, the Senators wrote, “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. However, a one-size-fits-all staffing mandate significantly undermines access to care for patients, particularly in rural communities. Instead, CMS should work with Congress and stakeholders on policy alternatives that address the severe workforce challenges in our states’ underserved areas.” You can read the letter in full HERE.         

In December 2023, Senator Marshall co-introduced a bill – Protecting Rural Seniors Access to Care Act – which would prohibit the rule from going into effect if it harmed access to care. The bill was supported by over 90 national and state organizations, including LeadingAge Kansas, the Kansas Hospital Association, and the Kansas Health Care Association/Kansas Center for Assisted Living. The full press release on that legislation can be found HERE.