During today's Senate HHS Appropriations Committee meeting, Sen. Joe Negron offered an amendment to include language to provide for a combined (nurses and CNAs) weekly average staffing standard of 3.9 hours per resident per day, while retaining daily minimum staffing of 1.0 hours per patient day for licensed nursing and 2.7 hours per patient day for CNAs in the Senate Medicaid conforming bill (SB 1464). FHCA's Senior Director of Policy, LuMarie Polivka-West, testified before the committee about how the federal government is anticipating an increase in direct care nursing with RUGS IV and the composite 3.9 staffing will allow nursing homes to better accommodate the Medicare changes.
Sens. Don Gaetz and Durrell Peaden spoke in support of the amendment, and voted in its favor along with Sen. Negron and Sen. Mike Haridopolos. As a result, the amendment was adopted. Currently, the House Medicaid conforming bill (HB 5301) includes identical language. If the final legislation passes, the combined 3.9 CNA/direct nursing per patient day will allow additional flexibility in meeting the needs of higher acuity residents with additional licensed nursing staff.