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LeadingAge NY Meets with DOH on Staffing Ratios

LeadingAge NY met with officials from the Department of Health (DOH) on Aug. 29th in Albany to provide the Association’s input on proposals aimed at mandating staffing ratios in nursing homes and hospitals. We reiterated our strong opposition to government-mandated nurse staffing ratios requiring inflexible nurse/aide-to-resident ratios in every New York nursing home, which would override the professional judgment of clinicians and potentially limit access to care.

We briefed DOH on current and future shortages of nurses and aides, the potential major costs of a staffing ratio mandate, research suggesting no causal relationship between mandated specified ratios and quality of care, and current monitoring of nursing home staffing. The bulk of our time was spent reviewing funding and programmatic initiatives to enhance employee recruitment, retention, and utilization. Our briefing document prepared for the meeting is available here.

DOH showed interest in our recommendations and particularly in learning more on the following topics from LeadingAge NY member providers:

  • Examples of successful Certified Nurse Aide (CNA) to Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN)/Registered Nurse (RN) programs;
  • Examples of successful outreach programs to high schools for CNA positions;
  • LPN and RN education programs through distance learning;
  • Compressed workweeks and other work hour flexibility programs;
  • Use of staffing committees in non-union facilities to facilitate dialogue with management;
  • CNA peer mentoring programs;
  • Use of consistent staff assignment and how to measure; and
  • CNA training programs conducted jointly by multiple facilities.

Please let us know if your organization utilizes any of the above strategies and whether you would be willing to share details with us.

DOH’s meeting with LeadingAge NY is one of a series of meetings to hear from provider associations and organized labor on staffing requirements. The 2019-20 State Budget directed DOH “to conduct a study, which examines how staffing enhancements and other initiatives can be used to improve patient safety and the quality of healthcare service delivery; and, to analyze the range of potential fiscal impacts of various patient safety and staffing enhancement strategies.” DOH also plans to hold public input forums in September/October on the subject.

Contact: Dan Heim, dheim@leadingageny.org, 518-867-8866