April 24,2024

Wyden Statement on Nursing Home Staffing and Medicaid Rules

New Final Rules from the Biden Administration will Protect Seniors and Americans with Disabilities, Improve Medicaid Managed Care Plans

Washington, D.C. – Senate Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden, D-Ore., today issued a statement after the Biden administration finalized several rules aimed at improving health care for Americans in nursing homes, those receiving home and community-based services (HCBS) through Medicaid, as well as updates to Medicaid managed care to strengthen health services covered by these plans:

“Adequate staffing in nursing homes is the single most important factor when it comes to the quality of care in these settings,” Wyden said. “The updated standards finalized by the Biden administration this week will improve the quality of care for the 1.2 million seniors and Americans with disabilities who receive care in a nursing home. In addition, this rule will help long-term care workers who often face long hours and low pay, despite their key role in America’s health care system. This rule both protects and improves the quality of care in nursing homes while ensuring that nursing homes in rural areas or in an area with a nursing shortage are able to put staffing requirements in place on a reasonable timeline.

“I also commend the Biden administration for finalizing the Medicaid access rule, which will improve the quality of services that seniors and people with disabilities receive in their own homes and improve the jobs of the direct care workforce that deliver home and community-based services (HCBS) through the Medicaid program. The rule will ensure that Medicaid dollars are being used for wages for direct care workers, and it will establish payment standards for primary care, obstetrics care, and behavioral health care, which are essential services for all Americans.

“Finally, I applaud the Biden administration for focusing on access to essential services in the Medicaid managed care final rule, which establishes commonsense maximum appointment wait times for routine primary care, obstetric and gynecological services and outpatient mental health and substance use disorder services. This rule also requires states to conduct secret shopper surveys to audit managed care plans’ appointment wait times and to ensure their provider directories are not ghost networks.”