The leader of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services on Tuesday challenged providers to give more insight on the workforce crises they are dealing with as the agency prepares to set minimum staffing standards for nursing homes. 

“We really want to make sure that we are incorporating your perspectives, your experience and particularly the experience of those who are served by our programs into our initiatives,” CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure said during a national stakeholder call with 

During the call, she outlined the agency’s work so far in 2022, which included an update on progress with President Joe Biden’s nursing home reform initiatives. She reminded providers that CMS is now working hard to set minimum staffing requirements. The agency also is pushing to enhance oversight and accountability of facility ownership, she added.

Regarding the “longstanding issue” of staffing shortages, Brooks-LaSure said CMS is trying to take a comprehensive approach on issues surrounding facility quality and will work with all partners. 

“One of the things that we have been hearing very much over the last six months is just really about how important staffing is to residents … hearing directly from staff and just how closely linked quality is to sufficient staffing in nursing homes,” Brooks-LaSure said. 

“We really welcome stakeholder input into this discussion because one of the things that I hope is coming through is that we really want to engage all parts of stakeholders to address these issues,” she said.  “We really want to make sure we are highlighting training, the pipeline and all of the things that will help make sure that we have sufficient staff for the needs of our healthcare system.” 

She also highlighted her visit last week to Chicago, where nursing home workers and state leaders discussed Illinois’ newly passed plan that boosts funding for nursing homes by $700 million and ties individual increases to staffing improvements.

“That’s something that I think we can build on with other states,” Brooks-LaSure said.