Tyler Overstreet Cromer
Tyler Overstreet Cromer, a principal with ATI Advisory

President Joe Biden’s thrust to improve quality in nursing homes by addressing poor performing providers is a “sound premise” in the federal government’s justification for the initiatives. 

However, the administration must remember not to punish high-quality skilled nursing operators in its push to improve quality, according to a leading industry expert. 

ATI Advisory released its summary of the reforms proposed last week by Biden and agreed that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services needs to hold SNFs that consistently underperform on quality and patient safety and raise the bar on infection control. 

However, the firm argued that if the measures aren’t “implemented carefully,” it’s workforce-related measures could unfairly punish good operators that are already struggling with retaining employees.

“CMS should consider the impact that the pandemic has had on nursing facilities, especially related to unprecedented staffing challenges, to ensure that nursing facilities get the appropriate level of support to meet the staffing ratio and turnover targets that will promote high-quality care for residents,” the firm argued. 

ATI also urged Congress to take further steps to support the workforce, which include raising the minimum wage and providing free training for nursing assistants who work in Medicaid-certified facilities. 

“Sticks need to come with carrots,” said Tyler Overstreet Cromer, a principal with ATI Advisory. She also noted that the administration and nursing facility operators share the same goal: to provide high-quality care to some of our nation’s most high-need and vulnerable citizens.

“Nursing facilities are on the front lines of this work, and the administration can best advance nursing facility care by coordinating with operators to meet care standards; providing resources for appropriate staffing levels; and providing supports for training, developing and appropriately paying the nurses, nurse aides and other workers delivering this vital care,” Cromer told McKnight’s Long-Term Care News Tuesday.