A nurse taking a resident's temperature inside a nursing home.

If your nursing home is concerned about meeting the new minimum nurse staffing requirements set forth by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), there's no need to worry about limiting admissions—ShiftMed can help you navigate these changes seamlessly.

Before diving into strategies to ensure your nursing home's compliance with the latest CMS staffing mandates, let's first recap what these new requirements entail and why they're so critical.

New CMS Regulations

The latest nursing home staffing guidelines exist to improve the quality of patient care nationwide. The final 2024 ruling on CMS regulations requires:

  • A minimum of 3.48 nursing staff hours per resident day, including 0.55 RN care, 2.45 nurse aide care, and 0.48 from any nursing staff combination.

  • A registered nurse onsite 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

While everyone agrees that our elderly population deserves adequate attention and the best possible care, meeting the new CMS staffing requirements is easier said than done. The CMS folks aren't the only ones concerned about understaffing and its impact on patient outcomes—everyone else is, too.

Our nation continues to grapple with a severe nursing shortage exacerbated by stress and burnout among healthcare professionals. The demand for qualified nurses far exceeds the supply, making it challenging to attract and retain the necessary staff to meet the latest CMS standards.

A photo that shows a calendar and lists the dates non-rural and rural nursing homes must comply with the new CMS staffing requirements.

CMS Compliance Preparation

Now that you understand the new CMS staffing mandates, let's explore five practical strategies to help your facility prepare for these upcoming requirements.

1. Assess Nurse Staffing Levels

Gather information on your nursing staff, noting if they’re full-time, part-time, or contingent employees. Review their credentials and the shifts they typically work because you want the right nurses in the right place at the right time. You should also perform a shift analysis to determine how schedulers distribute staff throughout the day and week—be sure to look at peak times to identify any gaps.

2. Evaluate Patient Acuity and Needs

Conduct comprehensive assessments of your resident’s medical and personal care needs. Be sure to evaluate their physical, mental, and emotional health and independence levels. Classify your residents by acuity level, noting what residents need the most care, as that significantly impacts how you staff.

3. Analyze Staff Workload and Efficiency

Assess task and responsibility distribution among your healthcare staff to identify imbalances or inefficiencies and seek improvements. Conduct time and motion studies to observe how staff spends their time, highlighting tasks that take longer than expected or processes you can streamline.

4. Survey Staff and Residents

Collect feedback from your nursing staff about their workload, job satisfaction, and any challenges they face. By doing so, you can gain valuable insights into staffing adequacy and areas needing attention. Also, gather feedback from residents and their families regarding care quality and perceived gaps. This information can help you identify areas where additional staffing might be needed.

5. Monitor Levels and Track Metrics

Establish a system for regularly monitoring and reviewing your staffing levels, including periodic audits and continuous tracking of staffing metrics. Based on your findings, be prepared to adjust your staffing levels and scheduling.

By following these steps, your nursing home can comprehensively assess current staffing levels, identify scheduling gaps, and develop strategies to ensure compliance with CMS requirements and provide high-quality care to residents.

A photo of a nurse at a nursing home giving a resident medication instructions.

Addressing CMS Staffing Requirements With Technology

If you work at a nursing home with minimal resources, you might not have the capacity to complete the above steps. But don't stress—you can address the upcoming CMS staffing mandates head-on using the world's first digital MSP for healthcare staffing—the ShiftMed Unlimited Network.

An MSP (managed service provider) is a single point of contact for all staffing needs. It provides access to a vast network of qualified healthcare professionals and streamlines the scheduling process.

Our MSP can help you achieve 100% shift fulfillment* by providing easy access to more than one million healthcare professionals supplied by over 1,000 reputable staffing firms from a single interface. We're also experts on complex healthcare regulations and can ensure staffing compliance and credentialing for all the contingent workers in our network.

Furthermore, the ShiftMed Unlimited Network redefines efficiency and agility in labor management by seamlessly handling all your shift vacancies, confirmations, and cancellations. It utilizes advanced data tools to analyze your staffing patterns, resident outcomes, and other vital metrics.

Last but not least, the network's AI-powered Intelligent Routing™ software drives down labor costs without compromising resident care. It ensures optimal shift fulfillment by intelligently matching staff availability, pay rates, and other preferences, delivering efficient and cost-effective staffing solutions.

CMS Staffing Mandate Conclusion

Navigating the new CMS staffing requirements can be daunting, but with the right strategies and tools, your nursing home can meet these mandates while continuing to provide exceptional care.

Assessing your current staffing levels, evaluating patient needs, analyzing workload efficiency, gathering feedback, and monitoring metrics can maintain compliance and improve care quality. Additionally, leveraging advanced technology solutions like the ShiftMed Unlimited Network can streamline your staffing processes, reduce costs, and enhance operational agility.

Want an easy way to maintain CMS regulations and create a thriving, supportive environment for your employees and residents? Schedule a workforce consultation with us today!

*Fulfillment rate in tier A markets when shifts are posted in advance at market-competitive rates and may require travel contracts.