Nurse staffing levels in nursing homes is not an easy calculation

A recent editorial in the Idaho Press-Tribune congratulated Holly Lane Rehabilitation and Health Care Center for the work the facility has done to come back into compliance with federal and state requirements. We are also appreciative of the work the facility has done, and we look forward to continuing to work with the facility to ensure sustained compliance.

The editorial also raised some interesting questions about nurse staffing levels in nursing homes. Determining those levels is not as black and white as you might think. It’s a somewhat complicated process with several variables.

We believe it’s important to first work with facilities to fully understand their staffing challenges and work collaboratively to address them. We have a work group that has been meeting for several years that addresses issues such as quality improvement, including staffing levels, in nursing facilities. The group meets quarterly and includes department staff, representatives from nursing facilities, representatives from the Idaho Health Care Association, the state ombudsman, and representatives from Qualis, the quality improvement contractor for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid. 

At the group’s most recent meeting in December 2016, we identified some specific issues to target for improvement in the next year. One of those issues is staffing in nursing facilities.

We will engage other entities, such as the Idaho Board of Nursing, when needed to address specific tasks or to provide specialized knowledge and experience.

We are committed to providing both oversight and support to nursing facilities to maintain a high quality of care for the residents they serve.

We will continue to monitor Holly Lane closely as they work to sustain the system improvements they implemented as part of their plan of correction, just as we closely monitor any facility with issues as serious as Holly Lane had.

If you have questions about a nursing home or would like to file a complaint, please visit our web page for FAQs and contact information.

– Tamara Prisock, administrator for the Division of Licensing and Certification

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