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Manchin Introduces Bipartisan Protecting Rural Seniors' Access to Care Act

December 08, 2023

Washington, DC – Today, U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) led nine bipartisan Senators in introducing the Protecting Rural Seniors’ Access to Care Act. This legislation would prevent the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary from finalizing a proposed nursing home staffing rule that would lead to closures of rural facilities.

“Our nation’s nursing and long-term care facilities are facing severe staffing shortages, threatening access to vital care for seniors everywhere. That struggle is amplified in rural areas and this mandate from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services would lead to closures of facilities and reduce the number of patients permitted,” said Senator Manchin. “I will continue working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to protect rural healthcare services across West Virginia and the country.”

In September, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) proposed a rule that would require new minimum staffing standards for skilled nursing and long-term care (LTC) facilities. The latest CMS report shows that 75 percent of nursing homes would have to increase staffing to meet those standards. Rural areas already face staffing shortages and this standard would be extremely difficult to meet, resulting in disruption to care for patients.

Senator Manchin was joined by Senators Roger Wicker (R-MS), Deb Fisher (R-NE), Roger Marshall (R-KS), James Lankford (R-OK), Jon Tester (D-MT), Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ), Susan Collins (R-ME), and Angus King (I-ME).

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