September 29, 2021
Contact: Eric Heisler,
Cell: 717-678-1031

“Not sufficient”: IRRC responds to DOH nursing home regulation

PHCA reiterates the proposed staffing mandate is unfounded, unfunded and unattainable

HARRISBURG, Pa. (Sept. 29, 2021) — After a 30-day review of the Department of Health’s (DOH) proposed increased staffing regulation, the Independent Regulatory Review Commission (IRRC) responded by declaring the explanation of the regulation is “not sufficient to allow this Commission to determine if the regulation is in the public interest.”

The Pennsylvania Health Care Association (PHCA) has argued the newly proposed staffing regulation is unfounded, unfunded and unattainable. Today’s response by IRRC confirms the concerns PHCA has shared regarding the regulation, including:

  • “The Department provided no information on what other increases were considered, nor did the Department explain the factors considered in determining that 4.1 was the least burdensome acceptable alternative”;
  • Insufficient cost calculations, including the neglect to include benefit, recruitment and training costs, and the burden it will have on the commonwealth;
  • The Department openly admitted the Department of Human Services “does not have sufficient data to determine who will bear the burden of remaining costs not covered by Medical Assistance”;
  • The Department did not assess the impacts on small businesses, including nursing homes that operate as a small business.

“The need to support long-term care grows greater by the day,” said Zach Shamberg, president and CEO of the Pennsylvania Health Care Association. “Unattainable, unfunded mandates will not support nursing home providers, frontline workers and the residents they serve. It is imperative — and evident in the response from the Independent Regulatory Review Commission — that the Department of Health bring nursing home providers and industry experts to the table to develop regulations that will support, improve and protect the essential care relied upon by hundreds-of-thousands of Pennsylvania seniors.”

“The Independent Regulatory Review Commission took hundreds of comments and concerns seriously when addressing this proposed regulation,” Shamberg continued. “As the Department of Health works to address these concerns, we hope to be involved in this process moving forward.”

The proposed staffing regulation is one of five phases DOH plans to introduce. The Department has two years to complete the process.

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