The Pennsylvania Department of Health has proposed a number of new regulations for nursing facilities. Among them is one that would be particularly detrimental to Heritage Ministries: increasing nurse staffing minimums to ratios that would equal 4.1 nursing hours per patient per day. That’s a number that significantly exceeds the minimum ratio in any other state where we operate. New York, for example, recently increased its ratio to 3.5 nursing hours per patient.
Heritage Ministries is committed to providing outstanding quality of care and we’re proud of our record over these past two very difficult years. At the same time, it’s simply not possible to meet this proposed requirement of 4.1 hours at a time when our industry—and the entire country—is experiencing a labor shortage and other challenges exacerbated by the global pandemic.
We need your help. The Pennsylvania Department of Health is currently seeking public comments on the proposed regulatory changes. We ask that you sign and submit the letter below by June 27 through one of the following options.
1. Email a pre-written message to the Pennsylvania DOH opposing the proposed regulations.
– OR –
2. Download this letter template to send to your legislator.
– OR –
3. Use the message template below.
Copy and paste the text below into an email to send (to RA-DHLTCRegs@pa.gov) or into a document to print and mail.
Pennsylvania Department of Health
301 Kline Village
Harrisburg, PA 17104
I am writing on behalf of Heritage Ministries, which operates Rolling Fields Elder Care Community in Conneautville, to express my strong opposition to the proposed regulatory change that would require nursing facilities to provide at least 4.1 hours of nursing care per resident per day. Given the current staffing crisis in nursing and every industry, meeting this mandate would place an unsustainable financial hardship on Heritage Ministries.
Rolling Fields and all Heritage Ministries facilities are committed to providing outstanding quality care. I have seen the steps the organization has taken during these very difficult past two years to ensure that it continues to do just that for every resident. Heritage Ministries has provided salary increases to staff in each of the last two years, employee health and mental wellness services, incentive programs, increased PTO, and more to help with staff recruitment and retention. And as a not-for-profit nursing home organization, Heritage pays the costs for more than 50 percent of its residents through its benevolence and will not turn away residents.
All of this requires much more money than Heritage takes in from state reimbursement rates. Penalties that Heritage would incur from not meeting the 4.1 hours of nursing care under the proposed regulations is simply not practical. Without additional funding from the state and other support, Heritage will not be able to meet this threshold.
Rolling Fields provides vital services to its residents, families, and communities and employment opportunities to its staff. I would like to see the Department of Health work with organizations like Heritage to prioritize finding solutions for seniors over penalizing nursing facilities. Please do not allow these regulations to be approved.
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Thank you for your continued support.