Zach Shamberg headshot
Zach Shamberg

A proposed regulation that calls for Pennsylvania skilled nursing facilities to increase minimum direct staffing hours from 2.7 hours per resident per day to 4.1 would require 7,000 new workers and result in approximately $400 million in new costs, Pennsylvania Health Care Association President and CEO Zach Shamberg testified Wednesday to the state Senate Aging & Youth and Health & Human Services Committees.

Pennsylvania’s Acting Secretary of Health Alison Beam earlier this summer had touted the proposed state Department of Health regulation as a “bold step forward.”

“We said it in mid-July, and I will say it again today: this proposal is unfounded. It’s unfunded, it’s unattainable, and it’s grossly out of touch with the reality facing every nursing home provider in Pennsylvania today,” Shamberg testified. “More and more of our members tell us they have been forced to limit new admissions due to lack of staff. …We have a very real access-to-care issue.”

Shamberg asked committee members what steps the Health Department of Health and legislature will take to help providers build a workforce pipeline.

“Who will fund this new cost, given that providers pre-pandemic were operating at –2.4% in margins?” he asked.