Dear Members of the New Jersey Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee,
On behalf of our member companies that provide more than 1 million jobs in the state and make the New Jersey Business & Industry Association (NJBIA) the largest statewide business association in the country, we respectfully OPPOSE Senate Bill 2712, sponsored by Senator Stack, which establishes minimum certified nurse aide-to-resident ratios in nursing homes.
NJBIA recognizes that our nursing home and hospital members consistently strive to provide the highest level and quality of care to the patients and residents entrusted to their care. However, legislatively mandated staffing ratios are problematic in that they assume that all nursing home facilities are the same and do not take into account the experience or expertise of each facility’s caregivers. Moreover, the New Jersey Department of Health has currently established overall nurse staffing levels in the nursing home licensing requirements. (N.J.A.C. 8:39-25.2).
In addition, a shortage exists in the pool of qualified, certified individuals needed to perform the duties of a certified nurse aide (CNA) and fill the current number of open full and part-time positions in New Jersey nursing homes. Under this legislation, approximately 3,000 additional CNAs would need to be hired in order to meet the staffing requirements and be in compliance. Finally, this legislation would increase overall nursing home costs, at a time when rising healthcare costs continue to be a top concern for all NJBIA members.
NJBIA places a strong and consistent focus on the quality and affordability of healthcare in our state, and there are ways to attract and retain a qualified workforce of CNAs that do not require artificial, restrictive staffing ratios. In our report, The Education Equation, the Postsecondary Education Task Force recommended enhanced promotion of New Jersey’s community colleges and vocational-technical schools, as well as the creation of new internship programs, job-training opportunities, and apprenticeship programs.
Thank you for allowing NJBIA to present this information today, and for your consideration of our suggestions and concerns.