Press release

Statement from CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure on President Biden’s State of the Union:

“During President Biden’s first year in office, CMS has worked to expand health care coverage to a record 14.5 million people through the Health Insurance Marketplaces, encouraged states to extend Medicaid coverage for a full 12 months after childbirth, and expanded access to home and community-based services for seniors and people with disabilities. Last night, the President laid out several ways that we continue this momentum and build a better America.

“CMS is proud to be leading the President’s new initiative to improve the safety and quality of care at the nation’s nursing homes. For months, my team and I have met with industry experts, nursing home workers, resident advocates, and – most importantly – nursing home residents and their family members. I have been deeply moved by these conversations, which informed the vision outlined yesterday. People living in nursing homes deserve to be treated with dignity and to receive the care they need. Tragically, nursing home residents and staff have made up roughly one-fourth of all COVID-19 deaths in the country. Without the hard work, dedication and sacrifices of our frontline care workers, we know the number of deaths from COVID-19 would be even more staggering. I am deeply grateful to the nursing home staff who are doing this critical work every day.

“COVID-19 has also highlighted the need to address unmet mental health needs that have been exacerbated by the pandemic. At CMS, we are committed to implementing these provisions and engaging Congress and our stakeholders on these essential investments in the mental health of America.

“Over the last year, CMS made history, and we will continue the work to expand health care coverage and access to care, improve quality, and build a better health care system for the American people.”

Additional Background:

Protecting Seniors and People with Disabilities by Improving Safety and Quality of Care in the Nation’s Nursing Homes Strategy:

  • The President has outlined a path forward to improve conditions for both nursing home residents and the staff who care for them. CMS is ready to implement this vision and at the foundation is the establishment of minimum standards for staffing in nursing homes. This new evidence-based requirement will permanently strengthen quality of care by ensuring facilities have enough well-trained staff on duty to provide the services needed by the residents who rely on them. The time is now for a bold new approach and a strengthened commitment to deliver on our moral responsibility to care for our nation’s elders and people with disabilities.  These actions will be carefully coordinated alongside CMS’s efforts to ensure people can access long-term care in an appropriate setting of their choice, including through home and community-based services.
  • More on the Strategy to Protect Seniors and People with Disabilities by Improving Safety and Quality of Care in the Nation’s Nursing Homes can be found here:

Strategy to Address Our National Mental Health Crisis: 

Reducing Health Care Costs: