March 1, 2022 -- President Joe Biden will announce plans to overhaul nursing home quality in the U.S. during his State of the Union speech on Tuesday.

White House officials have outlined more than 20 actions, including minimum staffing levels and renewed inspections, as COVID-19 cases continue to decline across the country, according to The Associated Press.

Many of the changes are embraced by advocates but opposed by the industry due to a lack of funding, the AP reported. New sources of federal dollars haven’t yet been identified to pay for the upgrades.

“Overall, these are very positive developments,” David Grabowski, PhD, a Harvard Medical School health policy professor who tracks long-term care, told the AP.

“If you ask the industry, they’ll tell you this will put them out of business,” he said. “If you ask an advocate, they’ll say there’s plenty of money in the system. I think the truth is probably somewhere in the middle.”

Since nursing home residents have made up a large percentage of COVID-19 deaths during the pandemic, the Biden administration has been developing home- and community-based care options. Top officials have also been wary of investor-owned, profit-driven facilities.

Biden will announce a new requirement for minimum staffing levels, which is one of the most important factors in nursing home quality, the AP reported. He will order the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to conduct a study on staffing and publish proposed updates within a year.

Biden’s plan also emphasizes a move toward private rooms for nursing home residents. The president will direct federal regulators to determine how to phase out living arrangements with three or more residents in the same room.

Because of the devastating effects of the pandemic on nursing homes, the plan will place a priority on vaccinating and boosting nursing home residents and staff, as well as regular testing and infection control. Biden will direct Medicare to strengthen requirements for on-site infection prevention specialists at nursing homes.

The overhaul calls for better inspections as well. Biden plans to revamp a special inspection program that focuses on low-performing facilities and fines nursing homes that don’t improve, the AP reported. The plan would increase the nursing home inspection budget by $500 million, or a 25% increase.

Federal agencies will also be directed to examine the role of private equity investors in the nursing home industry. The private equity stake in the industry grew from $5 billion in 2000 to more than $100 billion by 2018, the AP reported.

“Too often, the private equity model has put profits before people, a particularly dangerous model when it comes to the health and safety of vulnerable seniors and people with disabilities,” a White House policy document said.