MorningRX: September 1, 2023


The FDA plans to finalize its ban on menthol tobacco products in the coming months, and the Department of Health and Human Services proposes comprehensive staffing requirements for nursing homes.

FDA to Finalize Ban on Menthol Tobacco Products

The FDA will finalize its ban on the sale of menthol cigarettes and cigars within the coming months, CNN reported. The prohibition, which was announced in April 2022, initially had a deadline for August 2023, but the agency said that it is running behind schedule. A spokesperson with the FDA told CNN that work on the ban would be completed “in the coming months.” The FDA has been mulling a prospective ban on menthol tobacco products for over a decade. A law banning flavored cigarettes was passed in 2009, but lobbying from the tobacco industry caused menthol to be left out.

“The law passed in 2009 and we’re here in 2023, 17 years later, so while we worked very closely with FDA on this issue, we’re pretty unhappy that they’ve taken such a long time to get this done,” President and CEO of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, Yolonda Richardson, told CNN. “Seventeen years is just way too long.”

HHS Proposes Minimum Staffing Standards in Nursing Homes

The Department of Health and Human Services issued a proposed rule on Friday that would establish comprehensive staffing requirements for nursing homes, according to a release from the agency. The requirement, which would include national minimum nurse staffing standards, aims to ensure safe, high-quality care for residents living in nursing homes. According to HHS, there are around 1.2 million people across the United States who live in a nursing home. Under the proposal, nursing homes participating in Medicare and Medicaid would be required to meet specific nurse staffing levels and provide residents with a minimum of 0.55 hours of care from a registered nurse per resident per day, as well as 2.45 hours of care from a nurse aide per resident per day.

“Establishing minimum staffing standards for nursing homes will improve resident safety and promote high-quality care so residents and their families can have peace of mind,” HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra said in a release. “When facilities are understaffed, residents suffer. They might be unable to use the bathroom, shower, maintain hygiene, change clothes, get out of bed, or have someone respond to their call for assistance. Comprehensive staffing reforms can improve working conditions, leading to higher wages and better retention for this dedicated workforce.”

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