Conwell Hooper, Executive Director of American Senior Alliance, wrote the following opinion piece for the Clarion Ledger.
We have all heard the horror stories of regulations killing business by creating a web of red tape that makes it difficult to operate, much less turn a profit. Just south of here in Adams County, the federal government hinders growth, innovation and expansion by burdening some of our favorite health care facilities.
Recently, we had the pleasure of visiting the 5-star Medicare-rated Adams County Nursing Center, a classic skilled nursing home that operates its first-class facility like a fine-oiled machine. The residents all seem to have a big smile and appear to deeply care about their home, facility and environment.
You see, Adams wants to do everything by the letter of the law and go over and above to please its residents, but the burdensome regulations placed on this small business and other similar nursing homes are a bit over-reaching.
These onerous burdens require businesses like Adams County Nursing Center to hire additional employees just to manage regulations for tasks as routine as staffing records.
Even though Adams, with a 40-year reputation of excellence, wants to do things the right way, these additional burdens cost business owners time, energy and resources. We believe the staff’s time could be better spent giving additional care to seniors or putting those resources into products or services for its residents.
Tim Askew, CEO of Corporate Rain International, referenced the problems small business owners face in a recent Inc magazine article. Askew said excessive bureaucratic interference with small business is exasperating year round. Simply put, the rules are confusing, unclear and contradictory.
“New government interventions, wage laws, labor rules, environmental regulations are sometimes well-intended,” Askew said, “but they have unintended business-killing, job-killing consequences.”
Adams County Nursing Center understands the business principal that has enabled it to be successful: Companies are only as good as the employees they hire. Adams County Nursing Center happens to be one of the finest long-term care facilities in the state with a highly trained staff, but it has to spend thousands of dollars annually to satisfy tedious overreaching federal regulations. These burdens cause business owners to maintain additional staff to keep up with and monitor the ever-changing federal rules.
Without question, starting and running a business is tough even without having so many rules and regulations. According to a piece written by Walter McGlaughlin in the New American, the number of new rules is out of control. In fact, in 2015, the United States had a record-breaking year for the most regulations issued. McGlaughlin says that under the Obama administration we’ve experienced the most regulations on record six of the president’s seven years in office.
The reason this issue is so important to Mississippians is that federal regulation and intervention cost American consumers and businesses an estimated $1.88 trillion in lost economic productivity. They also increase prices to the tune of roughly $15,000 per household in 2014. At some point, if small businesses are going to succeed and hire more employees, these unbearable regulations must come to a halt.
“Our state regulations are fair and reasonable, but what makes it difficult for nursing homes to compete are the endless federal regulations the industry has to manage throughout the day,” explains Jeff Phillips, administrator for Adams County Nursing Center.
Let’s just consider one of the unreasonable federal regulations that crosses the line of fairness. For a facility the size of Adams, it would have to spend approximately $1,000 per month just to run background checks on employees that other companies that provide in-home care don’t have to do. For certain companies to pay these fees and others who provide in-home care to get an exemption shows just how ridiculous the regulations can be and how uneven the playing field is for skilled nursing facilities.
Phillips notes the state of Mississippi has recognized the importance of removing the high cost of regulatory burdens on business and decided to do something about it.
On April, 23, 2012, Gov. Phil Bryant signed the Small Business Regulatory Flexibility Act to remove unnecessary barriers to business growth by giving small business a voice in the rule-making process. Prior to this legislation passing, it was far too easy for state agencies to place rules and regulations on small business without any idea how they will affect operations of the business. Bryant said Senate Bill 2398 was important to create an environment where small businesses could flourish, creating the jobs, goods and services that Mississippi needs to grow and succeed.
With 10,000 Americans turning 65 every day, we can only hope our federal government will follow Mississippi’s lead and loosen some of its unreasonable and unbearable regulations that occupy a majority of our vibrant, high-quality nursing home employees' time.