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Nursing Homes Worried About Cuts in Governor’s Budget

The gap between the cost of care and reimbursements has been growing for nursing homes  and they’re worried about cuts in the Medicaid reimbursement rate in Governor Corbett’s proposed budget.

While a 4% reduction may sound like a small number to some,    Dr. Stuart Shapiro, President of the Pennsylvania Health Care Association, says it will be the straw that breaks the camel’s back for nursing homes.  He says they’re already underpaid by Medicaid.  He says the gap has grown by 27% in the last year.

In the past, Dr. Shapiro says Medicare used to cover some of that gap.  But with the recent Medicare cuts of 20% in Pennsylvania, the nursing homes cannot sustain any more losses under Medicaid.

He says additional cuts in reimbursements may mean tough decisions for nursing homes about taking people on Medicaid. Dr. Shapiro says they face a real dilemma about how many individuals on Medicaid they can take.  About two-thirds of nursing home residents are on Medicaid.

Dr. Shapiro says it’s not only nursing homes that will be affected.  He says it’s putting pressure on the county facilities, which are already quite full.  He says it’s also putting pressure on hospitals, because individuals who should be discharged to a nursing home may have difficulty finding a place to go.

Dr. Shapiro says they hope to work out a solution in talking with lawmakers and the Governor.  He says “no matter how tough times we have, we’ve made a promise to our elderly that we would take care of them, that we would provide quality care, and now is not the time to break that promise.”