A trade association representing more than 370 senior housing, health care and community service providers in Pennsylvania is asking state lawmakers to approve a $294 million increase in funding for retirement homes.
The request follows a report commissioned by LeadingAge PA showing Pennsylvania nursing homes were underfunded by nearly $1.2 billion in Medicaid dollars in the 2019-20 fiscal year.
“The gross inequities in Medicaid funding for Pennsylvania nursing homes began long before the pandemic and have continued to worsen,” said Bob Bertolette, interim president and CEO of LeadingAge PA. “Covid-19 has created a dire situation in which some carers can no longer afford to fill their beds. In some cases, families who need care for a loved one cannot find it. This funding request should serve as a starting point for providing seniors with the support and care they deserve.
LeadingAge PA officials were joined on March 1 by State Senator Judy Ward, R-Blair and State Representative Pam DeLissio, D-Philadelphia, to discuss the report which highlights the negative impact that Medicaid’s inadequate reimbursement levels have on long-term care facilities. ‘ ability to remain operational.
The report estimates that the daily Medicaid funding shortfall for the average nursing home resident is over $86, with average daily expenditures per patient at just under $340 and average Medicaid reimbursement at just under $340. less than $254. That figure has nearly doubled since a similar statewide analysis was conducted in 2019, according to the report.
“With a Medicaid shortfall of more than $80 per day per resident, our long-term care facilities can’t wait much longer for relief,” Ward said. “If this unsustainable trend continues, these facilities could be forced to cut staff, cut beds, or worse, close all together.”
Chuck Quinnan, senior vice president of LeadingAge PA, agreed.
“We all want our communities to not just survive, but thrive,” Quinnan said. “It is time to finally address these issues in a meaningful and lasting way, because our seniors deserve better.
Ward is also drafting a bill that would direct the Joint State Government Commission to study the rising cost of staffing long-term care facilities, the expertise and experience needed to work in these facilities, the environment current work of those employed and the level of care required. by the inhabitants.
“Our long-term care facilities need help,” she said. “I hope my legislation is a step in that direction.”
DeLissio said Pennsylvania is in a unique financial position to make “meaningful progress toward that goal.”
“If we fail to move forward in this way, we compromise the ability of this level of care to continue,” she said.
To determine the potential gap between nursing home expenditures and the amount of reimbursement facilities receive under the Medicaid program, the Senior Living Services Advisory Group at consulting firm RKL developed a custom database using publicly available Medicaid cost reports to perform granular calculations.
To read the full report, see LeadingAgePA.org.