$30.7 Million Cut to Louisiana Seniors' Medicare-Funded Nursing Home Care Begins Kicking-In October 1st, 2012

Sep 21, 2012, 10:23 ET from Alliance for Quality Nursing Home Care

With AARP Speeches from Obama and Ryan Scheduled Today in New Orleans, AQNHC Says Cascade of Nursing Home Funding Cuts Warrants More Discussion, New Ideas

NEW ORLEANS, Sept. 21, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- With President Barack Obama and Paul Ryan scheduled to address the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) Expo in New Orleans today, the Alliance for Quality Nursing Home Care (AQNHC) today released new data from Avalere detailing the fact $30.7 million cuts to Louisiana seniors' Medicare-funded nursing home care will begin kicking in on October 1, 2012 -- just days from now, as a result of new federal tax laws passed by Congress and signed into law earlier this year. 

The Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012, which became law in March, 2012, mandates three year, $20.3 million cuts to Louisiana seniors' Medicare funded nursing home care, according to Avalere, the independent health policy advisory firm. These cuts begin going into effect on October 1, 2013. Meanwhile, the sequester provision of the Budget Control Act will cut Louisiana seniors' nursing home care a full $10.4 million on January 1, 2013. The three-year Medicare cut total from both federal laws is $30.7 million, according to Avalere.

"At both political conventions – and in health policy forums like those sponsored by AARP today in New Orleans – seniors' Medicare-funded nursing home care and its ongoing funding adequacy has been part of a vigorous, necessary national discussion," stated Alan G. Rosenbloom, President of AQNHC, which funded the data analysis. "The higher profile of nursing home funding in the 2012 election reflects the growing importance of ending what essentially amounts to a 'cut now, ask questions later' governmental funding policy. We hope to help engender a consensus that bigger-picture, systemic reforms that reduce costs, improve efficiency and optimize care quality must be pursued once the election is over."

With nearly 70 percent of facility expenses related to staffing, Rosenbloom said, the impact of federal Medicare cuts combined with a fragile Louisiana Medicaid system causes significant difficulties in regard to hiring and retaining the direct care staff that help make a significant difference in care quality and patient outcomes. "Any facility forced to reduce salaries and defer or alter benefits due to the continuing barrage of Medicare funding reductions place them at a significant competitive disadvantage in the local labor market, especially in rural states like Louisiana."

Nationally, nursing homes and their patients face nearly $4 billion in Medicare funding reductions in 2013-14, and a $65 billion reduction over 10 years as a result of several different federal budgetary actions and regulatory changes made by Congress and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) since 2009. (For a 50 state look at Medicare-funded nursing home care cuts slated to go into effect over the next ten years, go to www.aqnhc.org)

Contact: Ellen Almond 703/548-0019


SOURCE Alliance for Quality Nursing Home Care