Alliance for Quality Nursing Home Care: In DC Deficit Reduction Discussion, Quality Patient Care Inextricably Linked to Provider Funding

Sep 21, 2011, 17:04 ET from Alliance for Quality Nursing Home Care

Logic That Patient Care Will Not Be Harmed if "Only" Providers' Funding Cut is Illusory, False, Dangerous

WASHINGTON, Sept. 21, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Taking issue with one of the developing narratives in the ongoing deficit reduction discussions -- that Medicare funding reductions "only to providers" is somehow different than funding reductions to beneficiaries themselves -- the Alliance for Quality Nursing Home Care today urged lawmakers to proceed cautiously in regard to accepting oversimplified slogans and falsehoods at the ultimate expense of quality care for their elderly constituents.

Alan G. Rosenbloom, President of the Alliance for Quality Nursing Home Care, referred to today's New York Times article ("In Cuts to Health Care Programs, Experts See Difficult Task in Protecting Patients") reporting that a former Medicare trustee said, "'You have to be vigilant' in cutting Medicare payments to health care providers because 'there is no bright line' between cuts that affect beneficiaries and those that affect only providers."

Stated Rosenbloom: "Because 70 percent of SNF facility costs are directly related to staffing, there is zero possibility in the case of our sector that 'only' cutting provider funding will not also result in staffing cuts and quality patient care ultimately being compromised. The logic that one can somehow de-link reductions in provider reimbursements to facilities' ongoing ability to provide quality patient care is illusory, false and dangerous to senior and facility employee alike."

The Alliance leader said cutting staff within a nursing home has "a direct, immediate, negative impact on patients and their care," and that more Medicare and Medicaid cuts on top of the many already implemented at both the federal and state levels "would force layoffs, reduce salaries and benefits, and undermine quality patient care. This is not just a possibility, this is a certainty – and is already occurring in states like Ohio."

From a policy standpoint, he noted, "We are conveying the positive message that our vital health sector offers high quality care and rehabilitation in a low cost setting -- which is highly pertinent to this Fall's legislative discussion surrounding deficit reduction. Yet, as America's second largest health facility employer, we also intend to make clear our sector cannot be expected on the one hand to continue being the reliable jobs partner we have proven to be even in this devastating economic downturn, while, on the other, absorbing one deep funding reduction after another."

SOURCE Alliance for Quality Nursing Home Care