As More DC Medicare Cuts Loom, THCA Expresses Concern About TX Leaders' State Budget Directive

Jun 07, 2012, 13:17 ET from Texas Health Care Association

Threat of More State Medicaid Cuts to Nursing Home Patients Coupled With DC Budget Quagmire Alarms Key Texas Eldercare Leader

AUSTIN, Texas, June 7, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Following 2011 state Medicaid cuts of $58 million and $234 million in Medicare cuts, the new directive to state agencies from Texas leaders to freeze spending at last year's levels has prompted the Texas Health Care Association (THCA) to warn that the worsening state-federal budget squeeze will have a significant, damaging impact on facilities' ongoing ability to care for an increasingly older, larger and medically-complex patient population.

"The Washington budget quagmire, which unfortunately shows no sign of abating, may force tens of millions in new cuts to Texas seniors' Medicare-funded nursing home care through mandatory sequestration – and we believe state leaders must keep this worrisome fact in mind in the run-up to the January legislative session," said Tim Graves, President of THCA.

"Millions in still more Medicare cuts in January 2013, coupled with the threat of what amounts to 'locking in' last year's state Medicaid cuts, will have a calamitous impact on facilities' operational stability, patient care, and workforce wages and benefits," he warned.

Graves predicted that Texas lawmakers would again see the issue of nursing home care and its funding necessities front and center in the 83rd session as it was in the last, and stressed the fact this discussion is important for seniors, essential for providers, and constructive for taxpayers due to the simple reason that facts must necessarily drive public policy.

"Meeting Texas seniors' growing complex care needs requires a strong public understanding about the unique nature of nursing home care compared to other settings," Graves continued. "At a time when patients and taxpayers would benefit from increased investment in skilled nursing care, which can help reduce incidents of rehospitalizations, budget cuts aimed at nursing homes are illogical and wrong -- especially as our patient population is growing in size, age and complexity of medical condition."  

Graves said the Texas nursing home community welcomes a debate surrounding the cost-effectiveness of high quality nursing home care versus much higher cost acute-care services, including hospital emergency room visits – "which will most certainly increase if more Texas nursing homes are forced to shut their doors due to the growing preponderance of Medicaid and Medicare cuts."

About the Texas Health Care Association

Founded in 1950, the Texas Health Care Association (THCA) is the largest long term care association in Texas. THCA represents a broad spectrum of long term care providers and professionals offering long term, rehabilitative and specialized health care services. Member facilities, owned by both for-profit and non-profit entities, include nursing facilities, specialized rehabilitation facilities, and assisted living facilities.

SOURCE Texas Health Care Association