As Session Enters Home Stretch, THCA Urges Budget Conferees to Prioritize Funding for Texas Seniors' Medicaid Nursing Home Care

Conferees Encouraged to Assess How Local Nursing Homes and Patients Coping With Deep Medicaid, Medicare Cuts

Apr 22, 2013, 16:33 ET from Texas Health Care Association

AUSTIN, Texas, April 22, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- With Senate and House Conferees now named to help guide, shape and direct the final state budget towards ultimate passage, the Texas Health Care Association (THCA) encouraged the lawmakers to ensure Texas nursing homes and the vulnerable patients under their care receive the priority required to help cope with the operational instability caused by 2011's $58 million state Medicaid cut and the new $51 million federal Medicare cut, now in effect.

"As we enter the home stretch of the legislative session, we believe the most significant piece of unfinished business is ensuring Texas' most vulnerable frail, elderly and disabled Medicaid-dependent nursing home patients can continue to access the quality care they deserve by making sure state nursing homes remain operationally stable in the face of deep Medicaid and Medicare cuts," said Tim Graves, President of THCA.

"We look forward to working with Conferees in a constructive, positive manner to ensure they are appropriately aware how their local facilities are increasingly struggling with shrinking resources in the face of growing numbers of patients requiring the type of 24/7/365 care that can only be found in their local skilled nursing facility," the THCA leader continued.

Asked what actions they may be forced to consider in 2013 as a result of the worsening funding squeeze, Graves pointed to a recent survey of Texas nursing homes finding that 84.3% of facilities may have to freeze wages; 75% may have to defer, reduce or change staff benefits; 31.1% may have to lay off direct care staff; 18.4% may be forced to consider actually closing their facility.

THCA, AARP Texas and other seniors' advocacy organizations have repeatedly noted Texas' nursing home reimbursement methodology recognizes inflation and the normal increases in business costs experienced by nursing home providers, but that the Legislature has failed since 1999 to fully fund those reasonable increases with appropriations.

Graves said the Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) consolidated budget for Medicaid spending in the 2014-2015 biennium will require a 16.84% rate increase -- $372 million in General Revenue (GR) and $925 million in all funds -- simply to meet the cost of caring for today's nearly 60,000 elderly and disabled Texans living in nursing homes.

About THCA Founded in 1950, the Texas Health Care Association (THCA) is the largest long-term care association in Texas. THCA's membership is comprised of several hundred licensed non-profit and for-profit skilled nursing facilities (SNFs), specialized rehabilitation facilities and assisted living facilities in Texas. These facilities provide comprehensive, around-the-clock nursing care for chronically ill or short-term residents of all ages, along with rehabilitative and specialized medical programs. THCA also represents more than 190 long-term care businesses that provide products and services to the state's approximately 2,850 nursing homes and assisted living facilities. To learn more, visit or connect with THCA on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

SOURCE Texas Health Care Association