Federal Sequester's $51 Million Cut to Texas Seniors' Medicare-Funded Nursing Home Care Raises Stakes, Need For Texas Legislature to Act on Medicaid Rate Adequacy

Mar 01, 2013, 12:39 ET from Texas Health Care Association

Texas Nursing Homes, Patients Feeling Squeeze as Cumulative Funding Cuts Mount; HHSC Estimates Additional $925 Million Needed in 2014-15 to Preserve Quality Nursing Home Care

AUSTIN, Texas, March 1, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- With the Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) already estimating an additional $925 million in additional state Medicaid funding is needed in 2014-15 to preserve quality nursing home care for Texas seniors, the Texas Health Care Association (THCA) said today's $51 million sequester-generated Medicare cut for nursing home care adds significantly to facilities' funding squeeze.

"This new $51 million cut to Texas seniors' Medicare-funded nursing home care on top of 2011's $58 million state Medicaid cut is putting the squeeze on Texas' nursing homes, which have been constantly bombarded by budget and regulatory-driven cuts of all kinds for too long," said Tim Graves, President of THCA. "As state health officials have already estimated an additional $925 million is needed in 2014-15 to ensure our oldest, most vulnerable seniors continue to receive quality nursing home care, we urge the Legislature to heed that counsel."

Graves said it is critical to ensure facilities keep their key front line care staff by offering competitive wages and benefits, and vital for facilities to keep investing in the new technology, therapies and other equipment that helps increasing numbers of patients return home after successful rehabilitation. "Nursing homes are part of the solution to keeping health costs down, and the ongoing barrage of funding cuts are highly counterproductive to patient and taxpayer alike."

Fully-funding the HHSC rate methodology for Medicaid-funded nursing home care in 2014-2015 is the top THCA priority, he said, both from the standpoint of preserving the economic stability of facilities operating on the thinnest of margins, and for patients, who deserve ongoing access to quality care.

"The existing version of the Legislature's budget does not come close to addressing the growing needs of an aging, expanding patient population – a population primarily in their 80s requiring the type of round-the-clock skilled nursing care that can only be accessed in our facilities," Graves concluded.

SOURCE Texas Health Care Association