Cumulative Economic Pressure on Facilities Raises Stakes in 2011 DC Medicare Funding Debate
COLUMBUS, Ohio, March 2, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A new 50 state analysis detailing the significance of the U.S. skilled nursing sector to the strength of America's national and state economies finds Ohio ranks third nationally in nursing facility-generated economic activity ($13.3 billion annually) and employment (106,356 jobs). The total number of jobs in Ohio resulting from all nursing facility activity is 197,414. This makes the skilled nursing sector Ohio's second largest health facility employer after hospitals. In the mid-west alone, Ohio ranks first in terms of economic activity and jobs generated by the sector.
With President Barack Obama having unveiled his proposed FY 2012 federal budget, and with Ohio facilities enduring a chronic Medicaid funding squeeze, the new study spotlights how potential Medicare funding reductions in Washington would risk not only seniors' care, but also jobs stability and the fragile economic recovery now taking shape in-state. The funding squeeze is especially pertinent from a care perspective due to the fact that approximately 85 percent of facility patients rely upon Medicare and Medicaid.
Moreover, the study emphasizes the critical importance of stable Medicare funding from Washington in propping-up Medicaid, which has become a touchstone of budgetary discussion in Columbus and state capitols nationwide. Alan G. Rosenbloom, President of the Washington-based Alliance for Quality Nursing Home Care, stated: "The chronic budgetary pressures placed on facilities puts a premium on ensuring President Obama and the Ohio congressional delegation work to achieve stable Medicare funding for the skilled nursing sector in a final FY 2012 budget. Doing so will help protect Ohio seniors' care, grow the Ohio jobs base, and nurture the state's fragile economic recovery."
The new installment of the Alliance for Quality Nursing Home Care's "Care Context" series of health policy analyses, created with analytic support from Avalere Health, a non-partisan health advisory firm, details the fact that, nationally, the U.S. skilled nursing sector accounts for 1.7 million jobs, with a total impact of over $201 billion annually on U.S. economic activity. The new analysis finds the following 10 states have the highest number of nursing facility jobs; followed by the total jobs created by nursing facility activity, and the total economic impact on the state economy:
Total NF-Generated Jobs
Total NF-Generated Econ Activity
"When considering budget policy for the year ahead back in Washington, we want to ensure Senators Portman, Brown and the entire Ohio congressional delegation recognize the considerable positive impact of skilled nursing facilities on the state's economy, and that achieving Medicare funding stability has a significant positive impact on local economic activity and jobs," said Tara Arnett, Administrator of Manorcare of Westerville, a skilled nursing facility that provides care to 180 patients in the Columbus, OH area, and offers a variety of skilled services including post-acute rehabilitative care, Alzheimer's care and long term care. The facility discharges approximately 360 patients back to the community each year, following rehabilitation treatment, which is a key objective of all Ohio facilities.
"Medicare is more than a key national health program; it serves as a cornerstone of rural, suburban and urban economic vitality throughout Ohio," added Arnett.
Emil Parker, Director at Avalere Health, the lead author of the analysis, said nursing facilities across Ohio and the nation are responding to the funding squeeze in a variety of ways, including submitting late payments to vendors and being forced to delay facility improvements and maintenance: "Given that the average age of nursing home facilities in the United States is 29 years, delays in maintenance may negatively affect residents' quality of life. In addition, if nursing facility physical plants cannot be maintained adequately and the sector's capacity declines as a result, some patients may have to spend more time in higher-cost acute care hospitals because of delays in transfers to nursing facilities," he said.
Nursing facilities are the dominant provider of Medicare post-acute care services, treating 50 percent of all Medicare beneficiaries who are discharged from hospitals to post-acute care. The majority of patients are short-stay Medicare patients who are discharged from the hospital to the nursing facility, and need restorative and recuperative care before returning to home and their community. Over the past two years, the nursing facility sector – through both federal regulatory and budgetary actions – has already absorbed nearly $30 billion nationally in Medicare cuts over ten years.
To View the Complete Study, and to Learn More About the Significance of the U.S. Nursing Home Sector to Ohio's Economy, and its Dominant Role in Post-Acute Care, go to www.aqnhc.org.
SOURCE Alliance for Quality Nursing Home Care