Cumulative Economic Pressure on Facilities Raises Stakes in 2011 DC Medicare Funding Debate; Camp, Stabenow Praised for Pointing Out Sector's Economic Challenges
LANSING, Mich., March 1, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A new 50-state analysis detailing the significance of the U.S. skilled nursing sector to the strength of America's economy finds nursing facility-generated economic activity is $6.43 billion annually in Michigan, with 49,579 jobs tied directly to this key state economic driver and employer. The total number of jobs resulting from all nursing facility activity is 72,837, thus making the skilled nursing sector Michigan's second largest health facility employer after hospitals.
With President Barack Obama having unveiled his proposed FY 2012 federal budget, and with Michigan 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. The funding squeeze is especially pertinent from a care perspective due to the fact 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 Lansing, 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 Michigan congressional delegation work to achieve stable Medicare funding for the skilled nursing sector in a final FY 2012 budget. Doing so will help protect Michigan seniors' care, grow the Michigan 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 in Washington, D.C., 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. Comparably, in the Midwest states, the analysis finds only Ohio and Illinois with higher sector employment and economic activity:
Total NF-Generated Jobs
Total NF-Generated Econ Activity
Rosenbloom singled out House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI) and Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow for recognizing the importance of the skilled nursing sector to Michigan seniors' care, and to the state's economic health: "Congressman Camp was extremely effective during the recent House Ways and Means Committee hearing with CMS Administrator Don Berwick in articulating how the skilled nursing sector has absorbed billions in cuts over the past several years, and detailing how Michigan facilities' economic squeeze negatively impacts both care and local jobs stability. Similarly, Senator Stabenow has been a long-time leader in terms of ensuring the voices and needs of skilled nursing facility patients and employees are heard in Washington. We thank Chairman Camp and Senator Stabenow for their commitment to quality health care for seniors, and good jobs for local workers."
Looking prospectively towards the Medicaid reform debate, in which House Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) will play a leading role, Rosenbloom stated, "Chairman Upton has indicated Medicaid reform will be a top priority, and we look forward to working with the Committee and Governors to strengthen long term care financing to ensure skilled nursing caregivers can continue to provide critical patient care in their communities."
When considering budgetary policy for FY 2012, Rosenbloom urged the congressional delegation to recognize the considerable positive impact of skilled nursing facilities on Michigan's economy, and that achieving Medicare funding stability in Washington has a significant positive impact on local economic activity and jobs. "Medicare is more than a key national health program; it serves as a cornerstone of rural, suburban and urban economic vitality throughout Michigan."
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 Complete Study, and to Learn More About the Significance of the U.S. Nursing Home Sector to the U.S. Economy and its Dominant Role in Caring for Post-Acute Care, go to www.aqnhc.org.
SOURCE Alliance for Quality Nursing Home Care