New Survey of Texas Nursing Homes Finds Cumulative State-Federal Funding Squeeze Placing Dangerous Levels of Stress on Patients, Facilities, Workforce

Jun 11, 2012, 11:53 ET from Texas Health Care Association

75.9% of Facilities May Freeze Wages; 67.2% May Defer Expansions; 25.9% May Lay Off Direct Care Staff

AUSTIN, Texas, June 11, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A newly completed survey of Texas nursing homes finds a series of state and federal funding cuts to seniors' skilled nursing facility (SNF) care is creating a dangerous strain on facilities' ability to care for growing numbers of older, more medically complex patients. Following $58 million state Medicaid funding reductions in 2011 and $234 million in federal Medicare cuts in 2012, 75.9% of facilities report they may be forced to freeze wages, 67.2% may have to defer expansions and renovations, 25.9% may be required to lay off the key front line staff responsible for 80% of direct patient care, and 12.2% may be forced to consider closing a facility.

Tim Graves, President of the Texas Health Care Association (THCA), which fielded and tabulated the survey results, said the worsening funding squeeze on facilities throughout Texas raises the stakes for the upcoming 2013 legislative session, and makes it even more important for Congress to avert a budget stalemate. As mandated by the Budget Control Act, Medicare cuts will occur automatically in January 2013 if the current budget stalemate remains unresolved. "From the perspective of Texas seniors, facilities and nursing staff, this is already a bad situation that threatens to get even worse, and we cannot wait until 2013 to initiate this funding discussion," warned Graves. The new report is now being distributed by THCA to state and federal lawmakers in Austin and Washington, D.C.

As a result of the cumulative Medicaid and Medicare funding pressures, Texas facilities reported the following top line scenarios they may face in 2012:

  • 75.9 percent of facilities may have to freeze wages;
  • 67.2 percent may have to defer facility expansions or renovations;
  • 62.1% may have to defer investment in new technology and equipment;
  • 56.9% may have to defer, reduce or change staff benefits;
  • 49.1% may have to lay off non-direct care staff;
  • 25.9% may have to lay off direct care staff;
  • 12.2% may be forced to consider closing a facility.

Methodology Notes

The THCA survey represents an  objective evaluation of current and prospective actions Texas' skilled nursing facilities may take to cope with the growing pressure on all aspects of operations. 128 facilities from every geographic part of the state offered responses. This comprises approximately 1/5th of all facilities statewide. Urban and suburban facilities comprise 60.2% of respondents; rural facilities comprise 39.8% of respondents.

Small facilities (25-50 beds) comprised 3.1% of the respondents; medium-sized facilities (50-100 beds) comprised 26.6% of respondents; larger facilities (100-150 beds) comprised 44.5% of respondents; still larger facilities (150+ beds) comprised 25.8% of respondents. While the universe of respondents may not be a statistically representative sample of all Texas long term and post acute care facilities, Graves says the results are instructive to policymakers, the media and the public at large as to how funding cuts impair facilities' economic stability and put elderly patients' care at risk.

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