Texas Nursing Homes Shoulder Nearly $1 Billion Burden in State Government Under Funding

Oct 22, 2012, 10:23 ET from Texas Health Care Association

HHSC Estimates Need to Boost Medicaid Nursing Home Rates by $372 Million in GR, $925 Million in All Funding  

AUSTIN, Texas, Oct. 22, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Commenting on the newly released Health and Human Services Commission's (HHSC) Consolidated Budget document that includes an array of options for Medicaid and other health care services spending in the 2014-2015 biennium, the Texas Health Care Association (THCA) today said that meeting Texas seniors' special care needs is not optional. And neither is the need to address the fact that Texas nursing homes are now shouldering a nearly $1 billion under payment burden due to state government under funding of nursing facility Medicaid reimbursement rates.

To close this funding gap, the HHSC estimates that Medicaid spending for nursing facilities in the 2014-2015 biennium would require a 16.84% overall rate increase, or $925 million, of which $372 million would come from the state's General Revenue funds simply to meet the cost of caring for the nearly 60,000 elderly and disabled Texans living in nursing homes.

"Since 1999, the Texas Legislature has not adequately adjusted the funding levels state government itself says are necessary to meet the rising cost of providing quality care to Medicaid funded nursing home patients," stated Tim Graves, President of THCA. "It is simply wrong, unfair and bad policy to expect facilities and their patients to shoulder this under funding burden," stated Tim Graves, President of THCA.

Typically in their 80s and older—and disproportionately afflicted with severe, chronic health and medical conditions — these seniors, Graves said, require specialized round-the-clock care.

Said Graves: "As the Legislative Session approaches, we also face continuing budgetary chaos in Washington that includes expectations of still more Medicare cuts in January.  With 80 to 85 percent of Texas nursing home patients dependent upon either Medicaid or Medicare funding – or both -- for their care, our lawmakers need to recognize that a top priority must be to fix this unsustainable funding shortfall. Our frail and elderly Texas citizens deserve nothing less."

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