PENNSYLVANIA HEALTH CARE ASSOCIATION COMMENDS LEGISLATURE, GOVERNOR WOLF FOR SUPPORT OF MDOI INCREASE FOR NURSING HOMES IN 2019-20 STATE BUDGET
Investment in nursing homes with high Medicaid populations comes at a critical time for long-term care providers
HARRISBURG — House and Senate leaders, as well as Governor Tom Wolf, crafted and approved a state spending plan that contains $16 million for the Medicaid Day One Incentive (MDOI) program for Pennsylvania’s nursing homes. This program, created by the legislature in 2013 to aid nursing homes in caring for a higher percentage of residents on Medicaid, had remained at $8 million since its inception. This increase to $16 million will bring in approximately $17 million additional federal funds to Pennsylvania’s nursing homes.
“This increase represents, for the first time since 2014, a real acknowledgment from state government that our long-term care system is severely underfunded,” said Zach Shamberg, President and CEO of the Pennsylvania Health Care Association. “We’re grateful to leadership in both parties, as well as Governor Tom Wolf and his staff, for meeting with providers, direct care workers and residents, learning about their challenges and making a commitment to those high Medicaid facilities to provide more funding.”
“I’d like to thank every PHCA member for calling, emailing, writing or visiting their legislator throughout these last few months. We were overwhelmed by the show of support during this budget cycle. It was made very clear to legislators across the state: one more year of no additional funding would be disastrous for Pennsylvania’s nursing homes.”
While the FY 19-20 MDOI funding is an important investment in Pennsylvania’s seniors, nursing home rates remained flat in this year’s budget. The Medicaid program continues to remain significantly underfunded, as current Medicaid reimbursement levels don’t come close to covering the true cost of care.
“The cost of care is rising, as are the costs for everything from labor to drugs to food and utilities. Older residents today suffer from more complex medical conditions and debilitating afflictions, such as dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. That means the level of care residents require is more advanced, more expensive and more dependent on skilled caregivers,” said Shamberg.
“In the last two years alone, our sector has experienced more than 100 changes of ownership, reorganizations and sales. If you look at what’s happening in other states—South Dakota, Oklahoma, Washington, Massachusetts—there are facilities closing. If we don’t make a considerable investment in the Commonwealth’s Medicaid program soon, I fear Pennsylvania will follow that trend.”
Shamberg added: “We will continue to fight for funding, and we will continue to work with the Wolf administration and the legislature to ensure this budget sets the bar for spending plans moving forward. State government should be reinforcing its commitment to our aging population and those providing their care by investing in the Medicaid program. Our loved ones’ care depends on it.”
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