More Work Needed to Ensure that Seniors are a Priority
Adequate Medicaid funding needed to support state’s sickest and frailest
HARRISBURG — W. Russell McDaid, President and CEO of the Pennsylvania Health Care Association (PHCA), issued the following statement in response to Gov. Tom Wolf’s proposed 2017-18 General Fund budget, which provides no additional Medicaid funding for skilled nursing facility care:
“Our elected officials are tasked with crafting a fair and responsible budget amid difficult circumstances. The fiscal challenges facing the Governor and the legislature are abundant, and many difficult choices need to be made.
“However, the continued funding shortfall of skilled nursing facilities in Pennsylvania’s Medicaid program is one of the biggest challenges facing consumers in need of skilled nursing facility and post-acute care, as we work to ensure high-quality, person-centered care for a rapidly aging population.
“The Pennsylvania Medicaid program does not come close to covering the real cost of care, and continued flat funding leaves Pennsylvania’s frailest and sickest residents, such as those with advanced dementia or severe chronic health conditions that require around-the-clock care in Pennsylvania’s skilled nursing facilities, vulnerable. The proposed budget fails to adequately address the escalating costs of caring for this vulnerable population.
“Right now in Pennsylvania, skilled nursing facilities lose about $25.43 each day, or $9,300 annually, for each Medicaid resident in their care, and two-thirds of all skilled nursing facility residents rely on Medicaid. It’s unsustainable, and puts additional financial stress on our skilled nursing facilities at a time when it is essential that they have the necessary funding to invest in quality care for their residents.”
“As the Administration takes steps to implement Community HealthChoices by January 2018, we need to ensure that those who need long-term care receive quality services in the most appropriate and cost-effective setting at each stage of their life.
“No one who does not need the around-the-clock skilled care and services provided in a skilled nursing facility should be forced to reside there merely because other options do not exist. However, when a consumer has multiple chronic health care needs, and the most appropriate setting to assure they get the care and services they need is in a skilled nursing facility, we need to ensure that the system is not stacked against the delivery of that care.
“We recognize that this is the first step in a very long budget process. We also recognize the unprecedented fiscal situation the state is facing with ongoing state budget issues. Our leaders have very strong opinions about the direction they want to take our state. But there is one issue they must all agree on — funding care for our seniors. PHCA remains committed to working with the administration and legislature to ensure our sickest, frailest elderly residents continue to receive the quality care and services they need.”