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New TX Nursing Home Survey: Medicaid And Medicare Cuts Threaten Direct Care Staff Layoffs, Deferred Tech Investment, Possible Facility Closures

Legislature Urged to Focus More on Adequacy of Texas Seniors' State Medicaid Rates, Not Just Issues Surrounding 'Medicaid Expansion'

AUSTIN, Texas, March 11, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ --  A newly completed survey of Texas nursing homes finds the 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 the $58 million state Medicaid cut in 2011 and a series of federal Medicare cuts since 2009 – the latest being a $51 million cut associated with the federal 'sequester' – Texas nursing homes are reporting the cumulative funding squeeze is having a significantly negative impact on facility operations, and are a growing threat to patient care. The questions and results are as follows:

"As a result of the continuing budget chaos in Washington regarding Medicare coupled with ongoing state Medicaid underfunding, have you:

  • Made any staff changes?  
    • 65.9% report yes
  • Reduced staff hours, wages and/or benefits? 
    • 72.5% report yes
  • Cancelled or postponed facility improvements?  
    • 60.0% report yes

"Looking ahead, what actions may you be forced to consider in 2013?

  • 84.3 % of facilities may have to freeze wages;
  • 81.8% may have to defer facility expansions or renovations;
  • 78.4% may have to defer investment in new technology, therapy equipment;
  • 75% may have to defer, reduce or change staff benefits;
  • 31.1% may have to lay off direct care staff;
  • 18.4% may be forced to consider actually closing their facility.

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