In Run-Up to SB 1 House Vote, THCA Steps Up Call For Action as Local Facilities, Seniors Face Duress;
72% of Texas Tea Party Voters Say Fund Seniors' Medicaid Nursing Home Care at
Level State Health Officials Say Needed
AUSTIN, Texas, April 1, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Despite the ongoing, major focus on Medicaid expansion today in Austin, the Texas Health Care Association (THCA) reiterated the need for the Texas Legislature to adequately adjust for the first time since 1999 the Medicaid funding levels state government itself says are required to preserve and protect their most vulnerable constituents' access to quality nursing home care.
"We of course respect our elected leaders' continued focus on issues related to federal Medicaid expansion, yet we also believe the issues related to ensuring
Texas seniors' nursing home care is adequately funded must also take precedence," stated
Tim Graves, President of THCA. "Adequately adjusting Medicaid funding levels state government itself says are required to preserve and protect their most vulnerable constituents' must also share the broader Medicaid discussion spotlight."
The Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) consolidated budget outline for Medicaid spending in the 2014-2015 biennium will require a 16.84% rate increase -- $372 million in General Revenue (GR) and $925 million in all funds -- simply to meet the cost of caring for today's nearly 60,000 elderly and disabled Texans living in nursing homes.
Texas' nursing home reimbursement methodology recognizes inflation and the normal increases in business costs experienced by nursing home providers. However, the Legislature has repeatedly failed to fund those reasonable increases with appropriations. Texas nursing homes, their patients and their workforce are long overdue for a Medicaid rate increase that actually meets the cost of care, Graves maintains, especially in the face of an ongoing barrage of state and federal funding cuts – including $51 million Medicare cut just last month and $58 million state Medicaid cuts in 2011.Asked what actions they may be forced to consider in 2013 as a result of the worsening funding squeeze, Texas nursing homes reported that 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. Graves also pointed out a recent poll of Texas voters conducted by Baselice & Associates for the Texas Health Care Association (THCA) finds 72% of voters who share Tea Party views "all or most of the time" agree seniors' Medicaid-financed nursing home care should be funded at the level state health care officials say is needed to meet the cost of providing that care. Additional details about the poll and facility survey available at www.txhca.org About THCA Founded in 1950, the Texas Health Care Association (THCA) is the largest long-term care association in Texas. THCA's membership is comprised of several hundred licensed non-profit and for-profit skilled nursing facilities (SNFs), specialized rehabilitation facilities and assisted living facilities in Texas. These facilities provide comprehensive, around-the-clock nursing care for chronically ill or short-term residents of all ages, along with rehabilitative and specialized medical programs. THCA also represents more than 190 long-term care businesses that provide products and services to the state's approximately 2,850 nursing homes and assisted living facilities. To learn more, visit http://txhca.org/ or connect with THCA on Facebook , Twitter and YouTube . SOURCE Texas Health Care Association