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Front Line Caregiver Coalition Thanks Sens. Conrad, Coleman and Reps. Pomeroy, Capito and Berkley for Leading Bipartisan Hill Effort to Stop Bush Administration's Damaging Medicare Cuts

Predicts Growing Opposition on Capitol Hill Once Negative Impact on Local Seniors Becomes More Widely Known

JOPLIN, Mo., June 5 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In thanking U.S. Senators Kent Conrad (D-ND), Norm Coleman (R-MN) and Reps. Shelley Berkley (D-NV), Earl Pomeroy (D-ND) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) for leading a new bipartisan effort in Congress to stop the Bush Administration's plan to cut by regulatory means $770 million in seniors' Medicare Part A nursing home benefits, the Coalition to Protect Senior Care today predicted there will be growing opposition to the Bush Medicare cuts once the local impact to Members' elderly constituents becomes more widely known.

The five lawmakers are seeking signatures for separate Senate and House letters to Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Mike Leavitt, stating their "deep concern that high-quality skilled nursing care for America's seniors will be threatened if the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) moves forward with an administrative proposal that would cut $770 million in Medicare funding for skilled nursing facility (SNF) care in 2009 and more than $4 billion over the next five years." The letter began circulating on Capitol Hill yesterday.

"From our perspective as front line caregivers, the Administration's plan to move forward with these Medicare funding cuts will put at risk a facility's ability to sustain caregiver wage and benefit packages that are already on the margin of being uncompetitive with other service-oriented professions," warned Lisa Cantrell, a co-founder of the National Association of Health Care Assistants, and a national spokesperson for the Coalition to Protect Senior Care.

"This ill-considered regulatory directive and the resulting Medicare funding cuts will prove enormously detrimental to the Administration's own quality improvement initiatives -- and the more we publicize this fact at the state and local level, the more we believe Congress will rally to help stop this misguided effort," Cantrell continued. "These five lawmakers deserve thanks for standing up to protect their most vulnerable constituents, and fighting for the federal funding necessary to help preserve and promote quality nursing home care."

The Coalition to Protect Senior Care consists of the American Association for Long Term Care Nursing (AALTCN); the American College of Health Care Administrators (ACHCA); the American Association of Nurse Assessment Coordinators (AANAC); the National Rural Health Association (NRHA); the American Association of Nurse Executives (AANEX); the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA); the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA); the American Society of Health Care Administration Executives (ASHCAE); ASHCAE state affiliate members representing Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Oregon, Texas and Utah; the American Health Care Association (AHCA); the American Health Quality Association (AHQA); the National Association for the Support of Long Term Care (NASL); the National Association of Health Care Assistants (NAHCA); the Alliance for Quality Nursing Home Care; the Coalition of Women in Long Term Care (COWL); and the Senior Clinician Group.

SOURCE Coalition to Protect Senior Care
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