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Increased Investment in Medicaid Needed to Protect Houston Area's Most Vulnerable Seniors, Disabled
Date:3/13/2008

ave access to long term care.

"Despite the growing demand for long term care, the existing financing mechanisms for Medicare and Medicaid are intertwined and increasingly dysfunctional. Medicare and Medicaid funding comprise the vast majority of all skilled nursing facility (SNF) payments. The Administration's proposed reductions to Medicare payments to SNFs are especially egregious when the drastic underfunding of Medicaid-financed SNF care is considered. For 2007, SNFs received $4.4 billion less than needed to cover the costs of providing care to Medicaid patients according to BDO Seidman. The Administration's FY 09 budget, however, ignores this perilous situation and calls for nearly $24 billion in cuts to Medicare SNF funding over five years.

"Recently, the long term care sector has experienced relative economic stability, allowing SNFs to enhance the quality of care and better meet the needs of its patients. These patients are experiencing more medically complex conditions than ever before and these unjustifiable cuts would therefore jeopardize this already underfunded system and further destabilize our nation's long term care infrastructure."

Stated Graves: "Mr. Chairman, I cannot emphasize more strongly that care quality in our nursing homes - and continued progress in quality improvement - is directly tied to funding stability in Washington and in Austin. I am proud to say that here in Texas, we are indeed making strides on the quality front, but those results are in jeopardy due the financial environment in which we operate."

The THCA President said his organization will continue to enthusiastically partner in government and profession-wide quality improvement programs, and concluded by stating, "Government has every right to insist upon quality care, but so too does government have an obligation to finance that care - particularly in terms of paying the actual cost of providing that care. We do not believe that is an unr
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SOURCE Texas Health Care Association
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