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National Front Line Caregiver Group Urges Senate Leaders to Support Grassley Amendment Protecting Seniors' Care, Assuring Stability of Nation's Long Term Care Workforce

JOPLIN, Mo., Feb. 5 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In a new letter sent today to the U.S. Senate Leadership and the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Finance Committee, the Coalition to Protect Senior Care (CPSC) urged support for the Grassley Amendment to the pending economic stimulus bill, S.1. The Grassley provision stipulates a state shall not be eligible for state Medicaid funds as part of the broader bill if the state cuts seniors' eligibility standards, or reduces provider payments -- which would negatively impact the overall mission and capacity of the nation's long term care workforce.

In the letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) and Ranking Member Charles Grassley (R-IA), Lori Porter, a national spokesperson for CPSC, states, "We are pleased that this economic stimulus package recognizes the need to increase funding to our states by providing $87 billion for Medicaid nationwide. But while that funding might appear on the surface to be just what the nation's elderly need, it fails to recognize one important factor: Congress is providing this funding to states but is not asking the states how they are going to spend it. The Grassley Amendment will go a long way to help prevent states from shifting the money out of the Medicaid program, or from cutting current spending levels."

Continued Porter, "Direct care workers in the nation's nursing homes experience every day the needs of the nation's most vulnerable population -- the sick and frail elderly and disabled. Too often though, they already struggle because of a lack of funding from the very Medicaid program designed to serve as a safety net for the sick and poor."

Porter explained that Medicaid programs in the United States are already stretched to the limit -- and that objective studies find skilled nursing care alone is underfunded by over $4.2 billion a year, and the problem only getting worse. "The $87 billion that is currently proposed in the stimulus bill should help states close the gap between the cost of care and the payments provided, but it may not," she writes. "In fact, in many states the opposite is occurring. States are slashing funding for Medicaid. The Grassley Amendment would require states to maintain their current efforts on eligibility, services and provider payments -- all critically important to providing care to Medicaid beneficiaries."

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); 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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