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New Study of House Health Reform Bill: California Faces Over $3.7 Billion in Medicare-Funded Nursing Home Cuts Over Ten Years
Date:8/24/2009

Proposed Medicare Cuts Will Harm Seniors' Care, Place More than 4,000 California Nursing Staff Jobs in Jeopardy

Study Finds California Seniors Hit Hardest Nationally by Proposed Cuts

SACRAMENTO, Calif., Aug. 24 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A new American Health Care Association analysis of the pending House health reform bill, combined with the impact of a recently-enacted Medicare regulation cutting Medicare-funded nursing home care by $12 billion over ten years, finds seniors in California requiring nursing and rehabilitative care will face total funding cuts of $3.78 billion over that same time period, which equals the highest state cut across the 50 states. Nationally, the study finds, seniors' Medicare cuts will total $44 billion over ten years, prompting California's long term care community to warn that California's seniors' care needs are endangered by the House bill, as are the jobs of more than 4,000 caregivers in California alone.

"Arguments being made that seniors' benefits will not be reduced by the pending health reform bill in the U.S. House of Representatives ignore the fact that when Medicare cuts provider reimbursement, providers, in turn, are forced to cut staff because labor expenses comprise 70 percent of facility costs. Cutting staff within a facility has a direct, immediate, negative impact on patients and their care - and that is what the House bill will do, " said James Gomez, CEO and President of the California Association of Health Facilities (CAHF). "The bottom line is that California's seniors' Medicare-funded nursing care will be substantially undermined by the current reform bill, and we urge Federal lawmakers to use the last two weeks of the August recess to revise its plan to ensure seniors are helped by the reform measure - not hurt by it."

The new analysis of the House bill's Medicare funding reductions over ten years - combined with the $12 billion ten year Medicare cuts just put into effect by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) - is computed by the AHCA Reimbursement and Research Department using the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) score of both HR 3200 and the recent CMS funding rule, along with Medicare Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF) utilization data.

Other states with cuts exceeding $1 billion over ten years include Florida, New York, Texas, Ohio, Illinois, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Michigan, Indiana, North Carolina, Virginia, Connecticut and Tennessee.

"Congress should preserve, protect and defend seniors' Medicare-funded nursing home care, and that should be a priority when federal lawmakers reconvene to take up health care reform in September," added Gomez.

All 50 State Cut Data Available at www.ahca.org.

About CAHF

Founded in 1950, the California Association of Health Facilities is a non-profit professional association representing skilled-nursing facilities and intermediate-care facilities for the developmentally disabled. It is dedicated to providing quality care for the frail, elderly, developmentally disabled and those with chronic mental illness. Each year, CAHF members provide short-term rehabilitation, long-term care, end-of-life assistance and critical habilitative nursing services for approximately 250,000 individuals across California. CAHF is the largest provider of continuing education for long-term care providers in California. For more information, visit www.cahf.org


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SOURCE California Association of Health Facilities
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