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New Study of House Health Reform Bill: Minnesota Faces Over $654 Billion in Medicare-Funded Nursing Home Cuts Over Ten Years
Date:8/21/2009

Proposed Medicare Cuts Will Harm Seniors' Care, Place More than 893 Minnesota Nursing Staff Jobs in Jeopardy

BLOOMINGTON, Minn., Aug. 21 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A new American Health Care Association (AHCA) analysis of the pending U.S. House of Representatives' health reform bill, combined with the impact of a recently-enacted Medicare regulation cutting Medicare-funded nursing home care, finds seniors in Minnesota requiring nursing and rehabilitative care will face total funding cuts of $654 million over ten years. Nationally, seniors' Medicare cuts will total $44 billion over ten years, prompting Minnesota's long-term care community to warn that Minnesota seniors' care needs are endangered by the House bill, as are the jobs of more than 893 caregivers in Minnesota alone.

"The bottom line is that Medicare-funded nursing home care will be substantially undermined by the pending House health reform bill. We urge lawmakers to use the last weeks of August to revise its plan so that Minnesota seniors are helped by the reform measure - not hurt by it," said Patti Cullen, CEO and president, Care Providers of Minnesota. "Arguments being made that seniors' benefits will not be reduced by the House bill 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."

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.

In crafting a final bill, Cullen also urged lawmakers to take into account the fact that the Medicaid program already underfunds the cost of providing care by at least $156 million (estimated 2008) in Minnesota, according to Eljay, LLC, thereby already placing enormous stress on facilities and staff before federal Medicare cuts even enter the picture. "We believe Congress should preserve, protect and defend seniors' Medicare-funded nursing home care, and we respectfully ask lawmakers to do so when Congress reconvenes in September."

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

Care Providers of Minnesota is an association representing over 500 providers of long-term care, senior housing, and home- and community-based services. It was created in 1947 as a supportive partner to nursing homes. Its job then, as it is today, is to serve the needs of long-term care providers and support them in giving their clients the highest quality care. More information can be found at www.careproviders.org.

As the nation's largest association of long term and post-acute care providers, the American Health Care Association (AHCA) advocates for quality care and services for frail, elderly and disabled Americans. Compassionate and caring employees provide essential care to one million individuals in our 11,000 not-for-profit and proprietary member facilities.


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SOURCE Care Providers of Minnesota
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