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Stimulus Bill Requires Modification in U.S. Senate to Better Protect Seniors' Ongoing Access to Quality Nursing Home Care

As Medicaid Cuts Increasingly Dominate State Fiscal Landscape, AHCA/Alliance Urge Greater Accountability with $87 Billion in New Federal Medicaid Funds

WASHINGTON, Jan. 29 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- With the number of states slashing Medicaid funding for vulnerable populations increasing at an alarming rate, the nation's two largest long term care advocacy organizations today urged the U.S. Senate to modify economic stimulus legislation in a manner that will better protect U.S. seniors' ongoing access to quality nursing home care, and better ensure $87 billion in new federal Medicaid funds are not diverted to state projects unrelated to meeting seniors' health care needs.

"From the standpoint of the nation's most vulnerable seniors and the providers who care for them, we strongly urge the U.S. Senate to help ensure the economic stimulus package protects seniors' current benefits and access to quality care and services," said Bruce Yarwood, President and CEO of the American Health Care Association. "As currently drafted, states would receive approximately $87 billion in extra Medicaid funds but still be able to cut benefits and slash payments to providers. This will not further the worthy policy objective of protecting America's oldest, neediest citizens."

Noting a new analysis from Families USA finding twenty-five states plan to cut state Medicaid funding or have already done so, Alan G. Rosenbloom, President of the Alliance for Quality Nursing Home Care stated, "As a matter of sound, logical policy, the federal government ought not provide funds to ostensibly protect vulnerable populations while allowing states to divert Medicaid funds to projects unrelated to providing health care to our neediest seniors. While states unquestionably need and deserve increased federal Medicaid funding, we must make certain these funds truly go to the purposes Congress intends."

The national long term care leaders also pointed out that the long term care sector depends heavily upon Medicaid, which pays for the care of roughly two-thirds of nursing home patients. Medicaid, on average, pays nearly $13.00 per patient per day less than the cost of nursing facility care. For 2008 alone, it was projected that Medicaid paid $4.2 billion less than the actual cost of care - which already places patients and providers in a tenuous position.

SOURCE The Alliance for Quality Nursing Home Care
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