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THCA: Protecting Seniors, Respecting Taxpayers the Right Agenda for Texas
Date:1/13/2009

dicaid nursing home residents twenty-four hour a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

"The HHSC recommendation is not a Cadillac solution -- it is a baseline necessity to increasing the number and skill level of direct care staff in nursing facilities across Texas," Graves continued. "Making the appropriate investment in Medicaid can help reduce the number and frequency of hospital admissions by improving resident health, and increasing the capability of skilled nursing facilities themselves to successfully treat more complex medical conditions and incidents -- at lower cost to taxpayers. This is an important, vital part of the broader eldercare policy dialogue and discussion we intend to have with lawmakers this session."

Since 1999, Graves said, the Texas legislature has failed to appropriately fund the rising costs related to caring for Medicaid nursing home residents -- Texas' most vulnerable seniors who are typically in their 80's and have severe chronic care issues. Rate increases since January 2006 have provided very marginal improvement to the dire financial conditions that confronted nursing home services providers at that time, but the state still fails to fund care at the level it actually says is needed to provide quality care. Comparatively, Graves pointed out, Texas ranks 49th nationally in Medicaid funding -- and even on a regional basis trails the neighboring states of New Mexico, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Louisiana.

Currently, 68% of nursing home providers lose money taking care of Medicaid nursing home residents. For those nearly 700 nursing homes in Texas that lose money on Medicaid residents, the average loss per day of care is $23 -- or a negative margin of about 20%. The HHSC-audited cost report database corroborates these facts. Consequently, 60 Texas nursing homes have closed their doors since January 2006. Providers simply cannot survive in this environment, Graves said, and Texas' olde
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SOURCE Texas Health Care Association
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