Wednesday, March 21, 2012
LV Nursing Homes Facing $5.9 Million in State Budget Cuts
As much as they hate these elected officials, they hate me even more. I'm "vermin," "demented," "deranged," etc., with a "twisted pen."
While these supposed watchmen have been hurling hate grenades at all their imagined enemies, Governor Tom Corbett and the feds have been using meat cleavers to hack away at nursing home budgets.
According to some real watchmen at the Pennsylvania Health Care Association, the impact of Corbett's budget cuts on Northampton County nursing homes will be $2,121,441. Lehigh County, will suffer even more, losing $3,809,190. That's $5.9 million in cuts to LV nursing homes. By the way, Corbett's $102 million statewide cut for nursing homes is in addition to reductions in Medicare payments.
This financial strain is too much for the County. It's one of the reasons the County wanted to sell. Here are the sorry facts, according to a PHCA news release:
Over the last four years, the state has paid nursing homes $1 billion less than the actual cost of care for Medicaid residents. Last year, the gap between the cost of care and what nursing homes are reimbursed for that care widened by 27 percent, from a loss of $15.13 per resident per day to $19.23 per resident per day. Nursing homes lose an average of $7,000 per Medicaid resident per year.
Where other health-care providers, including hospitals and doctors, can make up lost Medicaid dollars through a variety of other funding sources, including private pay and health insurance, nursing homes can’t. Two-thirds of all nursing home residents are on Medicaid. That makes nursing homes far different than any other health-care provider.
Nursing homes historically countered Medicaid shortfalls with Medicare revenue. That’s no longer the case, and it’s not even possible anymore. Here’s why:
o In October, a new federal rule took effect that cuts Medicare payments to nursing homes by 18 percent, or nearly $300 million. The cuts reset the base payments to nursing homes, meaning they continue year after year.
o The payroll tax cut extension enacted in February forces nursing homes to absorb $46.4 million in uncompensated care over the next three years. Pennsylvania’s cut is the fourth highest nationally, ranking only behind Florida, Illinois and Ohio.
o These cuts come on the heels of $14.6 billion being stripped nationally from nursing homes ($1 billion in Pennsylvania) under Medicare to pay for federal health-care reform.
o The cuts are compounded by an additional $500 million reduction Pennsylvania nursing homes face because of the federal super committee failed to reach a debt agreement.
These supposed watchmen, who actually want a seat on the Gracedale Advisory Panel, are happily casting stones at their perceived enemies. At the same time, these "guardians" - people like Mary Ann Schmoyer and Fake Rev Mario Martinez - embrace a documented racist, GOP delegate candidate Tricia Mezzacappa. An Easton police officer concluded Mezzacappa's vocabulary is "tinged with hints of racial bias." They consort with her while the Guv' is happily chopping away.