|Freeman during last year's Family Fest|
There are numerous factors at play her2. First, privately-owned homes have a much lower labor cost and are willing to accept indigents. Second, the reimbursement rates for private homes are higher. Third, county workers certainly care about the residents and probably give them superior care, but county government is poorly adapted to running nursing homes. Fourth, the trend over the past few years has been to encourage people to stay in their own homes.
Yesterday, I told you that Obamacare might make things worse. I spoke with Dee Freeman, Gracedale's Administrator, and he tells me the following:
1. The trend encouraging people to stay in their homes "is not new. That's been going on for a couple of years now." He states this is a reason why census is dropping at many publicly owned nursing homes. "We've been fortunate here," he states. But he also warns, "We've started to see the effect of it." He points out that people on medicaid must reapply every year, creating some uncertainty. He also tells me that a public nursing home can no longer accept a resident who is suffering from mental illness, though that was at one time permitted.
2. Reimbursements are going up, not down. He tells me that a 2% increase, effective July 1, will be paid to the nursing home sometime in November. But I haveto question whether this increase is temporary. With so many new people eligible for Medicaid under Obamacare, it only seems logical that the reimbursement rates will soon decrease.
3. Obamacare might be responsible for huge increases in medical insurance in next year's budget. "It's certainly going to be a challenge for us," admits Freeman. "Obamacare is being blamed for that, but I'm not an expert." Freeman tells me there will also be huge pension increases.
Updated 10:02 AM, to make clear the number of county-owned nursing homes.