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Nursing home group calls for funding protection

Friday August 26, 2011
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The Alliance for Quality Nursing Home Care has released a statement concerning the need to preserve, protect and defend quality nursing home care and local caregiver jobs during upcoming negotiations on reducing the federal debt.

A congressional committee of six Democrats and six Republicans is scheduled to begin negotiations on reducing the debt by at least $1.2 trillion and report to the full Congress by Nov. 23. Medicare and Medicaid cuts are expected to be part of the discussion.

If the committee cannot agree on debt reduction, or if Congress does not approve the proposals, $1.5 trillion in automatic cuts would take place. These cuts would include a 2% reduction in Medicare payments but would not affect Medicaid.

"This distinguished bipartisan group of lawmakers is charged with a budgetary balancing act of historic proportions, and we respectfully ask that they ensure the most vulnerable seniors in their state and the jobs of their dedicated caregivers receive the funding priority warranted," Alliance President Alan G. Rosenbloom said in a news release.

"The nursing home sector intends to put forward several substantive policy initiatives designed to maximize efficiency in Medicare spending, and we look forward to working with the Super Committee to discuss and implement them.

"Without exception, each of the Super Committee members have an awareness of the challenge faced by their home state nursing facilities in dealing with the cumulative Medicare-Medicaid funding squeeze, and we will continue to discuss how and why strong funding of each program is integral to preservation of quality care and local jobs."

Rosenbloom said the nursing sector has contributed heavily to advancing healthcare reform and deficit reduction. He cited factors that contribute to the skilled nursing facility sector's instability in the face of a growing demand for care and services: "plummeting" state Medicaid funding, $14.6 billion in Medicare cuts contained in the Affordable Care Act, rising patient acuity, shrinking length of stay, escalating costs and having the lowest operating margin of all provider groups.


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