New York nursing homes call for more Medicaid funding
Not-for-profit nursing homes in New York are responding to state calls by officials to support an increase in state aid to the facilities in the upcoming state budget as costs continue to rise.
Nursing homes have seen a steady rise in operating costs over the past several years, rising by 42%, industry groups said this week. Meanwhile, Medicaid rates for nursing homes have not changed in 15 years.
Gov. Kathy Hochul is being pushed to include a 20% increase in the Medicaid rate for nursing homes, which organizations representing nursing homes argue would be an initial step toward financial breathing space for the facilities.
“While it won’t make providers whole, a meaningful investment in the nursing home Medicaid rate is essential to ensure homes can raise wages, hire more staff, reopen beds, provide care with high quality and stabilize the larger health care delivery system,” says Jim Clyne, CEO of LeadingAge New York, a group that represents nonprofit nursing homes in the state.
The appeal comes as Hochul prepares her State of the State address next week and budget presentation in the coming weeks.
Health care providers in general have struggled financially in the wake of the COVID pandemic, with the state’s top providers also pushing for more state aid amid a staffing crisis that has led to higher costs. Providers have also asked for more help to retain and recruit nurses and other medical staff within New York.
In nursing homes, 75% of residents depend on Medicaid to pay for their care, and a severe staffing shortage at the facilities has led to ongoing struggles, nursing home leaders said.
“Already, we are limiting admissions and temporarily closing beds because we simply cannot compete for staff and provide quality care with this chronic underfunding,” said Stuart Almer, president and CEO of the nonprofit Gurwin Healthcare System. which operates two nursing homes with a total of 580 beds on Long Island. “Closings of good, mission-driven facilities are already happening; there will surely be more without any immediate relief.”
At some New York facilities like the Weinberg campus, the current Medicaid reimbursement rate is $100 a day less than the cost of care for residents, creating a multimillion-dollar shortfall.
“This failed Medicaid reimbursement system has already resulted in a significant number of nursing home beds being cut across the state — creating a crisis for the entire health care system,” said Bob Mayer, president and CEO of the Getzville-based Weinberg Campus. “Over the past few months I have received numerous calls from desperate family members trying to find a nursing home for their loved ones. The people we serve and our dedicated staff deserve better.”