Citing a worsening pandemic, the American Health Care Association / National Center for Assisted Living warned again Wednesday that widespread financial challenges loom over many long-term care facilities.
Low Medicaid reimbursement rates, coupled with the financial hardships from the pandemic, continue to threaten the viability of the entire sector, AHCA / NCAL noted, adding that the consequences of these hardships are coming to fruition. Skilled nursing facilities and assisted living communities in California, Colorado, Michigan, New Hampshire, New York and Rhode Island have announced closures or have warned that they are imminent.
The association also noted that long-term care leaders are seeking action. For example, Rhode Island Health Care Association Executive Director Scott Fraser told WJAR News that the industry is facing a “funding crisis” and is concerned about the future for nursing homes. A report submitted to the state shows that nursing homes lost $7 million in 2017 and 2018. He’s calling on the state to boost reimbursement rates to keep up with inflation.
Similarly, nursing home representatives in New Hampshire testified before a state legislative committee that without higher reimbursement rates, facilities will be unable to address staffing shortages and increase wages. One organization president said that member facilities lose $45 per day per Medicaid resident. Such residents, he says, make up 80% of all of their residents.
Long-term care operators should be able to “make it” until there’s a coronavirus vaccine widely available if another federal stimulus package comes by the end of the year, AHCA / NCAL President and CEO Mark Parkinson predicted last week.
“Funding from HHS has helped nursing homes pay for additional staffing, secure vital PPE equipment, and conduct regular testing of residents and staff in response to the COVID pandemic,” Parkinson told Fox News over the weekend.
“We need Congress to prioritize our vulnerable seniors and their caregivers in nursing homes and assisted living communities by passing another COVID-funding package before they leave town for the elections,” he added.