Saturday, May 14, 2016

Over 16,000 Low-Income Elderly, Infirm Oklahomans Potentially Face Nursing Home Boot If State-Proposed 25% Medicaid Reimbursement Rate Cut Goes Into Effect (Not To Mention Thousands Of Job Losses)

Tandie Hastings, president of the board of the Oklahoma Association of Health Care Providers, writes in an op-ed piece in The Oklahoman:
  • The Oklahoma Health Care Authority, facing the possibility of major budget reductions, is threatening to cut Medicaid reimbursement rates by 25 percent. If that happens, it's impossible to overstate the health care crisis we will face in Oklahoma.

    Nine out of 10 nursing homes would be in danger of closing, potentially leaving more than 16,000 vulnerable and elderly Oklahomans homeless and without medical care. Almost 17,000 nursing employees would lose their jobs.

    Lawmakers have told many residents and employees not to worry — the Medicaid rate cut may be much lower than 25 percent, perhaps 10 percent or even 5 percent. These words are meant to be comforting, but those of us in the nursing profession know the truth: Nursing facilities have been underfunded for so long that any cut threatens a large-scale collapse of the system.

    At a 5 percent reduction in Medicaid reimbursements, 44 percent of Oklahoma nursing facilities are in danger of closing, potentially displacing 8,000 seniors.