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New Study of House Health Reform Bill: Kansas Faces Over $373 Million in Medicare-Funded Nursing Home Cuts Over Ten Years

Friday, September 18, 2009 General News J E 4
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Proposed Medicare Cuts Estimated to Harm Seniors' Care, Place More than 500 Nursing Staff Jobs in Jeopardy

TOPEKA, Kan., Aug. 21 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A new American Health Care Association (AHCA) analysis of the pending U.S. House health reform bill, combined with the impact of a recently-enacted Medicare regulation cutting Medicare-funded nursing home care by $12 billion over ten years, finds seniors in Kansas requiring nursing and rehabilitative care will face total funding cuts of $373 million over that same time period. Nationally, the study finds, seniors' Medicare cuts will total $44 billion over ten years, prompting Kansas' long term care community to warn that Kansas seniors' care needs are endangered by the House bill, as are the jobs of more than 500 caregivers in Kansas alone.

"We believe that the proposed funding cuts to Medicare-funded nursing home care included in the pending House health care reform bill will be detrimental to Kansas seniors' nursing home care, and we hope lawmakers will make revisions to current legislation during these last two weeks of recess to help ensure seniors' care is not harmed," said Cindy Luxem, President and CEO of the Kansas Health Care Association. "When Medicare cuts provider reimbursement, facilities will be forced to cut staff, because 70 percent of facility costs are labor related, and the loss of key staffing positions will have an immediate, direct effect on residents and their care."

The new analysis of the House bill's Medicare funding reductions over ten years, combined with the $12 billion ten year Medicare cuts just put into effect by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), is computed by the AHCA Reimbursement and Research Department using the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) score of both HR 3200 and the recent CMS funding rule, along with Medicare Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF) utilization data.

In crafting a final bill, Luxem also urged lawmakers to take into account the fact the Medicaid program already under funds the cost of providing care by at least $36 million in Kansas according to Eljay, LLC, thereby already placing enormous stress on facilities and staff before federal Medicare cuts even enter the picture. "As it moves forward with reform, we believe Congress should preserve and protect seniors' Medicare-funded nursing home care," added Luxem, "and we respectfully ask lawmakers to do so when Congress reconvenes in September."

All 50 State Cut Data Available at www.ahca.org.

The Kansas Health Care Association (KHCA) is a statewide non-profit association that represents over 200 long-term care providers. Founded in 1951, KHCA is the largest association of its kind in Kansas. Its members are composed of for-profit and not-for-profit facilities consisting of nursing facilities, assisted living facilities, nursing facilities for mental health, and hospital-based long term care units.

SOURCE Kansas Health Care Association
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