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New Study of House Health Reform Bill: New Mexico Faces Over $130 Million in Medicare-Funded Nursing Home Cuts Over Ten Years

Thursday, September 17, 2009 General News J E 4
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Proposed Medicare Cuts Will Harm Seniors' Care, Place More Than 160 New Mexico Long Term Care Staff Jobs in Jeopardy

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M., Aug. 31 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A new American Health Care Association (AHCA) analysis of the pending U.S. House health care 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 New Mexico requiring nursing and rehabilitative care will face total funding cuts of $130.2 million over that same time period. Nationally, the study finds, seniors' Medicare cuts will total $44 billion over ten years, prompting New Mexico's long term care community to warn that New Mexico seniors' care needs are endangered by the House bill, as are more than 160 long term care jobs in New Mexico alone.

"We are very alarmed at the negative impact that funding cuts in the pending health reform bill in the U.S. House of Representatives will bring to New Mexico seniors' Medicare-funded nursing home care, and we urge lawmakers to revise this plan in order to make certain that seniors are helped by reform rather than harmed by it," said Linda Sechovec, Executive Director, New Mexico Health Care Association (NMHCA). "When Medicare cuts providers' reimbursement, as the House bill proposes, providers are then forced to cut staff, because labor expenses comprise 70 percent of facility costs. Cutting key staff positions, in turn, has a direct, negative impact on residents and their level of care, which is of utmost concern as this bill is now under consideration."

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, Sechovec also urged lawmakers to take into account the fact that the Medicaid program already under funds the cost of providing care, thereby already placing added stress on facilities and staff before federal Medicare cuts even enter the picture. "We believe Congress should preserve, protect and defend seniors' Medicare-funded nursing home care, and we respectfully ask lawmakers to do so when Congress reconvenes in September."

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

SOURCE New Mexico Health Care Association
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