Medicare Cuts Pose Disproportionate Threat to West Virginia's Rural Seniors, Local Jobs Base

Thursday, November 15, 2007 General News
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WHAT: As Congress begins to consider possible cuts to seniors' MedicarePart A skilled nursing facilities benefit, an analysis of Congressional BudgetOffice (CBO) data finds five-year $2.7 billion cuts -- like those proposed atthe onset of the SCHIP debate -- pose a disproportionate threat to WestVirginia's rural seniors, and to the jobs and employment base of the state'srural communities.

The Medicare cuts now being considered by Congress would have adisproportionately negative impact on rural facilities, according to a newanalysis of CBO data by the American Health Care Association (AHCA). With 50%of West Virginia's nursing homes located in rural areas, seniors residing inthese facilities would suffer an average per-day Medicare cut of $11.59 overfive years, according to the data. A cut of this size, per day, undermines theability of nursing homes operating on ever-slimmer budgets to continue todeliver quality of care to the frail elderly.

In West Virginia, as in most rural communities, skilled nursing facilitiesare not generally within close proximity to one another, and are more widelydispersed geographically. Consequently, rural facilities' ability to hire,train and retain key direct care staff will be severely compromised ifMedicare cuts are enacted into law.

With a final decision on Medicare cuts to be determined within the nextseveral weeks, long term care providers are urging West Virginia's U.S.Senators and the entire congressional delegation, to ensure Medicare fundingcuts for West Virginia's seniors are not an option.

WHO: Bruce Yarwood, President and CEO of the American Health CareAssociation -- the nation's largest organization of long term care providers-- will provide the Capitol Hill perspective and discuss in a national contexthow the Medicare cuts would severely damage the nation's long term careinfrastructure just as baby boomers begin entering retirement in ever largernumbers.

Jesse Samples, Executive Director of the West Virginia Health CareAssociation (WVCA), will speak to the state impact of slashing Medicarefunding and the specific impact on rural skilled nursing facilities.

Shawn Eddy, Executive Administrator of Marmet Center in Marmet, WV, willdiscuss the challenges faced by rural skilled nursing facilities regardingstaffing issues and the quality of care currently provided to skilled nursingresidents should Congress impose Medicare cuts.

Lisa Cantrell, RN, C, President and co-founder of the National Associationof Health Care Assistants and a founding member of the national Coalition toProtect Senior Care, will address the role of the frontline caregivers inskilled nursing facilities and the direct impact Medicare cuts could have onthe patients they serve.

WHEN: NOVEMBER 16, 2007 - 1:30 P.M. EST **To participate in theteleconference, please dial (866) 244-4637 and ask for the Long Term MedicareCuts to West Virginia Seniors ** To RSVP, please contact Rebecca Reid at1-410-212-3843 or of CBO Data Finds Cuts Would Jeopardize Health, Well Being of Rural Communities National, State Long Term Care Leaders Hold News Teleconference -- West Virginia Seniors in Nation's Top Ten Rural States Hardest Hit from Potential Medicare Cuts --

SOURCE American Health Care Association

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