State, National Long Term Care Leaders to Warn of Growing Threat to Washington Seniors' Care in Wake of Legislative Session Medicaid Cuts, Deep Cuts in Federal Medicare Funding

Thursday, May 6, 2010 Press Release
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Facilities Throughout Washington Face Worsening Cost-Squeeze as $15 Million in Medicaid Cuts Loom in Conjunction With Federal Health Care Reform's $14.6 Billion Federal Funding Reduction

Providers and Caregivers Will Sign 10 Foot Petition Urging U.S. Congress To Preserve Medicare Funding and Prevent Further Federal Medicare Cuts That Will Risk Staffing Stability, Jeopardize Local Health Jobs

SEATTLE, May 5 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In the wake of the now-completed Olympia legislative session in which Medicaid-funded nursing home care was slashed by $15 million, leaders from the Washington Health Care Association (WHCA) and the national Coalition to Protect Seniors Care (CPSC) will conduct a news briefing to outline and explain how, in conjunction with $14.6 billion federal cuts that just went into effect, state seniors and the facility staff who care for them are caught in a worsening cost squeeze that risks stability, staffing and the jobs of key frontline caregivers.

Caregivers, residents and their family members will sign a 10 foot petition urging the Washington state congressional delegation to ensure Medicare-funded nursing home care in the nation's capitol is not cut further as part of any deficit reduction effort in the weeks and months ahead.

"Governor Gregoire deserves our praise today for reducing Medicaid cuts to nursing homes by vetoing a section of the legislature's bill that would have placed even greater hardship on long term care providers and caregivers providing quality care to our state's elderly. However, we are still faced with $15 million in state Medicaid funding cuts, the impact of which is compounded by the worsening Medicare funding squeeze from Washington. With seventy percent of our facility costs directly related to staffing, this enormous financial instability places vulnerable seniors' ongoing care needs in direct jeopardy, and puts key facility jobs at substantial risk," warned Gary Weeks, President and CEO of WHCA, who will help lead the event. "Adequate, stable and consistent Medicaid and Medicare funding was and always will be directly linked with high care quality and staffing and employment stability."

Who: Gary Weeks, President & CEO, Washington Health Care Association

Certified Nurse Assistant for residents at Ballard Care and Rehab and local spokesperson for the Coalition to Protect Senior Care

Family member of resident at Ballard Care & Rehab

Resident of Ballard Care & Rehab

When: 10:00 a.m. Friday, May 7th, 2010

Where: Ballard Care and Rehab

820 95th Street NW

Seattle, WA 98117-2207

On site Contact: Angela Davis, (206) 782-0100

SOURCE Coalition to Protect Senior Care; Washington Health Care Association

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