State Medicaid Squeeze Raises Stakes in DC Medicare Debate as Sens. Murray, Cantwell, WA Delegation Urged to Ensure Stable FY 2012 Funding
SEATTLE--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- As the potential negative impact of deep cuts to Medicaid proposed by state lawmakers continues to grow as a focal point of discussion, a new analysis detailing the significance of Washington’s skilled nursing sector to state economic activity finds this key local employer generates $3.12 billion annually, and helps support 37,693 local jobs statewide. This makes the skilled nursing sector Washington’s second largest health facility employer, after hospitals. Moreover, the study emphasizes the fact stable federal Medicare funding from Washington, DC in the year ahead is mandatory to propping-up the chronically stressed state program.
Alan G. Rosenbloom, President of the Washington DC-based Alliance for Quality Nursing Home Care, which released the report, stated: “We simply seek to reinforce with Senators Murray and Cantwell – and the entire U.S. House delegation – the importance of this key sector to Washington seniors, Washington jobs and Washington’s ongoing economic recovery. Medicare is more than a key national health program – it is also a cornerstone of rural, suburban and urban economic vitality throughout the state. As the budget debate in Washington, DC begins in earnest, stable Medicare funding in the FY 2012 budget merits broad support on Capitol Hill from the state’s federal lawmakers.”
The new installment of the Alliance for Quality Nursing Home Care’s “Care Context” series of health policy analyses, created with analytic support from Avalere Health, a non-partisan health advisory firm, details the fact that, nationally, the U.S. skilled nursing sector accounts for 1.7 million jobs, with a total impact of over $201 billion annually in U.S. economic activity. Regionally, the new analysis finds the following for Washington, Oregon and Idaho:
Total NF-Generated Jobs
Total NF-Generated Econ Activity
Emil Parker, Director at Avalere Health, the lead author of the analysis, said nursing facilities across Washington and the region are responding to the cumulative funding squeeze in a variety of ways, including submitting late payments to vendors and being forced to delay facility improvements and maintenance: “Given that the average age of nursing home facilities in the United States is 29 years, delays in maintenance may negatively affect residents’ quality of life. In addition, if nursing facility physical plants cannot be maintained adequately and the sector’s capacity declines as a result, some patients may have to spend more time in higher-cost acute care hospitals because of delays in transfers to nursing facilities,” he said.
Nursing facilities are the dominant provider of Medicare post-acute care services, treating 50 percent of all Medicare beneficiaries who are discharged from hospitals to post-acute care. The majority of patients are short-stay Medicare patients who are discharged from the hospital to the nursing facility, and need restorative and recuperative care before returning to home and their community. Over the past two years, the nursing facility sector – through both federal regulatory and budgetary actions – has already absorbed nearly $30 billion nationally in Medicare cuts over ten years.
To View Complete Study, and to Learn More About the Significance of the Nursing Facility Sector to Washington’s Economy, and its Dominant Role in Post-Acute Care, go to www.aqnhc.org.
Alliance for Quality Nursing Home Care
Rebecca Reid, 410-212-3843
KEYWORDS: United States North America Idaho Oregon Washington
INDUSTRY KEYWORDS: Health Public Policy/Government Healthcare Reform Congressional News/Views Public Policy Nursing Managed Care