HFAM Outlines Three Long-Term Care Principles for Deficit Reduction Committee

Maryland long-term and post-acute care providers commend Congressman Van Hollen on appointment to Super Committee

COLUMBIA, Md., Aug. 25, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Health Facilities Association of Maryland (HFAM) today called on Congressman Chris Van Hollen (MD-8) to stand against any additional cuts to skilled nursing facilities and the Americans they care for as the Representative begins his role on the newly-formed Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction.

"Marylanders are fortunate that Congressman Van Hollen has been tapped to serve on this critical committee," said Joseph DeMattos, president of HFAM. "We will continue to work with the Congressman and others on common sense solutions that do not risk access to care and that will spur much needed job growth."

In advance of the panel's first meeting that must take place by September 16, HFAM outlined three principles the Committee should keep in mind when examining funding areas.

  1. A vast majority of skilled nursing and rehabilitation center residents rely on Medicaid or Medicare for their long-term and rehabilitative care. With 78 percent of nursing center residents relying on Medicaid or Medicare for their care, threatening to cut these programs means threatening to cut individuals' access to care. Specifically, Medicaid, which serves vulnerable seniors and persons with disabilities, is already considerably underfunded, as the program fell $5.6 billion short in skilled nursing care nationwide last year. Further cuts to these health care programs would dramatically impact those facilities that serve the frail, elderly and most vulnerable.
  2. Skilled nursing facilities have an impending responsibility to serve our nation's growing senior population. This year marks the first time Baby Boomers will turn 65. By 2020, Maryland's elderly population will grow by 136 percent, and a majority of these seniors will require long-term and rehabilitative care services at some point during their golden years. If our nation's lawmakers continue to reduce critical funding to skilled nursing facilities, the provider community will not be able to build additional facilities or improve current ones to help prepare for this emerging demographic.
  3. Long-term and post-acute care providers are a critical force in our economic recovery. While many other sectors are struggling to stay afloat during this Great Recession, long-term care facilities have actually created jobs. In Maryland, these nursing and rehabilitation centers provide more than 71,000 jobs, create $4.5 billion in economic activity, and generate $417.9 million in tax revenue. Additional cuts may result in halting the economic progress they bring to local communities.

"We recognize the difficult decisions that lie ahead for Rep. Van Hollen and all of the members of the Deficit Reduction Committee, but we remain hopeful these leaders will find responsible solutions that do not undermine the important role nursing facilities play," continued DeMattos. "HFAM members will double our efforts to be part of solutions that create jobs, ignite growth in the private sector, reduce federal spending while not transferring costs to the states and taxpayers, and protect and maintain the high quality care of Marylanders most in need."

The Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction was created as part of the Debt Increase Compromise bill passed earlier this month. The committee is charged with recommending ways to reduce the federal deficit by November 23. If the committee fails to make recommendations, or if its proposals are not enacted, the government will automatically cut spending across the board, including a two percent cut to Medicare providers, many of which are skilled nursing and rehabilitation centers.  

The other members of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction include Senators Jon Kyl (R-AZ), Pat Toomey (R-PA), Rob Portman (R-OH), Patty Murray (D-WA), John Kerry (D-MA), Max Baucus (D-MT) and Representatives Jeb Hensarling (R-TX), Dave Camp (R-MI), Fred Upton (R-MI), Jim Clyburn (D-SC) and Xavier Becerra (D-CA).

Health Facilities Association of Maryland is a voluntary provider community association, chartered in 1948 as the Maryland Nursing Home Association. It is the oldest and largest long-term care association representing skilled nursing, sub-acute facilities, and assisted living programs in Maryland.  HFAM has 150 member organizations, including non-profits, serving more than 19,000 Maryland consumers in need of long-term care.  HFAM member organizations employ more than 18,000 people in Maryland. For more information, visit www.hfam.org.

SOURCE The Health Facilities Association of Maryland