New Ohio Media Reports of 2800 Lost Nursing Home Jobs Due to State-Federal Funding Squeeze Raises Fear Ohio Seniors' Care Being

Alliance for Quality Nursing Home Care Urges Ohio Congressional Delegation to Consider 3 Year Phase-in of New Federal Regulation to Protect Ohio Seniors' Care, Preserve Ohio Caregiver Jobs

COLUMBUS, Ohio, Nov. 29, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Reacting to new news reports today from Gannett News Service that 2800 jobs have been lost in 333 nursing homes throughout Ohio due to a growing Medicaid and Medicare funding squeeze, a key national long term and post acute care advocacy group said additional job losses and a growing threat to seniors' care can be significantly alleviated if a damaging 11.1 percent Medicare funding reduction that went into effect on October 1, 2011 is, instead, phased-in over a three year period. The reporting is based on a survey of facilities by the Ohio Health Care Association (OHCA) and the Academy of Senior Health Sciences.

The new federal regulation reduced Ohio Medicare funding by $275.1 million for FY 2012, according to a recent Avalere Health analysis – the sixth highest reduction on a national basis.

"Combined with state Medicaid funding reductions in Columbus, recent reductions from Washington in federal Medicare payments for nursing homes took too much out of the funding system too fast," stated Alan G. Rosenbloom, President of the Alliance for Quality Nursing Home Care, a coalition of 12 leading post-acute and long term care organizations providing SNF care in approximately 1,400 facilities in 44 states nationwide, including Ohio. "States such as Ohio and Florida – where state Medicaid funding for nursing homes has already been reduced – are clearly experiencing significant facility instability to the detriment of patient care and local jobs. We are especially alarmed by the fact approximately 80 percent of the dismissed workers provided direct care to residents' according to the news reports."

Continued Rosenbloom: "A gradual phase-in of the federal regulation – which has been done in the past for other provider sectors – can help alleviate what clearly appears to be a worsening problem. We respectfully urge the Ohio congressional delegation to pursue this phase-in of the 11.1 percent Medicare funding reduction, and would be pleased to work with lawmakers to help achieve this logical, fair and responsible policy recourse before Congress adjourns for the year."

A separate large-scale Avalere Health national survey of facilities finds the federal regulation -- to ostensibly correct a Medicare payment error -- actually went above and beyond the correction. The result of the 11.1 percent Medicare funding reduction was new Medicare cuts at a time patients, staff and facilities in Ohio and others states are already battling a wide array of federal and state funding pressures, and this is the rationale for a phase-in.

SOURCE Alliance for Quality Nursing Home Care