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Letter: Meager Medicaid rates put nursing homes under stress

I represent LeadingAge New York, a statewide association of nonprofit and publicly sponsored senior care providers, including 34 located throughout Western New York.

The Buffalo News series, Inside WNY’s Nursing Homes, pointed to a number of issues that are very real as our population ages – a growing trend of out-of-town nursing home ownership and the fact that some New Yorkers fail to adequately prepare for their long-term care needs; while others’ resources are stretched to their limits, leaving them to rely upon state and federal support to pay for their long-term care.

One of the greatest challenges facing providers stems from a Medicaid reimbursement rate that hasn’t increased in 10 years and is insufficient to meet escalating costs. Medicaid pays 20 percent less than the actual costs of care, providers struggle to attract and retain a qualified workforce that has alternative employment options offering similar pay for less demanding responsibilities. Unfortunately, inadequate reimbursement and other challenges have forced several nonprofit organizations and local governments to sell or close their nursing homes.

No one should have to tolerate poor care such as the cases featured in the series. Our representatives in Albany and Washington need to provide the necessary resources that will improve the critical care needs of our most fragile seniors.

Dan Heim

Executive vice president,

LeadingAge New York, Latham

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