Funding for Nursing Home Care Not Being Adequately Addressed
Florida ranks among the Top 10 states with the most severe Medicaid shortfalls, according to an Eljay analysis of Medicaid funding for nursing home care released in October for the American Health Care Association (AHCA).
Nationwide, Medicaid budget shortfalls were projected to underfund the actual cost of long term care by $4.2 billion in 2008.
"Given the substantial gap between the cost to provide quality care and what Medicaid actually pays and the steeply rising pressure on state budgets, long term care providers and the seniors they care for have good reason to be fearful that imminent state budget cuts could threaten access to care," said AHCA CEO Bruce Yarwood, adding the report clearly demonstrates the urgent need for state Medicaid relief from Congress.
In Florida in 2006, the difference between the rate ($165.69) and cost ($179.43) was $13.74. In 2008, the numbers shifted from $174.26 (rate) to $186.45 (cost), narrowing the difference to $12.19.
According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Florida was listed among the states with the largest deficits as a percentage of fiscal year 2008 revenue. Florida was also among the 13 states that faced new shortfalls while state lawmakers were moving to close shortfalls in adopting 2009 budgets.
In Florida, Jan. 1, 2008 rates were reduced $1.75 per patient day in lieu of an expected inflationary increase that would have exceeded $3 per patient day. Then, in July, rates were increased on average only $1 per patient day, with no further increases budgeted for the next two fiscal years. Florida is one of eight states representing the largest Medicaid populations. To read more about Florida's response to the Medicaid shortfall crisis and how Medicaid is shortchanging actual costs nationwide, pick up the February 2009 issue of
Orlando Medical News.