Letter to the Editor

Nursing homes threatened by financial crisis volcano

Monday, April 8, 2019

Dear Editor,

All nursing homes in Nebraska and the United States of America have been facing a financial crisis compared to a volcano that silently smolders underground until it erupts. Many care facilities have closed in the last few years.

Some were for obvious reasons, but now the survivors are facing increasing regulations and tightening of funds. There is a financial crisis for the surviving care facilities. This week a community crisis committee gathered at Hillcrest, and plans and actions are forthcoming to help prevent more closings of area nursing homes.

That crisis can be solved if all state Legislature representatives take action to stop the political-financial game and stop reducing the amount of payments to care facilities.

The present magic formula now used pays facilities considerably below actual daily cost of operation. The amount is estimated at over $50 per day for every Medicaid patient.

There are four Legislative Bills still in committee that help solve the problem:

-- LB181 would impose a moratorium on changes to long-term care.

--LB403 would stop the State from using negative inflation

--LB404 would assign Medicaid funds for nursing homes in one bucket.

LB468 would delay managed care in nursing homes until 2021.

Yes, we have a crisis in senior health care. Ask your state representatives to vote for the future of your senior care facility.

It took three ghosts to correct Ebenezer Scrooge’s behavior. It will take your letters, visits and votes to correct the nursing home reimbursement problem.

Thanks for listing.

Don Harpst,

McCook, Neb.

— Harpst is a retired hospital and nursing home administrator. At 84, he still walks the halls of McCook’s Hillcrest Nursing Home doing errands for the foundation’s coordinator while also checking the flower beds for weeds.

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