Brad Cheek

Hillcrest Views

Brad Cheek is administrator of Hillcrest Nursing Home.

Letter to the Editor

No time to bob-and-weave on Medicaid crisis

Friday, April 12, 2019

We cannot afford to bob and weave when it comes to the Medicaid Crisis happening in Nebraska. Without change it will just keep getting worse, and closures will happen. Legislative Bills have been created, committees have been formed, and Nebraskan’s have been and are continuing to be educated on Medicaid Crisis.

I do know that for McCook, Nebraska, Hillcrest is right in the thick of dealing with the severe shortage of reimbursement that has created the Medicaid Crisis. I challenge anyone to agree to accept a 10% cut to your income or business based on 2 years ago numbers; not current numbers. That is exactly what is happening to Long Term Care or Nursing Homes throughout Nebraska. We are not talking about a 10% cut overall but for every Medicaid resident in our facilities based on two years ago numbers. That translates into anywhere between $35 per day per resident if you’re lucky, where most of us are dealing with $50 to $70 per day per resident. To make it a little worse that forces facilities to raise rates to other sources of their revenue. I am wondering if we asked all of the vender sources that provide needed items for our dear residents to drop all of their costs to us 10% on two year ago numbers what they might say to us?

This Medicaid Crisis is an issue that cannot be ignored by anyone. There is not one person at Hillcrest or any nursing home that their future plan was to have to come to a nursing home.

Life takes us down all kinds of avenues whether we are prepared for them or not. Hillcrest in a necessary reaction to the Medicaid Crisis has had to look very carefully at our census mix of payer sources as no business or household can operate at a negative factor month after month.

It truly breaks our heart when we have to inform a local McCook person that has lived here in some cases for generations we cannot accept your admission. In the future if things are not fixed with reimbursements a placement might be many miles away from your community, and friends or not at all.

Please do not be fooled that “it will never happen to me or mine” as I mentioned before, no one here thought life would take them down this avenue.

Nebraska Government along with DHHS should be required to fix this Medicaid Crisis before one more person that needs this type of service is told NO! The bobbing and weaving around this vital issue hiding behind a “fuzzy” methodology of math that truly hurts the frailest Nebraskans is just not right. These are Nebraskans that helped build this state and this is their reward?

To all of those individuals, the local hospital, clinic, and businesses that have jumped in to champion the rally call to correct this Medicaid Crisis need to be saluted. We are asking everyone in McCook and Nebraska to get involved in this very important issue. Make calls, write letters, talk to others about the Medicaid Crisis; as is said it could be you that needs this service in the future.

There is a FREE town hall meeting scheduled April 24, at 7 p.m. at the Fox Theater. Supporters will have a sample letter that can be mailed to District 44 Sen. Dan Hughes, P.O. Box 94694, Lincoln, NE 68509.

Please come to the theater and get informed as the deadline focus is before June 6th, 2019. Help our elders, and unknown future residents by getting involved in this important topic.

The bills before the Legislature are:

LB181 — Imposes a moratorium on changes to long term care.

LB403 — Stops the state from using negative inflation.

LB404 — Assigns Medicaid funds for nursing homes.

LB468 — Delays the implementation of "managed care" in nursing homes until 2021. For more information, contact Brad Cheek at (702) 267-7062 or Hillcrest (308) 345 4600; or Jacque Riener (308) 340-0063.

Email campaign planned

They are also encouraging contact by email with senators on the legislature's Appropriations and Health/Human Services committees:

Sen. John Arch, jarch@leg.ne.gov; Kate Bolz, kbolz@leg.ne.gov; Machaela Cavanaugh, mcavanaugh@leg.ne.gov;

Robert Clements, rclements@leg.ne.gov; Myron Dorn, mdorn@leg.ne.gov; Steve Erdman, serdman@leg.ne.gov; Ben Hansen, bhansen@leg.ne.gov; Robert Hilkemann, rhilkemann@leg.ne.gov; DaveMurman, dmurman@leg.ne.gov; Tony Vargas, tvargas@leg.ne.gov; Lynne Walz, lwalz@leg.ne.gov; and Anna Wishart, awishart@leg.ne.gov.

Brad Cheek is administrator of Hillcrest Nursing home, Hidden Pines Assisted Living and Little Folk Childcare

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