Letter to the Editor

A women's issue

Friday, April 19, 2019

Dear Editor,

Who will care from me when I am too old to care for myself, when I need skilled nursing care?

The current Medicaid crisis in payments to Nebraska nursing homes may cause there to be no care home for me. The local facilities may be forced to close due to shortfalls of $35 to $50 per day in payments for Medicaid patients. Seventy percent of those 65 and older will need some type of long-term care. Women tend to need care for 3.7 years, men for 2.2 years. My husband is 8 years older than I am. There is a chance I could be on my own for 15 years, due to the difference in life expectancy.

If the local Nebraska nursing homes close, where will I go for care? I believe I will be a "private pay" patient. I will be able to pay for my care.

But I understand that the skilled care facilities may fail and close their doors permanently due to inadequate compensation for Medicaid patients.

Our local facility, Hillcrest Caring Center, cares for about 85 elderly residents. The facility employs 150 to 160 local residents.

Our community has supported the facility for 56 years. The facility has been successful in managing a budget with a mix of Medicaid, Veteran, Insured, and "private pay" clients.

In the last 4 years, the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services has managed and calculated Medicaid payments so that we are now in a CRISIS. Hillcrest Caring Center cannot keep raising the rates for "private pay" clients to make up the deficit for Medicaid patients.

Wake up! We need our voices to be heard.

We want skilled care facilities in our communities. Medicaid payments in Nebraska need to cover the cost of caring for patients. This is a women's issue.

This is a people issue. Please come to a free Community Meeting at the Fox Theatre on Wednesday, April 24th at 7:00 p.m. Speakers will tell you how we got to this situation.

They will tell you what you can do to help.

Thank you for listening.

Jacque Riener

McCook, Nebraska

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