Editorial

More money coming, but still questions about Medicaid funding

Thursday, June 13, 2019

The problem is far from solved, but Nebraska nursing homes will get a little more funding for their residents on Medicaid.

A story elsewhere in this issue explains that the Department of Health and Human Services completed ďrebasingĒ that will increase the average per diem base rate for 202 to $190.51, up less than $11 from the previous rate.

Hillcrest Nursing Homeís management firm said the increase was appreciated, but argues that no business should be expected to continue to provide good service with less money each year ó 5% less than two years ago, according to a release.

Nebraska lawmakers responded to an the threat of continued nursing home closings by providing more money, but the agency in control is not strictly bound to apply the money to nursing homes.

An Associated Press story this morning points out one of the reasons adequate funding is so important.

Federal Health and Human Services auditors looked at cases where a nursing home resident was taken directly to a hospital emergency room and determined that in 2016, more than 6,000 cases potentially involved neglect or abuse that was not reported. Reporting of such cases is mandatory.

In a copy of the HHS inspector generalís report, about 18% of 37,600 episodes raised red flags.

Itís easy to see how financial pressures would make it tempting to look the other way when itís time to decide whether an incident qualifies as abuse or neglect. The paperwork and processes required take time and money that should be used to provide care.

It takes a special person to care for the elderly and disabled, and in our experience, the vast majority deserve gold medals, not criticism for trying to do more with less.

Society is obligated to ensure nursing homes receive the funding they need to provide their residents the care they deserve.

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