Nursing Facilities Facing Impending Crisis

The health care crisis in America isn’t ignoring skilled nursing homes. Rising healthcare costs and continued reductions in Medicaid reimbursements are taking their toll on the industry. On October 1st of 2012 an 11.1% reduction in federal Medicare reimbursements are making the feel an even greater pinch.

This means some facilities will be forced to close while others will have to find other ways to secure funding.

What’s Behind The Crisis?

  • The huge surge in the baby boomer population that now requires the care of a skilled nursing facility.alzheimers-patient-care
  • The financial crisis of the past few years had meant reduced home values so less money for the elderly to finance their care.
  • People are living longer so their funds may run out long before they still need them.
  • The gap between the cost of a nursing home and what they receive from Medicaid and Medicare is widening and this is becoming unbearable for many facilities. Moving that increased cost onto private payers is becoming less of an option as private payers won’t be able to meet the higher costs either.

Reducing staff or other cost cutting measures don’t have much of an impact on financial health, but they do have a drastic effect on patient care. Overworked caregivers are also much more likely to leave sooner and the continued turnover greatly reduces efficiency which leads to even more money lost.

A survey by the Alliance for Quality Nursing Home Care shows the recent Medicare reimbursement reduction will result in at least 20,000 potential job layoffs and prevent the creation of another 20,000 new jobs in skilled care nursing facilities nationwide.

This will mean longer waiting lists as facilities close or patient intake is reduced due to lack of staff and loss of revenue. So patients may be in poorer health when they finally gain a place and this also drives up the cost of their care. The growing number of Alzheimer’s and dementia patients will also have an effect as they will require more specialized attention.

This continued spiral needs to be addressed from numerous fronts to stave off an even bigger health care crisis as more and more aging baby boomers require more care than friends and family can provide. 

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