Legislators and Local Nursing Homes Join Forces to Address Financial Crisis

Entire health care delivery system under stress

Broome County, NY – Today, Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo invited Senator Lea Webb, nursing home officials, and residents from area nursing homes to address the financial crisis facing the industry. New York’s nursing home industry is dramatically underfunded, putting the entire health care delivery system under stress. Proposed cuts in the Governor’s budget of $600M to the long-term care sector, has only added to the urgency.

This underfunding has resulting in the closure of 75 facilities statewide over the last 10 years, 20 in the last 4 years alone. As a result, thousands of nursing home beds are offline, forcing hospitals to supplement care. This has negatively affected hospitals with long wait times for beds needed for patient transfer. Emergency rooms are also backed up and some ambulances have experienced long wait times in hospital parking lots.

The main cause of the funding shortfall is the Medicaid reimbursement rate, which is currently based on 2007 costs, despite the cost of care increasing dramatically since then. The state’s Medicaid funding gap is $741M Upstate and $898M Downstate. Medicaid rates will need to be adjusted to reflect current costs. And the neediest facilities will need emergency support to help them survive.

Since over 70% of nursing home residents in New York are covered by Medicaid, inadequate reimbursement rates have had devastating consequences for the whole industry. While the effects of underfunding are seen statewide, Upstate nursing homes have been particularly strained. The average loss per Upstate home was $2.1M per year.

To add to the financial stress, nursing home staff wages have increased as much as 50% between 2012 and 2022. Without adequate Medicaid funding to make up for these costs, staff recruitment and retention has also become increasingly difficult, further exacerbating the crisis that in some cases has affected the quality of care residents receive.

Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo said, “This is an all hands-on deck moment for New York’s nursing home industry. With many closing and thousands of beds off-line, we are also seeing direct negative impacts at area hospitals. Financial circumstances facing nursing homes are unsustainable and have been for a long time, with annual losses in the millions. It’s time to admit that we are in the midst of an emergency.  How hard can it be to acknowledge that the cost of providing nursing home care has increased much faster than the current Medicaid rate?”

Senator Lea Webb said, “New York’s nursing home industry is in crisis. They are experiencing closures and bed shortages which overburden our hospitals and create limited options for continued care for our most vulnerable residents. Labor costs have risen dramatically, as much as 50% in the past decade, making it difficult for nursing homes to recruit and retain staff. Seniors deserve quality health care. I am proud to join Assemblymember Lupardo to stand up for seniors and our nursing home industry by insisting on an increase in the Medicaid reimbursement rate so that nursing homes can operate more efficiently, recruit and retain staff, and ensure quality care for all of our seniors.”

Brian Picchini, President and CEO, United Methodist Homes said, “A Medicaid rate increase now is critical to ensure the sustainability of long-term care, enable staff recruitment, and thus improve access to quality care today and into the future.  It’s time to stand up for our most vulnerable! Our seniors deserve a reimbursement system that they can rely on which matches current costs of care.”

Jason Santiago, President and CEO, Good Shepherd Communities said, “We need serious and immediate investment the nursing home industry.  The entire healthcare system in NYS is feeling the effects of the inadequate Medicaid reimbursement system that 73% of nursing home seniors depend on.  Seniors that need access to a nursing home bed are being turned away because there are approximately 15,000 nursing home beds offline in the State of New York.”

Sheila Madigan, Resident, Hilltop Campus, said “Increasing Medicaid reimbursement is not just about numbers; it's about preserving the dignity and quality of life for seniors who have paved the way for the vibrant state we live in today. Many of us depend on the compassionate care and expertise of healthcare professionals. However, the current reimbursement rates are putting undue pressure on these facilities, jeopardizing the very essence of our well-being.”

Note: A social media campaign will be using the following hashtag to publicize this issue: #NursingHomeSOS