Nursing homes in disbelief as governor proposes $280 million funding cut

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Photo by Hans Gutknecht/MediaNews Group/Los Angeles Daily News via Getty Images

California skilled nursing providers are calling on Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) and his administration to come up with a new funding plan for SNFs after he proposed a $280 million cut in base pay in a bid to reform his financing system.

“It is amazing that the state government is choosing to reduce investment in skilled nursing facilities that provide care for its most vulnerable residents,” said Craig Cornett, president and CEO of the California Association. of Health Facilities, in a editorial published Tuesday by CalMatters.

Newsom first unveiled his 2022-23 state budget proposal in January, which includes a proposal to reform SNF funding from its current framework from a “primarily cost-based methodology to one that incentivizes value and quality”.

“The intent of these reforms is to further enable nursing facilities to invest in quality and patient care while ensuring the long-term financial viability of these essential Medi-Cal providers,” the budget said. . document States.

In mid-May, the governor provided additional details on reform plans and offered $280 million for the new Workforce and Quality Incentive Program for payment to facilities that meet quality criteria or make substantial improvements.

“A long-term funding framework that ensures the long-term financial viability of these essential Medi-Cal providers hinges on the ability of nursing facilities to invest in quality patient care, improve retention of the workforce and give more weight to essential health workers. and the safety of nursing home residents,” the document states.

The state budget is also expected to experience unprecedented growth $97 billion surplus this year once passed by lawmakers later this summer.

“If the budget proposal passes, skilled nursing facility owners would be faced with the last option they would want to consider – cutting wages during an unprecedented labor shortage,” Cornett noted.

He said the budget proposal included new “well-intentioned” quality incentive schemes, but operators could not pay base salaries based on “potential incentive bonuses”. He warned that cutting funding for the program would likely lead to lower wages, fewer beds for residents and facility closures.

He also suggested that Newsom work with suppliers to develop an alternative financing proposal that “will protect the base [pay for SNFs]support operators and [their] employees in this inflationary environment and preserve access to skilled nursing care.

“After two years of paying for increased COVID-19 protections, dealing with double-digit inflation and offering higher wages to our healthcare workers, the state’s proposed funding cuts would be a devastating blow to these facilities, their patients and their staff,” he said.

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