Veto of some cash to help Nebraska nursing homes raises fears of further closings

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“This funding is literally a Nebraska elder’s home”

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – After Gov. Pete Ricketts vetoed some of the money that would go towards raising provider rates at nursing homes and assisted living facilities, many are wondering how many more establishments will close.

State Sen. John Stinner, chairman of the Nebraska Legislature Appropriations Committee, said Tuesday that he was “not only disappointed, but quite angry, frankly.”

He said lawmakers had “spent a lot of time” on the issue.

Of the $51.8 million cut, about half was to increase provider rates for nursing homes and assisted living facilities. The rest included increases for child protection and behavioral health service providers.

“It is important that we strike the right balance between calibrating government spending and returning excess revenue to the people,” Ricketts wrote to state senators on Monday. “This is how we manage taxpayers’ money responsibly. With this in mind, I have chosen to veto certain spending items that will allow tax relief to succeed.

He said the vetoes would cut government spending growth in the next fiscal year from 5.9% to 4.8% and there would still be enough money for 5% increases in utility tariffs. suppliers.

But the veto is of great concern that more older people will have to pack up and move.

“This funding is literally a Nebraska senior’s home,” said Jalene Carpenter, president and CEO of the Nebraska Health Care Association. “Without this funding, you’re going to continue to see more facilities close and more Nebraska seniors displaced from their communities.”

A provider rate is what the state pays to facilities for Medicaid patients living there.

“Over 55% of nursing home residents receive Medicaid, so this is really significant funding,” Carpenter said.

While some establishments are closing their doors, others are trying to absorb displaced people, but beds are not always available.

“If we continue this cycle of shutdowns, you’re going to see people without the ability to find care, not just where they need it, but just to access it, period,” Carpenter said.

Senators will have the ability to override the governor’s veto, but will need at least 30 votes to do so.

Stinner thinks the vote could take place on Thursday.

He said the committee voted unanimously to move the waiver forward on Tuesday.

“We’ll be ready to pick that up when the speaker schedules it,” he said.

There are only 7 days left in this legislative session.

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