Louisiana SNFs Have Extra Protection from Potential Medicaid Cuts

While skilled nursing providers across the U.S. fret over potentially big Medicaid cuts, Louisiana SNFs can breathe slightly easier.

That’s because nursing homes there are shielded against Medicaid budget cuts both by statutes and the state’s constitution, The Advocate of Baton Rouge, La. reported. Furthermore, Louisiana — which spent more than $1 billion on nursing homes this year — is actually required by law to boost spending rates every two years.

If Congress follows through with its plan to pass the Better Care Reconciliation Act and thereby slash Medicaid spending an estimated $772 billion in the years to come, rates for Louisiana’s nursing homes would still continue to increase under current law.

But the state has to pay for it all somehow. Instead of skilled nursing providers, it would likely be alternative senior services such as in-home and community-based care that would end up on the chopping block, The Advocate reports.

And that doesn’t mean Lousiana’s SNF operators are off the hook no matter what. If Medicaid spending gets the axe as proposed, state legislators would likely examine revoking some of the protections for nursing homes and other long-term care providers, Dr. Rebekah Gee, secretary of the Louisiana Department of Health, told The Advocate.

Unsurprisingly, many operators throughout the state have voiced concern over the potential cuts. The Louisiana Nursing Home Association’s executive director, Mark Berger, said the cuts would “threaten our ability to provide care to the residents we serve,” The Advocate reported.

And even though Louisiana might be more of an oasis for skilled nursing providers facing Medicaid cuts, the rest of the country would still be a desert.

California, which runs the largest Medicaid program in the U.S., would have to spend an extra $30 billion by 2027 to keep its current benefits as they are today, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. If the state can’t find the money, it would have to ask nursing homes and their residents and families to pitch in or come up with an alternative.

Written by Tim Regan

Photo Credit: “Louisiana State Capital” by Antrell Williams, under license CC BY-ND 2

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