Archive for Thursday, February 25, 2010

Medicalodges, Eudora fearful of additional cuts to Medicaid

February 25, 2010

About two weeks ago, Medicalodges, Eudora served residents and their families a free Valentine’s Day dinner.

However, cuts to Medicaid could cause the skilled nursing facility to do away with such activities which help to deinstitutionalize.

“You don’t invite your family to the meal and then charge them,” said Donna Fox, facility administrator. “We don’t want to have to think in those terms.”

Medicaid is the federal and state tax-funded program that provides health care to low-income residents. About 315,000 Kansans receive medical care, mental health care and long-term care under Medicaid.

In the last fiscal year, the program cost approximately $2.3 billion in Kansas.

As of Jan. 1, the state cut Medicaid funding by 10 percent in an effort to shore up the budget deficit, which currently is $400 million.

Medicaid funds about 50 percent of the residents at Medicalodges, though that number can fluctuate.

The cuts cause the facility to pay closer attention to prospective residents because caring for them could be cost prohibitive.

“It’s always been a possibility that a facility would look at an individual and say, ‘We’re going to lose money, we cannot afford to take this individual’” said Susie Pryor, who heads up community relations for Medicalodges, Eudora. “This makes that pool much larger.”

With its 75 employees, Medicalodges also is the second largest employer in Eudora.

If resident numbers decrease, so could staff.

The facility stands to annually lose about $175,000, while its parent company and its 23 locations could lose a total of $4.5 million.

Though additional cuts to Medicaid are a possibility, the facility is holding out hope that the state Legislature will pass the Quality Care Assessment fund.

The fund, which has been enacted in 36 other states, allows facilities to pay a certain amount of money per bed to the state who would then send the money to the federal government.

The federal government would reimburse the amount by a measure of

2-to-1.

Rep. Anthony Brown, who represents Eudora, was unavailable for comment on the proposal.

— Scott Rothschild contributed to this story.

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