Funding Care for Seniors Who Are Unable to Care for Themselves

By Eddie Parades

Senior Vice President, Governmental Relations StoneGate Senior Living 

On March 24, the proposed American Health Care Act collapsed in Washington, D.C. and we at StoneGate Senior Living and other long-term care providers consider that a win! The Medicaid component of the legislation was extremely detrimental and concerning as one of the largest proposed change to Medicaid in fifty years. The collapse eliminates a potentially dangerous impact to nursing homes and those who need long-term Medicaid-funded care.

But, our fight isn’t over.

We need help in Texas to continue providing quality care to our seniors. The operators of senior living communities and long-term care providers are now operating with a $20 loss per day between the care we provide Medicaid patients and the funding we receive to provide that care.

On Monday, March 27, I testified before the state’s Health and Human Services Committee about Senate Bill 1130, also known as the Nursing Facility Reinvestment Allowance (NFRA). It means providers in Texas, like StoneGate Senior Living, will each pay a fee based on 6% of their revenue. That money will then go into a state trust to fund higher salaries for nursing assistants, customer service employees, and enhance services.

As the Reimbursement Committee Chairman for the Texas Health Care Association and Senior Vice President of Governmental Relations for StoneGate Senior Living, I testified in support of this legislation. It became the purpose of the Texas Health Care Association to find a way to resolve that $20 gap at no cost to the state or to taxpayers.

We reviewed 33 of the 44 other states that have implemented a solution to resolve their Medicaid care payment gap. The model adopted by the state of Missouri makes the most sense financially, operationally, and logistically for our Texas-sized needs without financial harm to any nursing facility in the state or rate increase for taxpayers.

I have proudly been serving the Senior Health Care community for 32 years. I know the personal stories of the rewarding joys and the painful losses that come with providing care to those who are unable to care for themselves. I look forward to the passage of SB 1130 so that we may continue to provide quality care and enhance our services in the coming years.

You can follow the legislation as it is considered in Austin here.