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Medicaid cuts create nursing home crisis

  |   Aug. 14, 2012 at 1:30 AM
SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y., Aug. 14 (UPI) -- Saratoga County, N.Y., is grappling with a growing deficit at a needed public nursing home created by cuts in Medicaid made in Washington, officials say.

The Arthur Webb Group, hired to prepare a report on the public 277-bed nursing home in Ballston Spa told the county Public Health Committee Monday that the county cannot continue to support the facility without major changes to its operating model, tax increases or employee layoffs, the Albany-Times Union reported.

The report concluded the county needs a nursing home, but the financial model of Maplewood Manor would drain the county financially. Maplewood Manor, the report said, operates on an annual budget of $28 million, but the county has subsidized it with an additional $43.5 million since 2004, due mostly to declining Medicaid reimbursements from the state.

The nursing home faces estimated deficits of $9.8 million this year, $10 million in 2013 and $11 million in 2014, the study said.

The study, which cost $50,000, identified a need for 1,004 total nursing home beds in the county, or 215 more than currently offered, therefore closing Maplewood Manor would make matters worse.

Eighty-three percent of Maplewood Manor's beds are paid for via Medicaid, but the federal program does not cover about $157 a day for each recipient, Webb said.

To stop the financial hemorrhaging, the county would have to increase taxes by at least 20 percent or lay off 120 employees -- 35 percent of its workforce, the study said.

In most states, Medicaid pays for 60 percent of all nursing home residents. Since the recession, states have had a larger demand for Medicaid funding with more people who qualify and less state revenue, resulting in cuts in Medicaid.

A decision is scheduled for October, officials said.

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