Nursing homes confused about drug benefit

Dec. 20, 2005 at 3:17 AM
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WASHINGTON, Dec. 20 (UPI) -- U.S. nursing homes are trying to determine how Medicare benefits on prescription drugs affect their residents.

About two-thirds of the country's 1.5 million nursing home residents receive benefits from both Medicaid and Medicare, the New York Times reported. Those people have been randomly assigned to private drug plans.

"We see a lot of confusion and a very steep learning curve for nursing home residents and employees," said Becky Kurtz, ombudswoman for nursing home residents in Georgia. "Many residents are not covered for all their medications under the plan to which they have been assigned."

Kurtz said that under Medicaid most prescriptions were taken care of. Nursing home residents take an average of eight to nine medications a day.

The Bush administration says that Medicaid recipients are being notified that prescriptions will no longer be covered starting in January.

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