The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Letters

June 26, 2014

Prioritize senior care

Over the past two weeks, Golden Living - Mansion in Sunbury sent more than 70 hand-written letters to local legislators urging them to make the care of the state’s frailest, sickest individuals a priority in the state budget. The letters were written by staff, residents, family members, volunteers, community leaders and others who relayed their personal stories as a way to showcase the importance of state funding for long-term care services.

State budgets should not be balanced on the backs of the frail elderly. The cost of senior care is rising. The level of care our residents require is more medically complex. Without increased Medicaid funding for our sickest residents, around-the-clock care for our poorest frail elderly may be out of reach. There is simply nowhere left for skilled nursing facilities to cut and still make ends meet.

Pennsylvania reimburses nursing facilities an average of $26 per resident per day — or $9,500 a year — less than the true cost of care. Unreimbursed Medicaid costs in Pennsylvania will exceed $470 million this fiscal year.

All health-care providers lose money on Medicaid patients, but none as much as skilled nursing facilities, whose Medicaid percentage is the largest among providers. Two-thirds of all residents in skilled nursing facilities in Pennsylvania rely on Medicaid.

All of us want our loved ones to receive the very best when they’re no longer able to live on their own and require the care only available through a nursing facility. We know legislators are facing some very tough decisions as they put together the state budget but we are begging them to increase funding for the care of our frailest, sickest and eldest loved ones in skilled nursing facilities so that we can continue to provide the quality of care and quality of life that they need and deserve.

Mark Monahan,

Executive Director,

Golden Living - Mansion

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