Healthcare Union, Nursing Home Providers, Join Lawmakers, Community Members, Others to Oppose Medicaid Funding Cuts

November 5, 2019

Contact: Mindy Berman, and (518) 229-0486

Colin Wolfgang, and (973) 303-2738

Healthcare Union, Nursing Home Providers, Join Lawmakers, Community Members, Others to Oppose Medicaid Funding Cuts

Coalition Calls for Reversal of Decision That Would Slash $250 Million from Nursing Homes Across New York State

Albany, New York – America’s largest healthcare union, 1199SEIU, joined leaders from the nursing home industry, local lawmakers, and faith-based community members, today to call on New York State to reverse their decision that would amount to $250 million in cuts to nursing homes.

The Medicaid funding cut, which will take effect November 6th, would affect more than 600 nursing homes and more than 100,000 nursing home residents. It would also create job losses and potentially force nursing homes to close entirely.

“It is not news that short-staffing is already a major problem at nursing homes, everywhere,” said Crystal Perry, a veteran nursing home worker, an LPN at Glendale Nursing Home in Schenectady, New York, and member of 1199. A few weeks ago there weren’t enough CNAs or LPNs on the floor when a resident fell. To add insult to injury, we all had to leave the residents we were with and address the emergency situation. How will our nursing home be able to sustain any more cuts? It is clear who suffers. Slashing funding will impact quality care for the people who need it most, frail and elderly nursing home residents”

Dan Heim, Executive Vice President President of LeadingAge NY, an association representing more than 500 not-for-profit nursing homes and providers serving more than 500,000 New Yorkers said: “With the stroke of a pen, the state has unilaterally and retroactively ignored the needs of thousands of vulnerable New Yorkers and imposed an annualized cut of $352 million on its nursing home rates to providers. A cut of this magnitude will directly jeopardize access to quality resident care.”

“As the Chair of the Senate Health Committee, I navigated negotiations about the cuts facing our nursing homes and had full faith that the workgroup would be able to make recommendations based on expertise that could help the industry continue to serve

effectively,” said Senate Health Committee Chair Gustavo Rivera. “The workgroup’s recommendations raised alarms about the magnitude of the retroactive cut and I know the final cuts are devastating. I continue to be committed to protecting our most vulnerable New Yorkers, like those in our nursing homes and the people who work for them.”

“It is essential that the Department protect vulnerable safety net providers, particularly among the non-profit and county-run facilities,” said Assembly Health Committee Chair Richard N. Gottfried. “It will do us no good to achieve budget score-card savings if we endanger the safety and care of our elderly in the process. A decent society provides what is needed when it is needed. We need our nursing homes to be safe, well regulated, and adequately funded to meet this obligation.”

“From providing safe, accessible living spaces to round-the-clock medical care, nursing homes and assisted living facilities are critical to families and loved ones in our community,” said Assembly Member Angelo Santabarbara. “I stand with SEIU 1199 in opposing the harmful cuts to these facilities being considered by the New York State Department of Health—cuts which would have a devastating impact on these already short-staffed facilities, taking away from the quality of care and forcing some to close their doors all together.”

“I oppose the New York State Department of Health’s methodology change to CMI adjustments,” said Senator Neil Breslin. “The subsequent quarter-billion dollar cut statewide would force the sale or close of many quality nursing homes and threaten the care of thousands of nursing home residents.”

Assembly Member Fahy was also present.

A coalition of nursing home organizations have filed a lawsuit against the New York State Department of Health (DOH) alleging the funding cuts violate federal and state laws, and pose an immediate threat to nursing home residents and employees.