Budget Restores Governor's Cuts For Area Nursing Homes

James L. Seward

April 02, 2008

Senator James L. Seward said today the 2008-09 health and mental hygiene state budget bill passed by the legislature today (S. 6808) includes restoring $85 million in state funds cut by the governor for nursing homes this year. The additional funds, known as "rebasing aid," will phased in over a two year period, resulting in a total restoration of $170 million for the state's nursing homes. The state budget also includes an additional $15 million for nursing home recruitment and retention activities.

"The governor cut funding in his budget that was set aside and agreed upon last year to increase Medicaid reimbursements to nursing homes that accept Medicaid patients," Seward said. "The budget bill we passed today keeps that commitment so local nursing homes aren't financially damaged by accepting Medicaid patients, and makes important reforms to make our health care system more cost-efficient and effective. By reorganizing the governor's budget and chopping expenses in the state bureaucracy, we were able to address health care needs."

"Rebasing" refers to the updating of Medicaid fees paid to nursing homes to account for inflation. The 2005-06 enacted budget provided for adjusting Medicaid reimbursement from 1981 costs to 2005 costs. The former governor’s executive budget proposal failed to honor the rebasing commitment made by the state as part of the 2005-06 enacted budget by eliminating $85 million for the nursing home industry. The bill restores $35.9 million for hospital inpatient services and enacts an alternative proposal that would -- over the course of a four year period -- shift Medicaid dollars from hospital inpatient services to more cost-effective outpatient settings.

Seward said restorations for specific long term care facilities, for both rebasing and recruitment and retention activities, are as follows:

Otsego County

Otsego Manor (Cooperstown) $435,000

Oneonta Nursing and Rehab Center (Oneonta) $29,000

Aurelia Osborn Fox Memorial Hospital Nursing Home (Oneonta) $34,000

Herkimer County

Folts Home (Herkimer) $251,000

Mohawk Valley Nursing Home (Ilion) $280,000

Van Allen Nursing Home (Little Falls) $115,000

Valley Health Services (Herkimer) $297,000

Little Falls Hospital Skilled Nursing Facility (Little Falls) $102,000

Tompkins County

Groton Community Health Care Center Residential Care Facility (Groton) $124,000

Cortland County

Cortland Care Center (Cortland) $235,000

Cortland Regional Medical Center Nursing Facility (Cortland) $340,000

Northwoods Rehabilitation and Extended Care Facility (Cortland) $319,000

Greene County

Eden Park Health Care Center (Catskill) $65,000

Kaaterskill Care Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation (Catskill) $227,000

Other highlights of the 2008-09 health and mental health budget legislation include:

> Rejects the HMO premium tax proposed by the governor;

> Invests $56 million in outpatient and ambulatory care;

> Includes $34.2 million for public health initiatives; and

> Expands the state’s children’s health insurance program from 250 percent to 400 percent of the federal poverty level, ensuring all uninsured children have access to quality, affordable care.