ALBANY – After participating in the New York State Senate hearing on the staffing challenges facing the nursing home, assisted living and home care industries, Senator George Borrello, a member of the Senate Aging Committee, issued the following statement:
“Today’s hearing on the workforce challenges facing nursing home and long-term care facilities focused a needed spotlight on a staffing crisis that threatens the quality of care provided to our elderly and most vulnerable residents.
“New York State spends more per capita on Medicaid than any other state, but continues to cut its reimbursement rate for nursing homes and long-term care facilities, leaving them financially strapped and unable to increase wages for those who care for residents.
“Meanwhile, the state has expanded Medicaid eligibility, offers the most generous benefits in the nation, and has failed to reform wasteful parts of the program that are needlessly draining taxpayer dollars, such as Non-Emergency Medical Transportation (NEMT).
“NEMT was determined by last year’s Medicaid Reform Team (MRT II) to be extremely inefficient, costly and greatly in need of reform. Detailed plans to overhaul NEMT to incentivize more cost efficient forms of transportation were outlined and announced.
“However, the reform plan and the accompanying RFP to secure a transportation broker to implement the new system are stalled. We are continuing to pay taxi drivers hundreds of dollars per trip in rural parts of the state like mine, to take one person to a doctor’s appointment. The waste is staggering.
“The workforce crisis we heard about today is one tragic consequence of our state's Medicaid failures. New Yorkers deserve better.”