Tuesday, August 10, 2010

House Passes FMAP Extension - Long Term Care Community Applauds

Washington, DC - Bruce Yarwood, President and CEO of FHCA's national affiliate, the American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL), and Alan Rosenbloom, President of the Alliance for Quality Nursing Home Care, issued the following statement today applauding House passage of an extension of the enhanced Medicaid Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP):

“The rare return of the House today speaks to the importance of protecting our nation’s seniors in nursing and assisted living facilities. More than anyone else, Speaker Pelosi understood the severity of the financial situation facing the states today and did the right thing for America’s frail and elderly.

“As soon as the bill becomes law, $16 billion in additional Medicaid funding will be in the hands of governors grappling with difficult state fiscal crises and many priorities. The individuals who rely on Medicaid for skilled nursing care have more medically-complex needs than ever before, and this immediate infusion of funds is vital to ensuring their needs can be met. This funding is critical to preserving resident choice and maintaining home-and community-based services options.

“We applaud the Congressional champions who took a stand and voted for this legislation – not just for taking the time to understand the complexities of the issue and the threat to seniors’ care – but also for actually doing something to address the problem.

“Our work is not done. In the coming weeks, AHCA, NCAL and the Alliance will now turn our efforts to the state houses, urging governors to remember those living in nursing and assisted living facilities, and the citizens who care for them every day. We urge the nation’s governors to do what is necessary, and do what is right, to safeguard those who have contributed so greatly to society and who now need our protection and care.”

Thursday, August 5, 2010

U.S. Senate Approves FMAP Extension

With the Senate approval today to extend emergency Medicaid relief (FMAP) until June 30, 2011, FHCA joined its national affiliate, the American Health Care Association (AHCA), and the Alliance for Quality Nursing Home Care in praising the vote and urging the House of Representatives to follow suit, saying the additional $16.1 billion in federal funding will help the nation’s most vulnerable seniors retain access to quality care, while protecting key frontline health jobs.

“We applaud the Senate for taking action to pass this vital Medicaid relief, and urge the House to follow in the same manner. Every day that passes without an extension of this funding, seniors’ care is placed in jeopardy, facility staffing stability is compromised, and good, local health jobs are put at risk,” said Bruce Yarwood, President and CEO of AHCA. “The time to act is now. Our governors have repeatedly expressed the desperate need for relief, and we ask Congress to act on this critical health care policy matter.”

“Senate passage of this legislation brings us one step closer to providing the vital funding needed to protect every senior’s access to the skilled nursing and rehabilitative care they require and deserve,” said Alan G. Rosenbloom, President of the Alliance. “We thank those Senators who took this stand for seniors and urge the House to follow with swift passage as well.”

Yarwood and Rosenbloom pointed out that adequate Medicaid funding is directly linked with skilled nursing care and local caregiver job stability throughout America. Without the extension of emergency Medicaid relief, pressure mounts on governors to further reduce Medicaid-financed care and services.

A strong bipartisan majority of governors are adamant about the need for immediate action, as the National Governors’ Association (NGA) recently noted, “Funding for FMAP is a particularly effective tool because it immediately allows Governors to eliminate planned budget cuts required to meet balanced budget requirements and continue services for those with the greatest need.”

“We urge state legislatures and governors to use this increased funding to ensure our nation’s seniors receive the funding necessary to provide high quality care as well as job stability for frontline caregivers,” concluded Yarwood and Rosenbloom.

This measure will now return to the House of Representatives, where it could be considered as early as September when Members return from the August work period.