Hospital & Healthcare Management/ Press Release/Jan. 21, 2011 — Texas House budget leaders announced plans to slash the state budget designed to care for frail elderly Texans. Proposed plans cut the overall Medicaid budget for nursing home residents by 34 percent. The announcement was made in response to a state budget that is in a $27 billion shortfall. Faced with this announcement, Texas non-profit nursing homes relying on Medicaid will be forced to close their operations. "Organizations that have provided benevolent care for almost 100 years in Texas are going to close their doors to caring for our most frail elderly in the state," said George Linial, President of the Texas Association of Homes and Services for the Aging. "This is a travesty for the people of Texas and the elderly, families, and communities that expect us to be there when they need quality care," said Linial.
The cuts were announced in a House public hearing regarding the state’s budget outlook. "Texas remains at the bottom of the nation’s reimbursement for elderly Medicaid recipients," stated George Linial. "These cuts will be the death blow to Medicaid providers in Texas."
The proposed 34 percent reduction will have a ripple effect economically as well. Thousands of health care jobs will be lost. Seniors paying for health care services will see their costs skyrocket to an unprecedented level, and communities will lose stable and long-time employers. Currently, the state provides elderly Texans with less than $125 per day for costs related to nursing home care.
"These cuts risk the health and safety of our frail elderly in Texas," said Linial. "I am fearful for the consequences these cuts will have on our vulnerable and frail senior Texans."
Texas’ faith and community-based organizations have been leaders in establishing high levels of quality. Their commitment to staffing requires a reliance on charitable contributions. A recent study conducted by the Texas Association of Homes and Services for the Aging found that those endowments and contributions are down almost 20 percent in the past three years. A national study found that during the past year non-profit providers have experienced financial losses in their operations.
"Texas and the citizens of our state deserve better," said Linial. "Our faith and community-based providers have been working for several years with shrinking budgets and increasing needs," Linial said. These proposed cuts will close the doors to these operations in Texas. It is a tragedy that can only be avoided by lawmakers immediately revising this budget item and taking the lives of our frail elderly into account.
The Texas Association of Homes and Services for the Aging is a membership organization comprised of over 200 not-for-profit faith and community based organizations. Its sole mission is to serve the elderly in Texas.
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