13.6% Medicaid Push For Washington Nursing Homes For 2 Years

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The Washington state lawmakers have gone on to increase the Medicaid funding when it comes to nursing homes by 13.6% for the next two years; however, the advocates say that additional resources may not end up fully recovering the care cost.

Legislators have gone on to include $107 million as far as long-term care providers are concerned for two years, with a $69.9 billion budget aimed at elevating the rates for workers as well as providers. The Washington Health Care Association confirmed that although it is a welcome surge, it will be able to cover only 79% of the care cost, thereby leaving quite a considerable amount of a gap for the carers to fill. At the current rates, only 68% of the cost of care is recovered.

It is well to be noted that skilled nursing facilities get facility-specific Medicaid rates, and as per the information that’s provided by the healthcare association, the nursing homes can go on to expect an average daily weighted rate for every patient per day of $341.41 in FY 2024. There is a jump expected in this to $364.67 in FY 2025. As per LeadingAge Washington, the current weighted daily happens to be $315.38.

The lawmakers have also gone on to include two inflation adjustments of 4.75% and 5% for 2024 and 2025, respectively. Although 13.6% of the overall income is indeed a welcome scenario, the state Department of Social and Health Services recommended a surge in rates of almost 20% in the 2-year budget cycle.

According to Washington Health Care Association CEO and President, Carma Matti-Jackson, this could have gotten them much closer to the costs and wages that have grown swiftly in the past couple of years. This indeed marks six years of one-time policies as opposed to developing a longer-term strategy, which would give consistency and predictability to a landscape that has been struggling to staff adequately so as to keep the beds open.

Apparently, the state hasn’t introduced any new mandates or rules that were part of the funding increase. It is well to be noted that Washington already expects that the nursing homes provide a minimum of 3.4 hours of direct care per day per resident.

As per Matti Jackson, the rate increase does not account for the massive cost increase for the staffing agencies, which are disallowed by Medicaid. In 2022, for instance, Medicaid went on to disallow $31 million in staffing agency costs.

She remarked that the contracted labour hours have been climbing because of the staffing shortage, and they have encountered an exceptionally phenomenal growth when it comes to hourly rates charged by the staffing agencies, and hence they anticipate an even bigger disallowance than last year.

She added that the anticipated labour hours for contract registered nurses, licenced practical nurses, and certified nursing assistants will be around 1.7 million hours in 2023.