Friday, November 11, 2011

Medicare Cuts Mean Nursing Home Layoffs

The deadline for the federal deficit commission to make its report on recommended cuts is now just over a week away. One thing that's at stake that isn't talked about nearly enough is that most of the proposed cuts will lead to people losing their jobs, either directly or indirectly. One example of the indirect job losses is seen in this recent article:
Medicare nursing home reimbursement cuts will lead to direct-care staff layoffs at 63% of nursing home facilities, according to a survey of such facilities conducted on behalf of the Alliance for Quality Nursing Home Care, which represents for-profit nursing homes.

In addition, 77% of respondents said they would be delaying expansion and renovations as a result of the 11% Medicare reimbursement cut to skilled-nursing facilities that went into effect Oct. 1, according to the online survey of association members and non-members, which was conducted by Avalere Health. The CMS (Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services) in July announced it would implement the cuts in order to account for previous overpayments related to therapy at SNFs (Skilled Nursing Facilities).

“We’re seeing the leading edge of a job-loss wave” in the nursing home sector, said Alan Rosenbloom, president of the alliance, at a reporter teleconference.
Because we all know just how fantastic the care at many of the nation's nursing homes is for elderly Americans and how the industry can easily absorb these cuts without leaving grandma alone for hours in a puddle of her own urine. If there still are nursing homes around 40 years or so from now when I'm likely to be getting to the point where I can't take care of myself anymore, I think I'd rather put a bullet in my own brainpan. But that's just me.


  1. We simply can't expect to access nursing home care in the future.

    The lesson for those who can still do something about it?

    Take steps to reduce the chances you would need long term nursing care, or minimize the time you will need it. Steps like:

    Live active lives
    Consider going car-free and walking instead
    Stop eating industrial food
    Refrain from using meds for your ailments
    etc., etc.

  2. Stay fit and eat well? Of course.

    But the "refrain from using meds for your ailments" suggestion is ridiculous. Refraining from using meds would mean death or miserable lives for a lot of people. Using the word "refrain" implies you don't really need it, it's a crutch you're leaning on. I don't know about John's perspective, but these sorts of remarks seem to stem from an anti-science/medicine trend among some, who are convinced we are all over-medicated, psychosomatic, or that ailments can be taken care of with kale & rice or "alternative medicine." I think it was either Carl Sagan or Richard Dawkins who called alternative medicine, "medicine that doesn't work." If it really worked, then it would be just called "medicine."

  3. @John & Patrick - I'll split the baby on this one. I try not to take medicine unless I know I really need it. Too many people are way over-medicated to the point where the don't think they can function without it. But yeah, if you are Steve Jobs and you're told you have a tumor, it's best to get that sucker removed pronto and not expect the herbal tea to get the job done.

  4. One way or the other it is the common people who suffers the most.

  5. I have worked in a state operated nursing home as an RN. We had a hiring freeze and were short staffed. What happens is that more short cuts and less documentation occurs. Which leads to more patient injuries and less proof of good care giving. Which leads to sanctions, lawsuits and loss of Medicaid and Medicare funding. Which leads to even less money for labor, which leads to....well you get the picture.