Racial and health disparities, dangerous care for nursing home residents will continue without immediate reforms

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SPRINGFIELD, Illinois., February 23, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Inequities in nursing home care will continue to jeopardize the lives of Illinois residents without immediate reforms to end “suburban-style” rooms where more than three people are housed, understaffed facilities and an aging fee structure prone to Medicaid to overcode resident services.

“Residents and nursing home staff have experienced devastating conditions during the Covid-19 pandemic, and an unacceptable number have lost their lives to the disease,” said Lori HendrenAssociate State Director for AARP Illinois.Illinois Lawmakers must act now to protect nursing home residents and staff by approving reforms to a fee system that is clearly being broken. »

Hendren was joined by representing Anna Moeller (D-43), rep. Denyse Stoneback(D-16), matt hartmannexecutive director of the Illinois Health Care Association, and Angela SchnepfCEO of LeadingAge Illinois during a virtual press conference on Wednesday, urging lawmakers to approve the Department of Health and Family Services (HFS) compromise nursing home rate reform bills. Rep. Moeller is the sponsor of the House measure, HB 4678, and Senator Gillespie is the sponsor of the Senate version, SB 2995.

“High-Medicaid for-profit nursing homes compromise 95 percent of all understaffed facilities in our state, according to the HFS report,” Rep. Moeller said. “Nursing rate reform is a direct path to rebuilding and reinvesting in our state’s frontline nursing homes, resulting in safer, better, and equitable care for our state’s most vulnerable. “

“The current Medicaid nursing home pricing system allows bad actors in the industry to continue to profit while residents suffer,” Rep. Stoneback said. “Substandard, racially divided care is unfair. Our most vulnerable population deserves all of us to be their champions and steadfast defenders.”

The HFS Nursing Home Tariff Reform Bill:

  • Prioritizes accountability, quality of care for residents, and workforce development in long-term care facilities.
  • Disrupts racial inequities and health disparities among nursing home residents enrolled in Medicaid.
  • Ends the practice of overcrowding nursing home rooms with 3 or more residents.
  • Demands greater transparency of care home ownership and revenues.
  • Directly links funding/tariffs/incentives to demonstrable and sustained nursing home performance.

The need for reform is reinforced by recent research by AARP/PPI Research, which found that voters over 50 in Illinois have many concerns about nursing homes in their state, including cost of care, inadequate staff, exposure to infections, and being isolated and alone.

Voters in Illinois overwhelmingly support nursing home reforms, such as eliminating ward-like wards, increasing the frequency of safety inspections and more funding for direct social workers, according to the AARP IL Voter Survey on Family Caregiver and Long-Term Care.

Illinois Health Care Association Executive Director Matt Hartman said: “The skilled nursing profession in Illinois has been in danger for many years. Scrupulous providers who operate with results, quality and resident safety as their driving mission have struggled to stay afloat in the face of an underfunded and inequitable system. Others have manipulated this same system, generating profits by coding the care needs of residents in centers where there are not enough staff to meet the needs of those residents.

Hartman continued, “The COVID pandemic has only exacerbated these issues, leading to facility closures and concerns about sufficient access to quality care in rural and underserved communities. Current language puts a focus on staffing and quality resident outcomes as a cornerstone of center funding, while laying a solid foundation for the future of the profession as a whole.”

“Our members believe in serving older adults with dignity and compassion and that we need a Medicaid reimbursement system that encourages all organizations to do the same. We believe the proposed Medicaid rate reform , which has been accepted by all stakeholders, does exactly that,” noted Angela SchnepfPresident and CEO of LeadingAge Illinois.

“This reimbursement model rewards staffing and results while helping to limit acuity overcoding. By doing this, HFS sets up a system where organizations are incentivized to do the right thing the first time. departure instead of leaving it up to IDPH to research We greatly appreciate the diligent work of Senator Gillespie and Rep. Moeller in crafting legislation that improves the lives of seniors in the State of Illinois.”

To view a copy of the report, visit bit.ly/AARPIL2021_Survey

SOURCEAARP Illinois