Funding for long-term care facilities has been at a standstill since the state budget was signed in August after a more than a month-long impasse. Since then, the house and senate advanced a human services code in October that helped not only nursing homes but EMS, and hospitals. However, healthcare groups like the Pennsylvania Health Care Association, or the PHCA, warn the public that major funding elements are still missing.
“We haven’t enacted a general appropriations budget, We still don’t have a fiscal code. That could have a negative impact for high Medicaid nursing facilities across the state. So, we’re still working with lawmakers both in the house and senate, republican and democrat, as well as the Shapiro administration to say, the job is not done.”
The PHCA tells us that while the general appropriations bill sets the amount for what a department or a constituency will be funded across the commonwealth, it’s the fiscal code that drives those dollars out.
“Without a fiscal code, it is unknown if those funds will get where they need to go and that’s to the frontlines of the healthcare continuum, that’s to long-term care So, there’s a lot of unknowns and there are a lot of providers wondering what this will mean for them in the weeks and months ahead.”
Workforce challenges have also been impacting long-term care facilities as the state increases staffing mandates. Some lawmakers are trying to combat the issue with Senate Bill 668, which was approved by the Senate Health and Human Services committee just last week. The bill would enable certified nurse aids (CNAs) to train to become Certified Medication Aides (CMAs) and deliver common, minimally invasive prescription medicines to residents of nursing facilities.
“We are experiencing an access to care crisis in Pennsylvania, said Shamberg. “We have providers who are being forced to turn away potential residents simply because they don’t have enough staff, or simply because they may not financially be able to take care of that person. That’s not good in one of the oldest states in terms of population in the entire country.”
If you’re a senior resident facing displacement from your facility, contact your local are agency on aging.