Illinois state lawmakers passed legislation last week that will result in $1.6 billion in Medicaid cuts. Many legislators and advocates are angered and concerned that the cuts will undercut much needed nursing home reforms. As part of the compromises reached last week, state officials set a level of care by registered nurses that was lower than what many advocates had hoped for.
Under the new staffing requirements, a minimum of 25 percent of all bedside care must be be provided by licensed nurses, with only 10 percent done by registered nurses. The new staffing requirements fell short of the 20 percent registered nurse bedside care that advocates for the elderly and disabled had been fighting for.
The Medicaid cuts also end the Illinois Cares Rx discount drug coverage for 180,000 low-income people and reportedly tighten Medicaid screening in ways that could remove hundreds of thousands of people from coverage.
The compromises and Medicaid cuts made last week stand to save the state about $240 million.
What does this mean for nursing home residents?
The compromises and Medicaid cuts made last week could have a minimal effect on nursing home residents. But this is unlikely. Negligence and abuse are more likely to happen in nursing homes that are underfunded and understaffed. As stated previously, this new legislation lowers the standard of care by registered nurses, who have a higher level of credentials and are paid more, which can only adversely affect the care provided to nursing home residents. Further, legislation of this nature requires nursing homes to re-prioritize goals. For example, nursing homes that, prior to this legislation, had abuse prevention as a priority, may have to set this objective aside until they can adjust to the Medicaid reimbursement cuts. The bottom line is that the Medicaid cuts are likely to adversely affect vital nursing home reforms enacted two years ago and delay improved care in nursing home facilities.
If you or someone you love has been neglected and/or abused in a nursing home, call the experienced attorneys at Ed Fox & Associates today.