More than 500 skilled nursing center professionals rallied at the state Capitol in Harrisburg on Tuesday to advocate for increased funding for their facilities, urging lawmakers to prioritize the care of the commonwealth’s frailest individuals.
With financially troubled skilled nursing facilities, Pennsylvania ranks among the lowest in the U.S. with respect to Medicaid reimbursements. Requesting a modest budget increase for nursing homes and funding to incentivize Medicaid coverage throughout the state, participants urged Gov. Tom Wolf to consider their case.
“Pennsylvania’s population is aging rapidly and the demand for long-term care services is growing,” Dr. Stuart H. Shapiro, CEO of the Pennsylvania Health Care Association and Center for Assisted Living Management (PHCA/CALM), said during the rally. “The goal now is making sure they continue to get the services they need to live a healthy, safe, high-quality life with the dignity and respect they deserve.”
The commonwealth’s skilled nursing centers lack resources to make capital improvements, invest in technology and pay competitive salaries to ensure staff retention. Advocates at the rally requested the General Assembly fund a program created in 2014 to assist nursing homes caring for a high percentage of Medicaid patients.
“Nursing home workers and families from across Pennsylvania are here today with a singular message for the governor and the legislature as they build a state budget for next year—additional funding for those frail elders in nursing homes should be among their highest priorities,” Shapiro said.
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