For several months, lawmakers looked for ways to make dwindling Medicaid resources cover most eligible elderly individuals, disabled people, and children. The new caps apply to both the value and length of services. The government will reimburse up to $30,000 a year per patient if the individual needs help with eating, mobility, and using the bathroom. Moreover, funds are limited to sixty-four months in many cases.
State Aging, Adult and Behavioral Health Services Division Director Mark White said that the cuts would not affect service levels, but lawmakers were not convinced. “People are very much concerned about this, especially the elderly and those individuals who are in assisted living facilities,” remarked Sen. Linda Chesterfield (D-Little Rock). “What do I tell them if I vote for this that I have not done something to harm them?”
These latest Medicaid cuts are just the latest of a series of reductions dating back to the 1990s, he explained. As per-patient reimbursement drops, many nursing home administrators use volume to make up the difference. As a result, facilities already full become overcrowded. If increased volume is not enough, and it normally is not, administrators often trim expenses, and they often start with payroll. Therefore, the overcrowded facility becomes understaffed as well.
Typically, the nursing home is legally responsible for these damages, according to third-party liability theories like respondeat superior and negligent supervision.
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