Deficient reimbursements creating tough decisions

To the editor:

Every day, Pennsylvania’s nursing homes care for our commonwealth’s frailest, sickest and eldest residents. No one wants to tell a family member that we cannot admit their loved one because we can’t afford to care for them, but because of inadequate Medicaid reimbursement, that’s the crossroad where some administrators are standing.

Nursing homes are already operating at such low margins that most cannot invest in equipment and technologies that could enhance care. We have made great strides in health care outcomes – in fact, Pennsylvania is home to some of the finest nursing homes in the nation – but sustaining those outcomes is increasingly difficult.

But every administrator’s greatest challenge is recruiting and retaining compassionate, competent care givers who become an important part of our residents’ lives. These care givers deserve competitive salaries which reflect the expertise, professionalism and commitment they bring to their physically and emotionally challenging jobs.

All Pennsylvanians deserve a long-term, skilled nursing care network that is strong and sustainable, whether they are the care givers working in such facilities, the residents who need the services our facilities provide, or the family members who entrust their loved ones to our care. This goal should be a priority for our Legislature and it should be reflected in the state budget.

Ann-Marie E. Boyne Stouffer, NHA

Regional Director of Operations

Brookline Manor