Protest Planned, $246M Cuts to Nursing Homes

GOSHEN – Last week, Assemblymember Jonathan Jacobson (D-104), Senator James Skoufis (D-Hudson Valley), Senator Jen Metzger (D-Hudson Valley), and Assemblymember Aileen Gunther (D-100) joined nursing home workers from 1199SEIU and the Civil Service Employees Association (CSEA) to protest Medicaid cuts (Medicaid State Plan Amendment (SPA) #19-0033), which would retroactively reduce the nursing home reimbursement rate, cutting $246 million statewide beginning on November 6th.

The group met in front of the Valley View Center for Nursing Care and Rehabilitation in Goshen. Valley View faces a cut of $1.2 million under the Medicaid SPA.

Assemblymember Jacobson said, “Nursing homes in New York are already struggling. The cut proposed under this Medicaid State Plan amendment would force facilities across the state to limit services and lay off essential staff. Nursing home residents are among our most vulnerable populations. I am committed to protecting New York’s seniors and fighting for the rights and jobs of the workers who care for them.

The State needs to look elsewhere for cuts. The State Budget should not be balanced on by back of our vulnerable seniors and nursing homes. This is penny wise and pound foolish since the $123 million state cut will result in an additional loss of $123 million in Federal matching funds.

In a budget of $176 billion, it is hard to believe that these cuts are necessary,” Jacobson concluded.

Senator Skoufis said, “The cuts proposed in this Medicaid State Plan Amendment will undoubtedly have detrimental effects to the very centers providing care for our seniors. Healthcare, especially for our vulnerable and elderly, is a foundation to every community and cannot be neglected by our government. I will continue working with my colleagues in the Legislature to do anything possible to mitigate these cuts. At the very least, the state must delay implementing these egregious Medicaid changes and allow further review from stakeholders across the state. We cannot jump ship on funding nursing homes that provide essential care to our elders.”

Senator Metzger said, “The proposed cuts to nursing homes under the Medicaid State Plan Amendment are staggering. Continuing care providers in the elder care industry are already underpaid, and slashing $246 million in Medicaid will further strain the ability of our state to ensure quality care for a vulnerable segment of the population. Nearly 20 percent of New York’s population is 65 years of age or older—a percentage that has been growing and will likely continue to grow. According to a 2019 AARP-commissioned report, the last decade has seen a 26 percent increase in this demographic. With an aging population, New York needs to invest more, not less, in quality care for our seniors.”

Assemblymember Gunther said, “Year after year, we have to fight tooth and nail to ensure that our state’s healthcare system doesn’t fall into disrepair. Once again, our seniors and other nursing home residents are being unfairly asked to shoulder the burden. The human services field has been underfunded for far too long. New York State’s budget is over $170 billion per year—that’s more than the national budgets for about 200 different countries. It’s time this state prioritizes the needs of those who are most vulnerable.”

CSEA Southern Region President, Anthony Adamo, said, “These cuts will directly jeopardize the health and wellbeing of our some of our most vulnerable residents. We know that cutting corners in other nursing facilities in this area has negatively impacted patient care. We’ve fought hard for CSEA members to continue providing county nursing care at Valley View, where they treat the residents with dignity and compassion. It’s frightening to consider the impact these proposed cuts could have on the mission of our county nursing home.”

CSEA Orange County Unit President, Rosemarie Kukys, a registered nurse working at Valley View, said, “After we worked so hard to return stability to Valley View due to prior
mismanagement, I am very upset to see cuts proposed that could put our mission of quality care at risk. Not only is this a concern for my members working at Valley View, we as workers are concerned about the strain these proposed cuts could put on our residents. Many of our residents closely follow the news and are well aware of the potential harm these cuts may cause to our facility.”

Sara Couch, Healthcare Advocate, 1199SEIU’s Healthcare Education Project, said “It is unacceptable that more than 100,000 nursing home residents across New York State are at risk, because of this misguided decision. We support the coalition that is suing the state over these adjustments to reimbursement rates, that will reduce Medicaid funding by more than $350 million and urge that the issue is brought back to the table and resolved immediately in favor of the quality care that New Yorkers deserve.”

Laurence LaDue, Valley View Administrator, said “As a government owned/not-for-profit skilled nursing facility, Valley View is a safety net public facility and it’s our mission to provide essential long-term medical services to low income and vulnerable populations. Thus, Valley View has a higher percentage of Medicaid residents, 78% of Valley View’s residents are on Medicaid, a higher Medicaid percentage than privately owned SNFs. As a result, the new CMI Medicaid rate has a significant negative impact to our Medicaid revenue. The CMI rate change will result in a $800,000 reduction in Medicaid revenue for 2019 and $1.3 million reduction in Medicaid revenue for 2020.”

In September, Jacobson wrote to Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker and New York State Director of the Budget, Robert Mujica, protesting the cuts.

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