Long-term care community cheers passage of Medicaid extension legislation

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Bruce Yarwood, AHCA CEO
Bruce Yarwood, AHCA CEO

Long-term care leaders on Thursday praised the Senate for approving an extension of enhanced Medicaid assistance to cash-strapped states.

“We applaud the Senate for taking action to pass this vital Medicaid relief, and urge the House to follow in the same manner,” said Bruce Yarwood, president and CEO of the American Health Care Association. “Every day that passes without an extension of this funding, seniors' care is placed in jeopardy, facility staffing stability is compromised, and good, local health jobs are put at risk.”

Larry Minnix, president and CEO of the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging, also expressed support for the bill's passage.

“Over the short term, Congress could not have done anything more important to stabilize long-term services and supports, reinforce the caregivers that deliver them, and keep the economic recovery on the right path than the Medicaid decision," he said. "This is huge and greatly appreciated.”

The Senate approved the funding in a 61-39 vote Thursday morning. The bill would provide states with 3.2% in additional federal medical assistance percentage (FMAP) funds during the first three months of 2011, and an additional 1.2% for the following three months. Nursing homes receive most of their funding from Medicaid. The extra funding will help provide local caregiver job stability throughout America, Yarwood and Alan G. Rosenbloom, president of the Alliance for Quality Nursing Home Care, noted.

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