Medicaid commission hears providers' pleas

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Long-term care leaders pleaded their case to the federal Medicaid Advisory Commission when the new panel met Tuesday in Atlanta. Gains in quality of care are at risk, providers said, if federal officials further squeeze state Medicaid budgets.

"As we are seeing federal efforts to significantly reduce states' ability to utilize provider fees and intergovernmental transfers as revenue sources, it is more important than ever for transitional funding strategies to be pursued concurrent with the development and implementation of broader Medicaid reforms," said Fred Watson, President of the Georgia Nursing Home Association.

"Reducing funding without identifying and allowing the use of alternative revenue sources would undoubtedly harm Georgia's most vulnerable, medically-fragile seniors in need of high quality facility care."

There is cause for optimism, according to Bruce Yarwood, president and CEO of the American Health Care Association. He reported that National Governors' Association Chairman Mike Huckabee (R-AR) has said he believes progress is being made with the Bush administration, which has proposed federal funding cuts.

The national average shortfall in Medicaid reimbursement was $12.58 per Medicaid patient day in 2005, according to the most recent BDO Seidman analysis performed for the AHCA.
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