A proposal to increase Medicaid funding for long-term care providers must be part of the budget reconciliation bill currently being debated by House lawmakers, according to the long-term care advocacy group LeadingAge. 

Katie Smith Sloan
Katie Smith Sloan

“The clock is ticking for millions of older adults and their families. They can’t take a strategic pause from COVID or life-threatening shortages of care and shelter. Anything less than full support would be unconscionable,” Katie Smith Sloan, president and CEO of LeadingAge, said in a statement Thursday.

“We’re counting on every member of Congress to provide the support that so many older adults need to eat, bathe, and take their medicine or avoid lingering on affordable housing waiting lists that last years,” Sloan added. 

The organization issued the plea on Tuesday in a letter addressed to leaders of the House. The group wants congressmen to amend the bill to include the Federal Medical Assistance Percentages (FMAP) provisions, which were part of the Nursing Home Improvement and Accountability Act. States would receive enhanced federal Medicaid match under the provision. 

The funding would only be allowed to expand efforts to improve nursing facility staffing, such as improved wages and benefits and resident care, including expanded person-centered models of care.

The letter also calls for more support for the direct care workers by providing $1.48 billion to support renewable, three-year grants to recruit, retain and advance the workforce, improve wages and career pathways. 

“Older adults and aging services providers are desperate for these investments and are deeply grateful for your leadership to secure them,” Sloan concluded. “LeadingAge stands ready to support the funding levels reflected in the committees’ bill through enactment, which cannot come soon enough.”