Georgia approves $27 million nursing home rate bump

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A $27 million rate bump for select Georgia nursing home owners has been approved by the state's Department of Community Health, and will go into effect when the upcoming fiscal year begins on July 1.

The money will go to nursing home owners who purchased facilities between January 1, 2012 and June 30, 2014. Supporters of the rate hike say the money will compensate owners for facility upgrades, but senior advocates say there's no way to ensure the nursing homes have been or will be upgraded.

The rate bump was first proposed by DCH last summer, but stalled after board members raised questions. Those board members were quickly replaced. The then-president of the Georgia Health Care Association, Jon Howell, told legislators the owners did not need the full amount, and left the association shortly after.  However, Gov. Nathan Deal included the full $27 million in his budget proposal, which was approved yesterday.

Out of the $27 million, $10 million will go to two companies, with one being Cypress Skilled Nursing. The other is PruittHealth. PruittHealth is one of the largest nursing home chains in the U.S., and is led by former American Health Care Association chairman Neil Pruitt.