Group suggests slashing nursing home spending to help fix New York's budget problems

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One Albany-based group is recommending significant cuts to nursing homes and home care as a way to pare down New York's $3.2 billion deficit.

The Empire Center, a conservative think tank, issued a report Monday calling for $30 billion in cuts and reduced spending by 2013 in order to bring the state out of debt. It cited a New York Citizen's Budget Commission report that estimates New York's Medicaid program pays nursing homes at 15% above the national average. Reducing  payments to the national average could save $735 million, according to the center's report. The Empire Center also recommended reducing “excessive hospitalization of the elderly” by 20% and shifting those Medicaid funds to managed care programs to save $241 million.

Medicaid restructuring initiatives under the Empire Center's plan would comprise roughly $6.4 billion in cuts over the next three to four years, according to the report. Other initiatives include a 7.5% cut in public school funds and a requirement that state employees pay an increased share of the Medicare Part B premium.