Irene's nursing home evacuations leave paperwork headaches behind

Hurricane Irene evacuations have some East Coast nursing home operators nervous that reimbursement payments will be late or inadequate. 

The state of New York evacuated 15 nursing homes in preparation for Hurricane Irene over the weekend, on a scale that is unprecedented, Crain’s New York Business reported. Sorting out the paperwork involved in the transfers could take days, according to reports. The costs incurred include transportation via ambulance, buses and cars, plus medical care at transition facilities.

Richard Herrick, CEO of the New York State Health Facilities Association, the long-term care facility trade group, told Crain’s that he hopes reimbursements to nursing homes will be made within 10 days, but that he believed some of the costs will not be reimbursed. Additionally, healthcare officials are unsure about who will pick up the tab if states such as New York and New Jersey are declared federal disaster areas, as Govs. Andrew Cuomo (D-NY) and Chris Christie (R-NJ) have requested.

“It is a very fragile time financially for nursing homes, and I have to think they showed a tremendous amount of good faith that it will all turn out positive,” Herrick told Crain’s.