Missouri Governor will increase Medicaid reimbursement for nursing homes

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Missouri Gov. Bob Holden plans to sign a law Friday that will increase the Medicaid reimbursement rate for the state's 545 nursing homes, according to the Associated Press.

Under the law, the state's reimbursement rate will be recalculated each of the next three years, increasing $16 million during the fiscal year 2005, according to legislative estimates. By 2007, the state spending increase could reach $65 million.

Missouri nursing homes received about $446 million in state and federal funds this year, according to the state Division of Medical Services. That includes an average state payment of a little more than $97 per Medicaid patient per day. That's nearly $22 short of covering nursing homes' full costs.

"This bill is extremely important to patient care in nursing homes," said Earl Carlson, executive director of the Missouri Health Care Association, which represents nursing homes.