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State must commit to nursing homes

It’s time for Pennsylvania state government to fairly fund long-term providers that care for thousands of older Pennsylvanians in nursing homes.

Medicaid funding, which covers most of the costs of care, has been flatlined by the Wolf administration.

After a year of being in the heart of the COVID-19 pandemic, nursing homes watched helplessly as Gov. Tom Wolf once again proposed flat funding in his latest budget for the commonwealth’s 2021-22 fiscal year.

Those who rely on the services and care provided by nursing homes have to be educated that even in normal times flat funding ignores skyrocketing health care costs for residents, making it difficult to increase our services and retain our caregivers, let alone attract new ones.

During a pandemic, this approach is thoughtless and devastating to the industry.

The American Recovery Plan Act is sending billions to Pennsylvania, which should make more dollars available for nursing home care.

Fair funding would, at least, help to compete with other types of organizations and businesses to recruit and retain the staff needed to care and provide for those served.

Nursing homes are slapped with regulations that require more highly qualified and experienced staff — without proper funding those demands cannot be met.

Simply, the future of nursing homes is at risk if the state government does not provide the funding necessary to provide the care we all want for our loved ones.

The pandemic is far from over for us. It goes on every single day.

We desperately need the resources to keep up the fight.

It’s time for our state lawmakers in the General Assembly to do the right thing.

Lives literally depend on it.

Patricia Savage

President and CEO

Allegheny Lutheran Social Ministries

The Lutheran Home

Hollidaysburg

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