The current Medicaid funding shortfall has a terrible human cost to patients, families, caregivers, and our whole community as hospitals are overcrowded. I am the administrator at San Juan Villa and …
The current Medicaid funding shortfall has a terrible human cost to patients, families, caregivers, and our whole community as hospitals are overcrowded. I am the administrator at San Juan Villa and I am urging Washington state lawmakers to support funding increases for Medicaid in this year’s budget and passage of SB-5526/HB-1571.
At San Juan Villa, our 26 staff help care for 28 seniors. I wish I could hire more people and take on more Medicaid patients, but the state’s reimbursement rates don’t pay the bills. Our staff and facility are being asked to do more with less and it’s harming our ability to provide the quality care and services these low-income patients equally deserve.
We also provide memory care, which requires more staff time. When we request a higher Medicaid reimbursement rate as patients need higher levels of care, it can take weeks or months for caseworker paperwork and approval.
For assisted living, Medicaid currently pays only 68 percent of the hourly wages needed to care for a beneficiary. That’s less than the state’s minimum wage.
When providers, such as myself, are unable to hire and retain staff, the impact on the health care system is significant. Hospitals are unable to discharge patients to nursing homes or assisted living, and quality of life and care are at great risk. This is impacting everyone in our community, not just seniors, because our hospitals are overcrowded. If seniors are stuck in hospital beds it means people with urgent medical needs can’t get a hospital bed when they need one.
Lawmakers must show seniors they care about their care and the nurses, caregivers, and allied support staff providing it.
It is vital Washington’s 2023-2025 operating budget proposal address the staffing crisis in long-term care.