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The following editorial by James P. Nyberg, director of LeadingAge RI, appeared in the July 2 Valley Breeze newspaper.
On behalf of the thousands of non-profit nursing home residents, their caregivers and families that we represent, LeadingAge RI would like to say "thank you" to Sen. Goodwin, Sen. Paiva Weed and Rep. Gallison for their work to ensure fair nursing home reimbursement rates for conscientious providers of elder care here in Rhode Island.
Earlier this year, the Chafee administration had announced a new (budget-neutral) reimbursement structure for the nursing home industry. We determined that more than 40 nursing homes in the state would lose a collective $12 million under the new plan because they were highly responsive, highly staffed residences.
While the intention to streamline the reimbursement process was a sincere effort to create common good, the results of implementing this program would have been disastrous.
Through the special efforts of Sen. Goodwin, Sen. Paiva-Weed, and Rep. Gallison, the General Assembly came to understand the need to balance the administration's effort to create a new reimbursement system with nursing home residents' need for high-touch, high-frequency care. Together, these legislators (with help from Speaker Fox) were able to ferry compromise legislation through the General Assembly, which recognizes the critical role of direct caregivers.
Nursing home reimbursement and government funding for elder care is a maze even for seasoned industry veterans. We at LeadingAge RI are sincerely grateful for the time, patience and education that legislators have invested in learning the financial and healthcare complexities that affect our industry. Thank you for a job well done.