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Texas nursing homes demand more state funding

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Texas lawmakers should increase Medicaid nursing home spending 16.84 percent, to about $6.4 billion, for the two-year period set to start in 2014.

The Texas Health Care Association (THCA) is making that case in a comment on a 2014-2015 budget proposal released by the state Health and Human Services Commission.

The commission is asking for $5.5 billion in Medicaid long-term care (LTC) benefits for the poor. The total two-year budget request is for about $49 billion.

The Texas Medicaid program pays for nursing home care for about 60,000 elderly and disabled Texas residents.

THCA President Tim Graves said Texas has been keeping Medicaid nursing home funding levels artificially low since 1999.

Nursing homes in the state are now getting about $1 billion per year less than they should be, and nursing homes are also facing the possibility that Congress may impose more cuts in Medicare skilled nursing reimbursement rates, Graves said.

“It is simply wrong, unfair and bad policy to expect facilities and their patients to shoulder this under funding burden,” Graves said in a statement. 

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