When his wife died earlier this year, 80-year old New York resident Vincent Granitto donated the $1,000 he received in her memory to the nursing home in which they both lived. The man moved into the Maplewood Nursing Home in Ballston Spa, New York when his wife’s health took a turn for a worst. He did not want to send her to the facility alone.
Mr. Granitto and his wife appreciated the quality of the care they received at the home–a public facility owned by Saratoga County. But the long-term financial stability of the home is in question. Those financial concerns are what prompted the senior’s donation to the facility where he hopes he can spend the rest of his life.
Maplewood is struggling financially because of Medicaid reimbursement rates–a problem that our New York elder law attorneys know affects many long-term care facilities in our area. A story in the Times-Union explained that the facility budgets have been in the red for several years, because the reimbursements paid to the home from Medicaid are not nearly enough to cover the costs of actually running the facility properly. The home receives $160 a day per resident from Medicaid, but estimates suggests that it costs about $330 per day to actually provide the necessary care.
The long-term future of the home is in question because of the financial challenges. Many residents are understandably uneasy about what that might mean for them. Saratoga County may eventually be forced to sell Maplewood to a private owner. The seniors living in the facility have voiced concern about a decrease in care quality after such a transfer.
Many public nursing homes throughout the state are experiencing the same problems. The financial troubles of these facilities is making it difficult for local officials to keep homes open and even to build more homes to meet growing senior care needs. For example, The Albany County Legislature has been trying to gain state approval to build a new 200-bed senior care facility. The project has so far been stalled by the state’s Department of Health because of fears that the new home would lose tens of millions of dollars each year.
Similar concerns about New York Medicaid reimbursement shortfalls led officials in Fulton County and Washington County to sell public senior care facilities to private owners in recent years.
The New York Medicaid lawyers at our firm are aware of research efforts which show a decrease in quality of care measures when a facility transfers from a public home to a private one. One key concern is that private owners often slash staffing numbers to save costs. This has very serious effects on the individual care and attention that each resident receives.
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