Large Revenue Gap Remains
Care Providers Oklahoma President and CEO Steven Buck today thanked the Legislature for including in their budget agreement a $47.8 million increase in funding for Oklahoma’s skilled nursing facilities and for Intermediate Care Facilities for Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities (ICF/IIDs). The funding replaces a roughly equal amount of federal dollars made available through the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency that will no longer be available starting July 1, 2023, and avoids a steep funding cliff for skilled nursing in Oklahoma.
However, Buck also warned that nursing homes and ICFs still provide a large amount of uncompensated care that threaten the financial viability of many homes and may lead to closures. According to OHCA projections, the cost of treating a typical Medicaid resident in a skilled nursing facility is $246 per day. With the $47.7 million in additional state funding, nursing facilities will now be compensated approximately $225 per day per Medicaid resident, a $21 per day deficit.
“The Legislature has averted an outright catastrophe by replacing federal dollars that have been revoked due to the end of the COVID-19 emergency declaration,” said Buck. “That action will likely be enough to avoid widespread closures within the industry and provide some sense of stability for most residents and staff. We are grateful to our lawmakers for taking action on that front.”
“However,” continued Buck, “the majority of skilled nursing residents pay for their care using Medicaid. Each of those residents costs their facilities $21 a day in uncompensated care. In the long run, we cannot continue to expect reliable, high-quality services unless we can at least match the cost of care for our residents. Furthermore, facilities will not be able to hire and retain qualified workers at the $13 to $15 an hour rate that our current funding levels support.”
“The work our lawmakers did in 2023 prevented a disaster,” finished Buck. “But they can expect that we will be asking them to do more in 2024 so that we can adequately care for our residents, staff our facilities with qualified workers, and avoid more closures which disrupt the lives of vulnerable Oklahomans.”