Nationwide Medicaid funding for nursing homes fell $3.5 billion short of expenses in 2000, according to a report from the American Health Care Association, which represents mostly for-profit nursing homes. Based on cost data from 37 states, the average Medicaid shortfall was $9.78 per patient in 2000 -- 8.1% higher than in 1999, said Joe Lubarsky, national director of the long-term-care services division at BDO Seidman, which conducted the study. Lubarsky said the underfunding reflects tight state budgets and will get worse as the economy continues to falter. The nursing homes industry used the study to bolster its argument for Congress to pass a temporary increase in the federal medical assistance percentage program, known as FMAP, which helps state Medicaid programs. Other provider groups, including the American Hospital Association, support the legislation. The Senate Finance Committee is scheduled to debate the issue Tuesday and will consider a bill by Sens. John Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) and Gordon Smith (R-Ore.) that would increase federal Medicaid funding by $9.3 billion from April 2002 to March 2004. -- by Susanna Duff
Medicaid underfunds nursing home care, study says
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