Self-congratulations all around on nursing home deal | Arkansas Blog

Friday, May 20, 2016

Self-congratulations all around on nursing home deal

Posted By on Fri, May 20, 2016 at 3:25 PM

Gov. Asa Hutchinson, his Department of Human Services leaders and the nursing home industry all patted themselves on the back today for the previously announced deal by which nursing homes got special treatment in the plan to continue the Medicaid expansion in Arkansas that is financed by federal billions produced from Obamcare.

All staged a press event today to tout signing of the agreement by which nursing homes were "carved out" of the the plan to wring savings out of Medicaid while covering more people.

As David Ramsey wrote in March on the carve out:

Thanks to their powerful lobbyists, they have made a separate agreement with the state to implement reforms on their own, focused on transitioning beneficiaries who would be better served by home-and-community-based care rather than nursing homes. They have promised $250 million in savings over five years, savings that are included in the total savings of both the managed care and the DiamondCare plans described above. The state's Department of Human Services will hire an independent actuary to confirm the savings. The governor has stated that if the nursing homes fail to meet their targets, they will be subjected to managed care (or some other form of care management from an outside entity). 
What could possibly go wrong? If you can't trust nursing home tycoons like Michael Morton, who can you trust? And if there's a problem, there's always an Arkansas Supreme Court (packed with judges he paid to elect)to deliver restorative justice.

The news release from the state and the nursing home lobby, the Arkansas Health Care Association, promises better care for less money. Said a release:

As part of the new agreement, both groups have agreed to discontinue the practice of increasing the number of nursing home beds simply because state population increases. Instead, they will focus on modernizing facilities and building out the necessary services and supports, particularly in rural communities. This is critical to expanding the availability of appropriate, high-quality options for seniors whether they would best be served in their home or a facility.

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