During the annual National Association of Health Care Assistants (NAHCA) convention, America's nursing home caregivers urged Congress to stop attempts to cut seniors' Medicare benefits in any healthcare reform bill. Such cuts would significantly harm the quality of care seniors receive.
"The line of reasoning we hear from some in Washington that seniors' care will not be impacted from deep Medicare cuts to providers ignores the bottom line reality that when Medicare cuts provider reimbursement, providers, in turn, are forced to cut staff because labor expenses comprise 70 percent of facility costs," said Lisa Cantrell, Co-Chair of NAHCA. "Cutting staff within a facility has a direct, immediate, negative impact on patients and their care -- and this fact cannot be brushed aside nor conveniently wished away."
According to Cantrell, the pending health reform bill in the U.S. House of Representatives which cuts Medicare-financed nursing home benefits by $32 billion over ten years "represents a direct and immediate threat to front line care capacity in skilled nursing facilities throughout America."
However, Cantrell said that the newest Baucus proposed health care reform plan seems to be a better approach.
NAHCA is a non-profit organization working to ensure that the highest quality of care is provided to seniors living in nursing homes, achieved by elevating the professional standing and performance of the caregivers. NAHCA was established in July 2006 to meet the growing needs of all health care assistants, including those in non geriatric facilities. Today, the association has a membership of more than 20,000 caregivers representing over 500 nursing homes in 29 states and the District of Columbia.