New bill aims to increase Medicaid funds for nursing homes in Missouri

It’s something everyone has to face eventually– when parents are getting older, how will they be taken care of? For many Medicaid is how that care gets paid for.

But nursing homes in Missouri are sounding off: saying Medicaid isn’t covering the costs of care anymore.

At Willow Care Center in Hannibal, administrators said there’s a deficit of around $20 a day per Medicaid resident. With 70 percent of the residents there on Medicaid, that’s really adding up– which is why they’re hoping for support on a bill that aims to fix that.

“They need us everyday, they need care, they need taken care of, they depend on us for everything,” said Assistant Director of Nursing at Willow Care Center Misty Lynn speaking to the importance of her job.

They take care of all the needs of over 50 residents at the nursing home. She said without the proper funds however, getting the staff to do that is impossible.

“If we can’t get the funding staffing isn’t going to be adequate, I mean we can’t keep bringing people in the doors if money isn’t there,” said Lynn, “and this is their home, this is the residents home, so if we can’t provide them the care that they need, we’re not doing our job.”

Administrator at Willow Care Center Greg Sandidge said to continue providing quality care to their residents, they need legislators support on this new bill

“Most of the nursing homes here in Missouri are underfunded by more than $20 a day per patient, and that creates a lot of hardship for the nursing homes here because we have a large percentage of Medicaid residents here at Willow Care,” said Sandidge, adding that the costs of operation continue to go up– citing increases in inflation, regulations, and more.

He said if the amount of money they get from Medicaid isn’t increased, they might have to make cuts to food services, staff, transportation, or activities for residents.

“The operation cost continue to increase and without this increase in funding for the nursing homes, we’ve got to offset it somewhere,” said Sandidge.

Which is why they’re asking for state lawmakers to support it.

“This bill that we’re trying to get in Missouri is extremely important for staffing and care for the residents, we need it,” said Lynn.

5th district representative Louis Riggs met with people here at Willow Care Center today.
Riggs told WGEM News he hasn’t decided if he will support Senate Bill 11/House Bill 600 which would allow nursing homes to reset their Medicaid rates based on today’s costs if they re-invest in their facilities.

States receive federal funds to match what they put into their Medicaid programs. The current Medicaid rate for nursing homes in Missouri was last set in 1995.

Frank Healy

Frank Healy

Multimedia Journalist at WGEM

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