Iowa’s nursing home industry warns up to eight homes could close if proposed cuts in state Medicaid rates are enacted. Legislators have put those cuts on hold, and convened a task force to discuss other ways to cover a budget shortfall in the program which provides health care to elderly Iowans who’re poor. Iowa Health Care Association executive director Steve Ackerson has been sitting in on the meetings. He says many providers have already stopped taking new admissions as they’re losing over 25-million dollars.Ackerson suggests tapping into two special state accounts to cover the Medicaid shortfall — using money the tobacco companies are paying the state and using money from the feds that’s supposed to be used to convert nursing home rooms into assisted living apartments.Ackerson says up to 85 percent of patients in some nursing homes get government assistance — Medicaid — to live there, and the Medicaid cut would be devastating. He says three facilities closed last year and seven or eight more would have to close if the cuts go through.Ackerson’s association represents 332 Iowa nursing homes. Those homes care for 12-thousand of the 14-thousand Iowans who are in a nursing home on Medicaid assistance. Ackerson says there’s another complication for nursing homes if the proposed 10-million dollar cut in state support goes through.The homes would lose an additional 18-million dollars in federal support, too.
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