A unionized group that includes nurses is criticizing the Bush Administration for failing to send nearly $17-MILLION to Iowa’s nursing homes. Sarah Swisher, a nurse who is also working in the Iowa City office of Iowa for Healthcare, a group organized by the Service Employees International Union, says nursing homes and patients who depend on long term care are suffering because of the hold-up. The Bush Administration is withholding the money because it’s reviewing how states have been using a financial maneuver — a sort of tax — on health care institutions, and that’s the reason the 16-point-six MILLION dollars hasn’t made it to Iowa nursing homes. Federal officials say some states aren’t using the money for health-related programs. Swisher and others say Iowa, however, is using the money for health care and is being unfairly penalized because of the questionable activity in other states. Swisher says the Bush Administration “is looking through every detail and every dot,” the feds are withholding the money from Iowa’s Medicaid program. Swisher predicts some nursing homes will be forced to close if the federal matching funds aren’t released. Swisher says the money could be used to boost the salaries of nursing home staff, or at least keep staff who’re already on the payroll. “It’s a double-whammy” not to have that money, according to Swisher.
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