The head of the trade association for long-term care facilities in Iowa says 52 percent of nursing home operating income is dependent on Medicaid payments.

Brent Willett , President and CEO of the Iowa Health Care Association, says due to Medicaid reimbursement rates, there’s a shortfall. “The Medicaid system was designed never for facilities to make a dollar on Medicaid. It was designed to cover the cost of an Iowan receiving care, so that facility could do that,” Willet says. “Currently our state share shortfall of Medicaid is about $32 million.”

The gap had been larger. Last year, Iowa legislators set aside about $24 million more for nursing home reimbursement.

“At the federal level, our national association continues to lobby congress for additional dollars into the system,” Willet says.

Willet made his comment during a weekend appearance on the Iowa Press program on Iowa PBS. The recent federal CARES Act temporarily boosted federal Medicaid reimbursement rates.