Nursing home provider assessment advanced

Lawmakers gave first-round approval April 5 to a bill that would institute a provider assessment on Nebraska nursing facilities.

LB600, introduced by Lincoln Sen. Kathy Campbell, would adopt the Nursing Facility Quality Assurance Assessment Act.

Campbell said the bill would help offset losses that the state’s nursing homes will face under proposed Medicaid provider rate cuts. The governor’s proposed budget calls for a 5 percent reduction in provider rates, she said.

Under the bill, nursing facilities would pay an assessment to the state of $3.50 per day for Medicaid and private pay patients, which then would be reimbursed to facilities through a federal match. Campbell said nursing facilities would pay approximately $14 million to the state in assessments and would receive that amount in reimbursement from the state, plus approximately $20 million in federal Medicaid matching dollars.

“Without this bill, we could anticipate that some nursing facilities will close,” she said.

Louisville Sen. Dave Pankonin supported the bill, saying the increased number of Medicaid patients in Nebraska nursing facilities has created a critical situation in the state. With fewer private pay patients and cuts to Medicaid provider rates, facilities are having difficulty staying in business, he said.

“There is a huge need for quality nursing care,” Pankonin said. “We need to keep these facilities open.”

A Health and Human Services Committee amendment, adopted 38-0, would require a reasonable administrative fee for enforcing and collecting the assessment and require a penalty of 1.5 percent of the assessment owed for each month that a payment is overdue.

The amendment also would require the state Department of Health and Human Services to submit an amendment to Nebraska’s Medicaid state plan to include the Nursing Facility Quality Assurance Assessment Act.

The bill advanced to select file on a 38-0 vote.

Bookmark and Share