Washington nursing home closures prompt proposal to increase Medicaid rates

A Washington senator is calling for increased Medicaid reimbursement rates amid a series of nursing home closures, according to NPR affiliate KUOW.

Senator Steve O'Ban, R-Pierce County, ranking member on the Senate Health and Long Term Care Committee, pre-filed legislation for 2020 that would require the annual calculation of nursing home Medicaid rates to consider inflation. Currently, rates are computed every two years and are based on data from up to four years before.

Washington's average Medicaid reimbursement rate to nursing homes is $216 per day, the fourth lowest rate in the U.S., according to an analysis cited by KUOW. Recent increases in minimum wage have aggravated the difference between the Medicaid rate and the actual cost of care.

Eighteen of the state's more than 200 licensed skilled nursing facilities have closed or converted to assisted living facilities since 2017, according to a report by the Washington HealthCare Association and LeadingAge Washington cited by KUOW. 

Though Washington doesn't have a shortage of nursing home beds right now, there are concerns a shortage will occur as the population ages.  

More articles on post-acute care:
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