Governor Kathy Hochul’s latest budget proposal has left New York’s hospitals and nursing homes in a bind by not increasing the Medicaid reimbursement rate, despite mounting pressures from overcapacity and rising healthcare costs. Last year saw a 7.5% increase, the first in over a decade, but this year the rates remain unchanged. Officials with Strong Memorial Hospital highlighted the strain on facilities like theirs, which serve a significant number of Medicaid patients, emphasizing that the current rate covers only 70 cents on the dollar of healthcare costs.
The lack of increase in Medicaid reimbursement rates is also exacerbating the nursing home bed shortage in the Rochester region, with 1,500 beds lost since 2020. This bottleneck forces patients to remain in hospitals longer than necessary, straining resources further. State lawmakers, including NYS Senator Jeremy Cooney and Senator Samra Brouk, acknowledge the healthcare crisis, emphasizing the acute impact on Monroe County and calling for at least a 10% increase in Medicaid rates.
While the Governor’s office and the State Department of Health suggest other funding avenues exist for these institutions, New York’s high per capita Medicaid costs complicate budget decisions. As the state grapples with these challenges, lawmakers pledge to advocate for better funding solutions as the April 1, 2024, budget deadline approaches.
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