Earlier this year, we spent some time discussing the haggling back and forth in the Illinois General Assembly about what to do about a provision in the Nursing Home Care Act that mandated increased staffing levels for skilled nursing personnel, but held off setting the threshold levels for a later date.

Late this past spring, there was much hand-wringing from patients’ rights advocates about what’s generally been referred to as something of a bad bargain that was reached by state legislators that agreed to set lower staffing levels than recommended in exchange for cutting Medicaid funding at a lesser rate than many nursing home lobbyists had previously feared.

Now, however, many media outlets around the state are catching on to the bottom line on the budget cuts and staffing levels, and the results are more troubling than some originally thought.

As the articles explain, at the end of the day, Medicaid rates that nursing homes will receive this fiscal year have been cut by 2.7%, and the “to be determined” amount of care to be provided by skilled nursing personnel from the Nursing Home Care Act will call for 10% to be provided by Registered Nurses (RN’s).

However, advocates within the General Assembly had originally called for 20% of the services to be provided by RN’s — which essentially means that the recommended amount was cut in half. When viewed together with the fact that many nursing home advocates had feared that Medicaid rates could be cut by as much as 15% — as opposed to the 2.7% by which they actually were cut — many have connected the dots and seen a deal where nursing homes got off easy on both fronts — lower skilled staffing levels and a lower rate cut than anticipated.

Unfortunately, the only real losers in this situation may well end up being the nursing home residents themselves, who unfortunately may have to see the effects of both reduced funding and lower-than-expected skilled service providers. We can certainly hope this isn’t the case, but this may be cautious optimism at best.

You can contact us here 24/7/365 (and we really mean that as we will answer our phone) if you have anyquestions and to learn how we may be able to help you or your loved one who has been a victim of nursing home abuse or neglect  – in particular, you will find that we listen, take your phone calls and e-mails (and even text messages!). We would be honored to help you with your matters – large or small.

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