SNF Closures Continue, Your Voice is Crucial to Stabilizing Community Care

SNF Closures Continue, Your Voice is Crucial to Stabilizing Community Care

As the news of more SNF closures continues, member involvement becomes more imperative. As our strategy moving into the 2020 legislative gains traction, we need to continue to increase support from key legislators.

By the department’s own estimates, the current shortfall of skilled nursing rates to costs of care is an estimated $130 million in total funds.  This is unsustainable and requires an immediate and significant boost in funding. 

LeadingAge Washington and WHCA continue to push for annual rebasing and the application of an inflation factor to upwardly adjust the underlying base year costs.  These two needed mechanism are critically important to reducing what can be as much as a 42 month lag in rates compared to increasing costs driven largely by escalating minimum wage pressures.  When rates lag behind costs by 42 months, or even 18 months immediately following a rebase adjustment, skilled nursing facilities simply cannot compete for licensed nursing staff and CNAs that are essential in meeting the care needs of residents.  Members are closing wings, taking beds off line and some have closed in the face of these pressures. 

LeadingAge and WHCA have continued messaging the media and working with other stakeholders including AARP, SEIU, Ombuds, and others, to grow awareness and broader public support for SNF funding in the 2020 session.  In a recent meeting with Senator O’Ban, he committed to support annual rebasing and use of an inflation factor to improve funding and begin to stabilize care.  He will also hold a press conference to discuss the SNF closures and how these closures are disrupting the lives of residents and their families in the community. We are working to ensure that affected families are also at his press conference to describe their own experiences and the hardships they’ve faced and continue to endure. 

Importantly, we’re developing a public media campaign and “grasstops” strategy that involves our members.  We’ve identified key legislators and matched them with constituent providers and are urging them to meet with these legislators and tell their own stories and the immediate need for improved Medicaid funding.

Although certain legislators have been prioritized for these conversations, it is important that all legislators understand the crisis you face and are prepared to support increased funding in the upcoming supplemental budget and passage of the implementing policy bill to rebase and inflate.  If you have not already done so, please reach out to your legislators to schedule meetings, especially those of you in targeted districts and who were recently contacted by us. If you are unsure if you are in a targeted district, please contact Alyssa. We will continue to reach out to our SNF members to provide needed support in scheduling these meetings and to provide you with any tools and talking points to make them successful visits. 

If you would like to read more about the most recent SNF closure, you can find the article here.

Thank you