Federal Funding Swept by Governor’s Office During Health Care Pandemic Crisis

Federal Funding Swept by Governor’s Office During Health Care Pandemic Crisis

From the Desk of Deb Murphy, President/Chief Executive Officer, LeadingAge Washington

LeadingAge Washington continues to be deeply concerned about the pull back of the enhanced FMAP dollars as it impacts all long term care providers, including assisted living, adult day and skilled nursing. 

Skilled nursing facilities continue to need the full enhanced FMAP rate they had been receiving pre July 1st, $29 ppd.  We strongly believe this enhanced add-on should continue until the President and federal government declares the emergency to have ended and ceases to provide states the enhanced FMAP funding. The FMAP add-on is critically needed to support the continued purchase of PPE, cleaning supplies, testing, and ensure uninterrupted and adequate staffing. Providers must continue to build inventory in anticipation of ongoing shortages and prepare for typical flu season to hit, along with likely upticks in COVID cases.  We will very likely experience the same supply challenges we experienced at the start of this year. 

Assisted living have had their enhanced FMAP add-on of $9.31 ppd pulled and adult day are no longer receiving their retainer payments for lost census, equaling 70% of their normal daily rates. These long term care providers are already struggling to survive and many adult day centers are questioning whether they can afford to reopen.  For assisted living, high Medicaid census communities were particularly vulnerable pre-COVID, again due to the chronic and prolonged underfunding of this sector.  Now add the un-funded COVID related costs on top of the sagging Medicaid base rates and we have a weakened and unstable assisted living option for housing and services for our state’s low income seniors. 

The July 1st rate rebase for skilled nursing comes as a result of a hard fought legislative correction to the extreme underfunding of pre-COVID costs of providing daily skilled nursing care. Prior to the rebasing there was an agreed shortfall in funding of nearly $100 million.  The July 1st rate rebase was intended to begin to close this funding gap based on pre-COVID cost analyses.  Skilled nursing facilities continue to be underfunded even after the July 1st rebase.  Again, COVID costs are not factored into the July 1st rates. 

We have been in communication with the Governor’s office, the Legislature, OFM, and DSHS to share with them that the sweeping of the enhanced FMAP dollars couldn’t come at a worse time.  Long term care is no less deserving of resources in waging our battle against this virus than any other health care provider, including hospitals. The lives of seniors and of our caregivers and nurses are no less worthy of protecting than are other health care providers working in other sectors. We will continue to fight for this funding to be restored and retroactive to July 1.




Deb Murphy, MPA, J.D.

President/Chief Executive Officer, LeadingAge Washington


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