Archive for Thursday, August 26, 2010

Petition asks legislators to fund senior medical care

August 26, 2010

— A senior health care facility in Shawnee was the 36th stop for a national petition effort to encourage federal and state governments to support Medicare funding.

The 60-stop, 40-state “Driving for Quality Care” tour is a project of the American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living. It stopped Friday at Sharon Lane Health Services, 10315 Johnson Drive, to recognize U.S. Rep. Dennis Moore, D-Kan., for his support of the extension of federal Medicaid assistance.

The tour also carries a national petition to encourage government officials to provide adequate funding for skilled nursing and rehabilitative care.

Joining the residents of Sharon Lane and seniors from Delmar Gardens in Overland Park for the event were Moore, state Rep. Cindy Neighbor, D-Shawnee, and Cindy Luxem, president of the Kansas Health Care Association.

Angela Moore, administrator at Sharon Lane, said passage of an extension for Medicare funding doesn’t mean the work is done in ensuring adequate funding for facilities such as Sharon Lane. Health care reform signed into law in February would cut almost $15 billion nationally to Medicare recipients in the next 10 years.

“This, coupled with Medicaid rate shortfalls, makes it very difficult to maintain quality, stable staff and to continue to maintain quality improvement programs that we have in place today,” Angela Moore said.

She said Medicare and Medicaid programs provided more than 80 percent of Sharon Lane’s budget.

“Facilities like ours across the nation are the backbone to our health care system, and we deserve and our residents deserve to be treated that way when it comes to Medicare/Medicaid funding,” she said.

Dennis Moore discussed the importance of Medicaid and states’ difficulty in funding the program. At the federal level, Medicaid extensions have been passed, including the Aug. 11 passage of the Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP).

“But we need states to realize how very, very important Medicaid is,” he said. “We should ensure that increases in FMAP funding continue to keep pace with our economy because if we don’t, we’re likely to let people in need of assistance slip through the cracks and that should not happen. That’s not acceptable.”

Luxem said too many seniors needed the type of care provided by facilities like Sharon Lane for state and federal governments to fail at providing funding.

“The bottom line is that stable and consistent Medicare and Medicaid funding is directly linked to what we do,” she said. “We have to call upon our leaders … to say, ‘You must listen to us; the seniors, we need help. We need to have your assistance; we have to figure this mess out.’”

Winnie “Steve” Mills, 89, a World War II veteran and current resident at Sharon Lane, spoke about the quality of care he receives and the importance of the care for seniors like him.

“For those who are 54, 64 — some day you’ll get there and then you’ll wonder, ‘What will I do now?’” he said.

Luxom said Sharon Lane was selected as the 36th stop among other such facilities in the third district because she had worked closely with Angela Moore in the past and knew it to be a good example of a facility that benefits from Medicare funding to provide quality care for seniors.

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