Proposed Medicaid Cuts Will Cause ‘Real Harm’

by Talk Business & Politics staff ( 1 views 

John Lyon with our content partner, the Arkansas News Bureau, focuses on the Level 3 nursing home cuts proposed by Gov. Mike Beebe (D) to reign in a projected Medicaid shortfall.

The nursing home funding cutback would impact people like L.R. Petty in Charleston, Arkansas.

From Lyon's report:

L.R. Petty is able to recognize his wife and other immediate family members, but otherwise he is virtually a blank slate.

Petty, 87, remembers nothing about his life before being admitted to Greenhurst Nursing Center in Charleston in June 2011 after suffering the second of two strokes six months apart. He is often confused and sometimes has trouble feeding himself.

“When he was at home, before he came out here, he would want to get up in the middle of the night and go do things,” said his wife of 66 years, Sue Petty of Lavaca. “I have congestive heart failure. I’m not physically able to care for him.”

L.R. Petty is receiving what Medicaid classifies as Level 3 nursing home care, the lowest of three tiers of nursing home care for which the state Medicaid program provides benefits. Gov. Mike Beebe has proposed eliminating the benefits, along with equivalent benefits for people in in-home care, as part of a plan to address a looming shortfall in the state Medicaid budget.

“I have no idea what we’d do. I cannot take care of him at home,” Sue Petty said. “We’d be in one big mess.”

Beebe proposed these cuts along with others, including skipping inflationary increases for Medicaid reimbursements, eliminating ARHealthNetworks and adult dental services, and curtailing in-home and community-based care.

Earlier this week, he found additional revenue through a revised rosier budget forecast that will help close the multi-million dollar Medicaid funding gap.

Rich Huddleston, executive director of Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families, was a guest on this week's edition of Talk Business.  Huddleston shared his thoughts on the Medicaid debate, which you can view below.