- Associated Press - Sunday, July 3, 2016

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - North Dakota’s nursing homes and other long-term care facilities are bracing themselves for diminished funding at the beginning of next year.

Nursing facilities in the state stand to lose at least $25.1 million next year as a result of Gov. Jack Dalrymple’s mandated budget cuts, North Dakota Long Term Care Association president Shelly Peterson, told the Bismarck Tribune (http://bit.ly/297x5b7 ). The association has determined that each facility stands to lose about 5 percent in overall revenue, ranging from $73,000 to $1.2 million.

As a result, some facilities are exploring cost-savings measures and other ways to grow revenue, with administrators looking at what they can do between now and when the budget cuts go into effect in January. No facilities are expected to close, but many will have to cut spending or dip into their savings.

Although the majority of spending in nursing homes is staff, Peterson said cutting staff isn’t an ideal option.

“We fear having to cut back on staff because we need them. It’s the last place that we should be cutting back,” she said.

But many facilities likely will be forced to cut staff wages or the number of employees because there’s nowhere else to cut.

Members of the Long Term Care Association and representatives of nursing homes are meeting with lawmakers to discuss the impacts of the cuts and how to get funding restored next session.

Republican Rep. George Keiser, of Bismarck, said at a meeting in May with nursing home administrators that all state agencies are “making adjustments.”

“We’re going to come into session and everybody’s going to be in a difficult position,” he said. “Everyone.”

Peterson said the Long Term Care Association will continue to monitor quality of care within nursing homes as a result of the budget cuts.

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Information from: Bismarck Tribune, http://www.bismarcktribune.com

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