State delays funding cut to nursing homes

Friday, March 11, 2005

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- The state has delayed a planned funding cut to nursing homes to allow time for public comment and a potential reworking of the proposed reduction. Under an emergency rule change that had been scheduled to start next Wednesday, the Department of Social Services would have rolled back most of the rate increase that nursing homes received in July for taking care of patients covered by the government-run Medicaid program. The cuts are necessary because the rate increase ended up costing more money than appropriated in the state budget, and because Gov. Matt Blunt chose not to recommend extra spending to the legislature.

But department spokeswoman Deb Hendricks said Thursday that the agency was withdrawing the emergency rules and instead accepting public comment through March 17. A funding cut to nursing homes still will likely be necessary, but the department is allowing more time to consider the best way to do that, she said.

The department's announcement led to the cancellation Thursday of a hearing by the Legislature's Joint Committee on Administrative Rules, which was to hear a nursing home group's challenge to the proposed emergency rules.

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