Ensuring a Secure Future for Pennsylvania’s Elderly: The Case for Increased Long-Term Care Funding

As Pennsylvania’s elderly population grows, the state faces a critical challenge: ensuring that long-term care facilities can continue to provide high-quality services to those who need them most. The recent story from ABC27’s Dennis Owens highlighted the concerning state of long-term care funding in Pennsylvania. It’s clear that without significant changes, our most vulnerable residents may find themselves without the care they desperately need.

At Transitions Healthcare, we witness firsthand the crucial role that adequate funding plays in delivering exceptional care. Our mission is to provide compassionate, individualized care that enhances the quality of life for our residents. However, the current funding shortfall is putting immense pressure on organization like ours across the Commonwealth.

The Funding Shortfall

Owens’ story rightly points out that Pennsylvania reimburses nursing homes at a rate significantly lower than neighboring states. With the cost of care averaging $304.56 per resident per day, the state’s reimbursement rate of $239.37 leaves a substantial gap. This disparity translates to a shortfall of nearly $1 billion per year, a financial strain that many facilities are struggling to bear.

The Human Impact

The human stories shared by Owens underscore the importance of adequate funding. Residents like Gloria and Barbara rely on communities, like Transitions Healthcare Gettysburg, not just for medical care, but for their overall well-being. Gloria, a 100-year-old resident, expressed her gratitude for the care she receives and praised the dedication and professionalism of our staff. However, without increased funding, maintaining this level of care will become increasingly difficult.

Consequences of Inaction

The consequences of inadequate funding are already being felt. In recent weeks, 16 facilities across Pennsylvania have closed or declared bankruptcy. This trend threatens to leave thousands of elderly residents without access to necessary care. As Matt Maurano, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Transitions Healthcare noted, the closure of these facilities creates an access-to-care issue that the state cannot afford to ignore.

Call for Action

At Transitions Healthcare, we believe it is imperative that state lawmakers prioritize funding for long-term care in the upcoming budget. Governor Josh Shapiro’s openness to discussing increased reimbursement rates is a positive step, but it requires concerted action from all stakeholders. Both Democratic and Republican lawmakers have expressed support for addressing this issue, emphasizing the bipartisan nature of this crisis.

Rep. Mike Sturla’s call for the state to “start being responsible for the things that we say we’re going to do” resonates deeply. For nearly a decade, nursing homes have seen flat funding despite rising costs. This is unsustainable and unjust for our aging population who have contributed to our communities throughout their lives.

Investing in Our Elders

Investing in long-term care is not just about meeting financial needs; it is about upholding the dignity and quality of life for our elderly residents. It ensures that organizations like ours can continue to offer excellent care, retain skilled staff, and maintain the infrastructure needed to support our residents.

As we look to the future, Transitions Healthcare urges Pennsylvania’s lawmakers to take decisive action. Increasing funding for long-term care is an investment in the well-being of our elderly population, the integrity of our healthcare system, and the values of our society. We stand ready to work with state officials, advocates like the Pennsylvania Health Care Association (PHCA), and our community to ensure that no elderly resident is left without the care they deserve. The time to act is now, for the sake of our seniors and the future of long-term care in Pennsylvania.

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