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Funding for nursing facilities among Whitmer budget vetoes

For several weeks now, everyone has heard of the substantial cuts and vetoes made by Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer as part of her rejection of the budget.

One thing you might not have heard is more than $35 million in Medicaid cuts to nursing homes could begin to take effect at any time due to a proposed policy issued by the state.

Twelve Upper Peninsula nursing facilities would lose a combined estimated $1.8 million. Pinecrest Medical Care Facility is estimated to lose approximately $175,000. Together, 27 nursing facilities in the Upper Peninsula urge the governor to rescind this Medicaid policy to avoid the negative impacts it will have on the profession and the seniors we serve.

It is imperative that seniors in the Upper Peninsula have access to quality care. Cuts of this magnitude to nearly half of the facilities in the U.P. will threaten the ability of people to receive the care they need. The staff in our facilities are vital to providing this care, and the lost funding would likely result in a cut to their hours, wages and benefits. In a lot of areas, especially in the Upper Peninsula, the local nursing facility is one of the largest employers. A cut of $200,000 to a single facility would equate to the salaries of approximately four nurses or seven certified nurse aides. Our residents can’t afford to lose these hardworking employees.

It is simply not good public policy to decrease funding that pays health care workers caring for our state’s most vulnerable and sickest population. It is unfair that nursing facility staff — and, in turn, the residents they serve — are being punished because of failed negotiations on the state budget.

We can all agree that the U.P.’s oldest and sickest senior population should not suffer because of disagreements in Lansing. Our seniors deserve better. They deserve care from the best nurses and aides we have in this state. The legislature and the governor must work together to avoid funding decreases that could compromise care to one of Michigan’s most vulnerable populations.

We urge the governor to protect the U.P.’s senior population and rescind this Medicaid policy at once.

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