Photo: Jeffrey Smith (Flickr)
The Senate has passed two bills pressing the pause button on nursing home construction, and the House has passed one.
But negotiators need to agree on the details, including how long that pause should last. The Senate has proposed two years, while the House trimmed that to one.
The state reimburses nursing homes for taking Medicaid patients, but at a lower rate than they receive from private clients. With hundreds of empty beds statewide, supporters argue both the state and nursing home operators are losing money. The Medicaid rate is lower than homes receive from private patients.
House Public Health Chairman Ed Clere, D-New Albany, says as more new homes open, they pull more of those private patients away, leaving homes operating even further below capacity, with the older homes stuck with the less profitable portion of their patient mix.
“Owners and operators need the confidence,” Clere says. “They’re not going to make that investment only to find that the higher-paying portion of their payer mix goes out to the edge of town to the new facility.”
Nursing home developers argue the moratorium interferes with the free market.
Todd Huston, R-Fishers, says the pause would slam the brakes on an expanding industry and block the creation of hundreds of jobs.
“We are looking at losing tens of millions of dollars because w’ere concerned about potential costs to the state,” Huston says.