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LeadingAge Wisconsin applauds investment in Medicaid long-term care

Governor should now make it Wisconsin law

A combination of workforce challenges, inadequate Medicaid rates and facility closures have jeopardized the future viability of our skilled nursing facilities and access to high quality care and services. In fact, Wisconsin has seen 11 nursing facilities close since January 2019 and 30 nursing facilities have closed since 2016.

These challenges were fully recognized and positively addressed last week by the Wisconsin State Legislature. The Legislature made significant investments in long-term care (LTC) programs and services for skilled nursing facilities and Family Care providers.

The budget passed by the State Legislature provides $233.7 million in State funding for long-term care as part of the 2019-21 State Budget bill. For facility-based providers, that represents a $154 million increase in funding to support increased Medicaid reimbursement rates for nursing home and Family Care providers.

This significant two-year investment will help tremendously in addressing historically inadequate Medicaid rates that have contributed to nursing facility closures and challenges in recruiting and retaining high quality caregivers. Wisconsin is experiencing high levels of caregiver vacancy rates, with a recent survey finding that 1 in 5 caregiver positions remain vacant.

Providers across the long-term care continuum thank legislators for their actions and making this a priority in the Wisconsin State Budget. We also thank Governor Evers for his support in addressing the direct care workforce challenges.

This comprehensive funding package has now passed both the State Assembly and State Senate, and we respectively ask Governor Evers to make this significant commitment to long-term care Wisconsin law.

Wisconsin is the leader in so many things, and the funding provided in this state budget shows that Wisconsin can also lead in supporting a generation of people who have done so much to shape our lives, our state, and our country.

Wisconsin LTC providers are committed to providing exceptional care to our mothers and fathers, grandparents, brothers and sisters. We believe that Governor Evers shares that commitment. We hope Governor Evers demonstrates his commitment by making these funding increases Wisconsin law.

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John Sauer is the President and CEO of LeadingAge Wisconsin. LeadingAge Wisconsin is comprised of more than 200 non-profit member organizations, including nursing homes, facilities for the developmentally disabled, independent and assisted living facilities, and community service agencies. Statewide, LeadingAge Wisconsin members employ over 38,000 people who provide compassionate care to more than 48,000 individuals daily.

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