Bill to stabilize long-term care advances in the Montana Senate
A bill that would insulate nursing homes and assisted living facilities from future financial crises advanced on the Senate floor in a 37-to-13 vote this week.
The bill creates a framework for future funding of senior and long-term care, which has endured an unprecedented financial decline since the start of the pandemic. Eleven rural nursing homes closed across Montana during 2022, forcing elderly to move, sometimes more than once, away from their home towns, friends and families.
Medicare will cover very few days in a skilled nursing facility, leaving the vast majority of senior and long-term care residents as Medicaid users. For every resident on Medicaid, the State of Montana sends reimbursement to the facility that is supposed to cover the cost of care — however, the re-determined rate hasn’t been up to snuff for years.
Carried by Sen. Becky Beard, R-Elliston, Senate Bill 296 establishes regular assessments of the reimbursement rate and how it stands up to inflation. If needed, the assessment would trigger an inflationary adjustment.
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Before the bill passed out of committee earlier this week, members voted on an amendment that added a cap to the