Nursing home administrators critical of provider rate study

EMILY SCHABACKER

The consulting company under contract with the state health department to assess Medicaid rate shortfalls painted a rather rosy, if not thoroughly impracticable, picture for the future of nursing homes. Administrators, however, resolutely stated that the projections for the industry were not based in reality.

In fact, those administrators had a number of glaring concerns regarding how the rate study was carried out, voicing their objections at the last work session before the finalized document is released in October.

While the Medicaid reimbursement rate has fallen short in Montana for years, since 2021 there has been a severe disconnect between the Medicaid rate and the new expenses brought on by the pandemic including skyrocketing labor costs, workforce shortages and infection control expenses.

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At least seven nursing homes in Montana permanently closed their doors this year, displacing dozens of elderly citizens. Nursing home administrators and advocates pleaded with the Governor’s Office and the Department of Health and Human Services to provide short term support until the Medicaid rate can be addressed in the 2023 legislative session.

But rather than providing funds, Governor Greg Gianforte promised a provider rate

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