The SDAHO post-acute care council met in Madison, SD on October 5th as part of their routine meeting schedule; however, this meeting included special guests and senators. With six nursing homes already closing this year and the workforce crisis causing many post-acute care providers to limit services, South Dakota lawmakers have a decision to make on priorities for the 2023 legislative session. Tammy Hatting, SDAHO COO and South Dakota State Executive for LeadingAge, along with Isaac Gerdes, the chair of the council, facilitated this meeting between providers and legislators to share concerns regarding workforce, Medicaid rates, infrastructure, uncompensated care, assisted living tiers, high acuity residents, Medicare advantage denials, challenges with discharge planning, housing, closures and inflation.
When nursing homes close, it has an impact on the entire community and the continuum of care. Many nursing homes are not accepting new residents due to a shortage of staff which puts more pressure on our hospitals and home health providers. Economically, at the current Medicaid reimbursement rate, it is not sustainable to have a Medicaid payor mix over 50% and rising costs leave no room for capital investment, where today, 70% of South Dakota’s nursing homes are over 50 years old and need to be upgraded to meet today’s infection prevention and satisfaction expectations.
The Council expressed gratitude for the previous increase in the Medicaid rate and is hopeful that the rate methodology workgroup recommendation will result in a higher percentage of covering costs, which is currently at 70.57 percent. As we look to the next legislative session kicking off in January, SDAHO will continue to bring members and legislators together to advocate for post-acute care services.