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The representatives of the 20th legislative district announced today they will be introducing budget resolutions to prevent impending Medicaid cuts targeted to nursing homes in the FY 2012 budget. If passed, the Governor’s budget plan would cut $70 million in state aid from reimbursements, aid to special nursing facilities, and would not account for inherent inflationary budget increases. This would lead to a subsequent loss of an additional $70 million in matching federal funds.

“New Jersey is facing a truly challenging financial dilemma right now,” said Senator Raymond Lesniak (D-Union). “However, these cuts would have profoundly negative consequences for our state’s ill, disabled, and elderly nursing home residents and the dedicated nursing home employees. It is wrong to saddle these people with the burden of fixing the state’s fiscal problems.”

Since 2005, there have been $425 million in cuts to Medicaid reimbursements, despite a nursing home provider tax levy that supplements the state treasury with $136 million each year. The 2012 cuts will place a variety of stresses on nursing homes throughout the state, forcing a decrease in nursing home admission rates, and cuts to staff pay and/or personnel.

“These cuts could lead to more costs for the state down the road,” warned Assembly Majority Leader Joseph Cryan. “Displaced caregivers may seek to collect unemployment benefits from the state, and patients who are denied nursing home admission may be forced to seek emergency care in hospitals at an exponentially higher cost to the state. Additionally, the cut in state funding means New Jersey will lose the federal matching funds, doubling the losses for these facilities, their employees, and their patients. We simply cannot afford to leave that money on the table.” In all, these cuts would affect 88,000 nursing home workers and patients.

“These cuts are counter-productive in every way” stated Assemblywoman Annette Quijano. “Once again, the Governor is using the banner of ‘shared sacrifice’ to end programs that are crucial to our state’s vulnerable populations. Solutions to our budget problems exist, but not through raiding the nursing homes of our state’s sick and elderly.”