The Driving for Quality Care RV stopped in Manchester on Wednesday before heading to Massachusetts on its 40-state tour.
The RV stopped at the Manchester Manor Health Care Center to gather signatures for its petition to Congress. The goal of the petition is to urge Congress to pass additional Medicaid funding for the states.
Connecticut’s share is $266 million. The state expected to receive the money and without it there will be a $266 million hole in the 2011 state budget.
Nursing home administrators like Mary Ellen Gaudette said the money is needed to help protect seniors’ access to quality care and to preserve jobs for frontline staff. She said it is a modest extension to get nursing homes through a rough period.
Matthew Barrett, executive director of the Connecticut Association of Health Care Facilities, said that without the money “excellence is unachievable.” At least 40 percent of the Baby Boomer generation is about to turn 65 years old and statistics show the population is less healthy than its predecessor generation, Barrett said.
Yet despite this “there is a lack of commitment to long term care funding,” Barrett said.
He said almost 90 percent of Connecticut’s nursing homes are paid less than the cost of providing service to Medicaid residents and on average they lose about $20.92 per day, per resident.
South Windsor resident Art Dio, whose parents lived at Manchester Manor, called it a “loving and caring facility.” And “stable government funding is critical for it to provide quality care,” he concluded.
Gov. M. Jodi Rell lent her voice to the fight for the Medicaid dollars last week when she joined a conference call with governors from around the nation in urging Congress to pass the funding legislation.
“We are absolutely counting on these funds,” Rell said July 1. “This isn’t like in blind faith that we’ve decided to count on these dollars.”
She said the House and the Senate had passed versions of this bill and the state felt it was in a good position to count on it.
Connecticut’s Congressional delegation supports the funding but there seem to be a handful of Senate Republicans holding it up.
“I’d be happy to pay for it. I just don’t see people on the other side coming up with the votes to pay for it. So you can’t have your cake and eat it to,” U.S. Rep. John B. Larson said on June 1 at a Hartford senior center.
The Medicaid money was not included as part of a package of bills the House passed in late May and the Senate failed to pass a modified version before the July 4 recess.
State Rep. John Geragosian, co-chairman of the legislature’s Appropriations Committee, said Wednesday that it is possible Congress may pass it after the November elections. It is also possible that state revenue will increase enough to cover the $266 million shortfall, but “it’s too early to tell.”