Gov. Lamont announces Medicaid rate increase for nursing homes during coronavirus pandemic

Connecticut

HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH)– Governor Ned Lamont has announced measures his administration is taking to support the state’s long-term facilities, staff and residents during the coronavirus pandemic.

On Friday, he announced that effective immediately, all 213 nursing homes in the state are receiving a 10 percent increase in Medicaid payments to help meet the costs from this public health emergency.

According to Lamont, the payment will be applied toward “employee wages, including staff retention bonuses, overtime, and shift incentive payments; and new costs related to screening of visitors, personal protective equipment, and cleaning and housekeeping supplies.”

The funding increase will run through June 30, with an initial payment of $11.6 million scheduled to be received by nursing homes on April 7, bringing the three month increase to a total of $35.3 million.

Governor Lamont released the following statement on the increase:

“We will do everything possible to protect the health and safety of our family, friends and neighbors in nursing homes – and the health and safety of the faithful, dedicated and skilled staff members who care for them. Together with nursing home industry and union representing many of the men and women on the front line of care, my administration is working on a number of levels to support and fund high-quality health care services during this pandemic and beyond.”

Governor Ned Lamont

Long-term care facilities that are specializing in care for residents with coronavirus will be eligible for $600 per-day payments for each person served, doubling the average daily Medicaid payment rate.

The state is also offering to assist with start-up costs and to make the same $600 per-day payment to facilities that are designated by Department of Health to re-open for residents with COVID-19 who need nursing home level of care.

The decision came after several nursing homes were struggling to make rent and treat those with COVID-19.

“Some of our COVID patients in those nursing homes will go to a COVID specific nursing home or specific wing to make sure there’s no cross-contamination,” Lamont said.

Paul Lisstro, CEO of two nursing homes and one retirement community in the state, says the problem with the governor’s plan, is time.

“What we suggested to the government is that we have a isolated, dedicated facility. But it’s now four weeks later and they’ve just put out guidance…and the fact of the matter is that the guidance is not good,” Lisstro said.

Going into the peak of the epidemic, he says it’s going to take days to remove patients from one home to another. He says the Medicaid increase is still not enough to cover the overhead for most nursing facilities.

While health officials are not confirming how many residents are testing positive in the facilities, News 8 has confirmed that nearly half of the residents in Milford’s Golden Hill Rehab Pavilion have tested positive.

For further information about the Medicaid rate increases for all nursing homes, click here.

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