Analyst: Medicaid cuts are real, nursing homes preparing for fallout

Analyst: Medicaid cuts are real, nursing homes preparing for fallout
Source: Raycom

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - After testimony from the Senate Finance Committee on Monday, many fear a major health-care disruption is closer to becoming reality. This comes as letters from the Louisiana Department of Health will go out to almost 40,000 Medicaid recipients Thursday, notifying them that the state will no longer pay for their benefits.

The letters will affect those using Medicaid benefits for nursing home care, group homes or home-based services.

FOX 8 political analyst Mike Sherman says it's a harsh reality some maybe haven't come to terms with.

"Without any major structural changes, this is what we're left with until the special session comes to reopen the budget debate," Sherman said.

In practice, Wayne Plaisance, the CEO of Chateau de Notre Dame, said the cuts will not only impact the hundreds of residents within his facilities, but he believes some may be short-sighted in not seeing how the cuts could also leave his workers unemployed and area businesses with significantly less business.

"If you cut all these programs, how many dollars will the state lose as a result of this working through the economy? You're very likely to see we have a worse problem than we started with because we won't have revenue coming into the state because of the cuts we just made," Plaisance said.

Sherman said while some have called the letters scare tactics, these cuts and letters are real, and their impacts will be, as well.

"For Louisianans, this is going to be a nerve-racking couple of weeks as the legislative session ends and the Legislature reconvenes for a special session to figure out what budget we're going to live under next year, to see if an agreement can be reached to stop these cuts before they take effect," he said.

If and when the cuts take effect, Sister Ann with the Chateau de Notre Dame knows she'll have to disappoint more than just her residents.

"We start cutting staff, and they go home and have children to take care of, and families are impacted if we do send the resident back home, because how do I care without a medical background for a vulnerable person?" she said.

LCMC Health Hospital administration is waiting for more answers after the letters go out and from the Legislature before they make any decisions about their retirement community at Woldenberg Village and their employees network-wide.

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