Proposed Health Care Cuts Would Hurt Nursing Homes

By Justin Moss

July 22, 2010 Updated Mar 15, 2007 at 7:18 PM EDT

Administrator Betty Frandsen is on edge.

New York's proposed budget could have a big impact on nursing homes like Bridgewater in Binghamton.

During his state of the state address, Governor Eliot Spitzer explained why he wants to cut Medicaid spending.

"These are dollars that we have made an affirmative decision not to spend on education, tax cuts, infrastructure," says Spitzer.

Governor Spitzer's proposal would mean more than a 500 thousand dollar loss in Medicaid payments to Bridgewater.

Frandsen says that would probably mean staff cuts.

"The regulations require us every year to do more and more with less and less and after a while you just get to a breaking point where you just can't give any more for less," says Bridgewater Administrator Betty Frandsen.

Michael Keenan runs Good Shepherd-Fairview home in Binghamton.

He says nursing homes will close if the governor's budget passes.

"We're going to go back to the 1970s where people are going to be in hospitals, because there's not a bed available in long-term care," says Keenan.

Broome County owned Willow Point Nursing Home stands to lose around 700 thousand dollars under the governor's proposal.

Willow Point has faced cuts in other years, but each time the Legislature restored funding.

"Each year, we work hard to prove they should be put back in the budget, but this is a new governor with a new initiative so we have to work a little harder," says Judy Blanding of Willow Point.

The budget is now under review in the state legislature.

And the nursing homes say they're counting on lawmakers to restore the Medicaid money.

This week the state Assembly and Senate each passed a preliminary budget.

Both sides restored some of the healthcare cuts.

The plan is now being debated in both chambers.

A final budget is due April 1st.

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