Louisiana’s Department of Health will begin sending nursing home eviction notices Thursday to more than 30,000 residents who could lose Medicaid under the budget passed by the state House of Representatives.
Department of Health spokesman Bob Johannessen said:
“The Louisiana Department of Health is beginning the process of notifying all impacted enrollees that some people may lose their Medicaid eligibility, The goal of the department is to give notice to all affected people as soon as possible in order that they begin developing their appropriate plans.”
Gov. John Bel Edwards’ (D) staff has planned a press conference Wednesday for more details, a day before the notices are set to be mailed to 37,000 Medicaid recipients in nursing homes or other long-term care facilities.
Mark Berger, executive director of the Louisiana Nursing Home Association, during testimony at the Senate Finance Committee meeting on Monday said:
“(The Department of Health) told us they’re sending out the letters May 10.”
According to the News Star, the budget passed by the House and sent to the Senate contains deep cuts to healthcare because of a shortfall of between $550 million and $648 million, depending on who’s doing the calculations.
In Louisiana, the issue was front and center in the state Senate Finance Committee, which was hearing public testimony on the budget sent to it by the House for most of the eight hours the panel met.
Sen. Regina Barrow, (D-Baton Rouge), commented:
“This sounds like mass chaos, very troublesome.”
And Sen. Greg Tarver, (D-Shreveport), noted:
“What type of people are we in Louisiana if we put people out who built Louisiana? “This is horrible.”
The budget for the next fiscal year begins in July, and that’s when the evictions could greatly escalate.
Laurie Boswell, chief executive of Holy Angels in Shreveport, which supports long-term residential care for people with developmental and intellectual disabilities, said:
“This is our cry for help, There is no place for them to go.”
If the $230 million in Medicaid cuts remain intact, more than 25,000 people could potentially lose their jobs in the nursing home industry.
Sen. Bodi White, (R-Baton Rouge), said he believes sending the notification to nursing home residents and others in long-term residential care is premature:
“I don’t see how in good conscience they can do that to these older folks.”
The Governor wants to end the ongoing Regular Session early and convene another Special Session to try again.
Sen. Bret Allain, (R-Franklin) commented:
“This budget may have to come out as it is hoping we get more revenue.”
House Speaker Taylor Barras, (R-New Iberia), and Senate President John Alario, (R-Westwego), have agreed on the concept of ending early to form a Special Session in mid-May, but they don’t yet have a solid commitment one will be held.
All of this is frustrating the governor.
Last week Gov. Edwards said:
“Nothing is more important than fixing this budget and we can’t do that in the Regular Session.”
Check out the video of Gov. Edwards talking about Fiscal Year 2018:
Video and image from Bayoubuzz newsletter on YouTube