Sen. Kelly on Nursing Home Closures: “Serious discussion” Needed on Increasing Medicaid Reimbursements

May 24, 2024

Sen. Kevin Kelly, the former co-chair of the legislature’s Aging Committee and an elder law attorney, today issued the following statement about how nursing home closures in Connecticut and throughout New England continue to portend trouble as facilities struggle financially and hospitals face challenges finding post-acute care for patients.

“We can either keep ignoring this issue, do nothing about it and watch it get worse, or we can do our jobs as lawmakers and act. The State of Connecticut Medicaid program underpays health care providers. It has underpaid them for a long time. Chronic underfunding forces nursing homes to shut down. The impacts on patients and their families- as well as skilled health care professionals – is often devastating. Here’s another fact: Reimbursement rates haven’t been adjusted for 15 years. Hard to fathom, but sadly, it’s true. Our seniors deserve better. Caregivers deserve better. The State of Connecticut must do better.

“We made progress on elder care and aging in place policies in the legislature this year. We passed a bill requiring more oversight of home care workers, creating a quicker process for accessing Medicaid and launching a registry to make it easier for people to find caregivers. All of it was positive. All of it had resounding bipartisan support.

“So, let’s keep the momentum going. We must have a serious discussion about increasing Medicaid reimbursements. We must get nursing homes and their staff the resources they need. We must stop setting them up for failure. We must break out of the vicious cycle of nursing home closures. It’s well within our power as lawmakers to change this storyline. This is a reasonable and achievable goal. I am ready to help make that change a reality.”