Judge denies parts of nursing home lawsuit

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A federal judge has denied an injunction in the CT Association of Health Care Facilities’ lawsuit against the state, but the lawsuit is moving forward. The nursing homes had asked for an injunction to stop $300 million in cuts scheduled over the next two years; the state asked the court to throw out the entire suit. The nursing homes argue that the state’s system of payments underfunds them by $100 million, considers only finances and ignores the quality of care, and violates federal law. About two thirds of nursing home revenues are paid by Medicaid program with payment levels set by the state. In total, nursing homes cost CT $2.5 billion/year; 22 homes have closed since 2002, in part because of low Medicaid reimbursements. The judge also removed Governor Rell as a named defendant in the suit leaving only Commissioner Mike Starkowski. The association contended that the Governor has an important role in setting the state budget and, consequently, for underfunding nursing homes.
A recent study found that CT relies more heavily on nursing home care for fragile seniors and people with disabilities than other states, costing an additional $900 million/year. Other state Medicaid program regulations and administration make accessing care in the community easier. Almost 80% of CT residents would prefer to receive care in the community rather than a nursing home.
Ellen Andrews