Legislators must make some difficult budget decisions, but caring for our seniors, veterans and people with disabilities must be their first priority.

Legislators must make some difficult budget decisions, but caring for our seniors, veterans and people with disabilities must be their first priority.

Medicaid supports the medical care of more than 60 percent of Missouri’s nursing home residents. The cost of their care is well document. Yet state general revenues only pay an average of 10 percent, or $15.26, per person for daily care.

This represents an underfunding of  $25 per person per day.  This shortfall is making it impossible for nursing homes to sustain the highly regulated round-the-clock daily care that is mandated and necessary to properly care for these citizens. The state cannot operate at a deficit and neither can nursing home providers.

These Missourians worked hard, raised families and actually paid taxes to support the system that they now need to help with their medical care. Many have simply outlived their resources and now have chronic conditions such as COPD, Alzheimer’s and cancer. There is no other place for them to get the long-term, specialized acute care that they require. 

Missouri must find a permanent solution to address the funding gap in the Medicaid reimbursement rate. Our seniors already have given up their home. They shouldn’t be forced to give up their communities, too.

Charlotte Layman Climax Springs