Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf has warned that Republican efforts to cap Medicaid funding would cost the state billions of dollars, and that might impact senior citizens in nursing homes.
According to the state Department of Health, there are about 700 nursing homes in the commonwealth but only 18 counties still operate their own facilities –half of the total from just 13 years ago. In the past three weeks, two southwestern Pennsylvania counties agreed to get out of the nursing home business.
On June 30, Washington County agreed to sell its nursing home to Premier Healthcare Management. Two days later, Premier completed its purchase of Armstrong County’s nursing home.
According to Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, “there’s no movement right now” to sell off the county’s four Kane nursing homes-- in the city's Glen Hazel neighborhood, McKeesport, Ross and Scott townships
“Some of the smaller counties that don't necessarily have the economies of scale [that Allegheny County does] probably were reaching a point where their costs were exceeding what they probably felt comfortable to take care of,” said Fitzgerald.
On average, there are about 1,000 residents combined in the four Kane nursing homes. According to the Department of Health, four of every five residents qualify for Medicaid.
The budget for the four Kane facilities is $80 million.
“We get reimbursed, relatively the entire thing," Fitzgerald said. "We might run maybe a million dollars that we have to kick in.”
Fitzgerald said because of the uncertainty about the repeal and replacement of Obamacare and the impact on Medicaid, he’s keeping a close eye on Washington.
“I think the whole health care funding situation is right now a little bit unclear,” Fitzgerald said. “So we will continue to make you know decisions to try to protect people in Allegheny County as best we can. And again for the foreseeable future the Kanes look to be in good shape.”