Chicago Tribune: Could a State Bed Tax Mean Small Nursing Homes Lose Big?

A nursing home “bed tax” proposed in Illinois is receiving push back from consumer advocates who argue taxpayers should not have to foot the bill for long term care. Proponents of the legislation, which would increase Medicaid payments to nursing homes by nearly 10% by taxing $6.07 per long term care resident, aims to help carry out a nursing home reform law approved in 2010.

The potential losers? Small, independent facilities that lack a substantial proportion of Medicaid patients. Those positioned to gain? Nursing homes with a higher proportion of Medicaid patients. And the state of Illinois, which sees the tax increase bringing in an additional $145 million next year to help pay for nursing home staffing and quality improvements.

The Chicago Tribune reports:

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Passed with Democratic support largely along party lines, the bill is part of a yearlong effort to undo a legacy of violence and abuse in Illinois nursing facilities. Lawmakers acted after a Tribune investigation last year found many poorly staffed facilities were housing dangerous psychiatric patients alongside more vulnerable geriatric and disabled residents, sometimes with deadly consequences.

In July, [Gov. Pat] Quinn signed a sweeping reform law that requires nursing homes to meet more stringent safety standards and will also create an array of smaller, residential programs to provide intensive therapy and supervision for mentally ill patients currently housed in nursing facilities.

The tax is under federal review and is expected to be implemented soon.

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Read the Chicago Tribune article.

Written by Elizabeth Ecker

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