Indiana Lawmakers, Developers Clash Over Potential SNF Moratorium

Concerned that the building boom of new skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) in Indiana is costing the state millions, lawmakers and some nursing home industry advocates are once again pushing for a moratorium on new construction for these properties in 2015, reports Indianapolis Business Journal.

However, some SNF developers and others in the construction industry strongly oppose the potential implementation of such a moratorium.

Since Indiana’s last nursing home building ban ended in 2008, IBJ notes that more than 5,000 new beds for patients needing skilled nursing care have been added—or are being added—at nursing homes throughout the state.

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Putting a halt on new SNF construction will be important, according to Sen. Pat Miller, R-Indianapolis, who will propose a three-year moratorium on nursing home construction when the Indiana General Assembly reconvenes for its 2015 session Jan. 6.

Miller urges that every extra dollar spent on nursing home facilities is a dollar the state cannot spend on home- and community-based care for seniors.

The 27 new nursing homes that opened or began construction in 2014, plus another 10 slated for the next year or so, will cost the state an estimated $24 million in additional payments from Medicaid, according to an analysis by accounting firm Myers & Stauffer.

The analysis, which was issued this month by the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration, finally brings a precise figure to the spending argument—something advocates of the moratorium plan to use as ammunition for their debate.

Skeptics of the moratorium, like Rep. Todd Huston, R-Fishers, question just how much the state could save via a moratorium.

“The problem for me all along was, no one could give me a definitive number as far as costs to the state,” Huston said to IBJ. “And yet it was clear to me that the economic development impacts [of halting nursing home construction] were real.”

Opposition to the moratorium, dubbed “rebels of the nursing home industry” by IBJ, include Carmel, Indiana-based Mainstreet; Louisville-based Trilogy Health Services and Life Care Services of Des Moines, Iowa.

Despite the roughly 2,200 skilled beds that either opened or started construction in 2014, they represent just 4.3% of the state’s existing 50,000 skilled nursing beds.

Read more at IBJ.

Written by Jason Oliva

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