Nursing homes have been under fire in the news media and expect to take some heat in the upcoming legislative session, but those in the business say there’s more to the story. Nursing home quality has been an issue at the State Capitol the past few sessions. Its profile has been raised by a series of articles by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch outlining a number of problems. Denise Clemonds with the Missouri Association of Homes for the Aging says nursing homes are under extremely critical financial conditions, mainly because Medicaid reimbursement is stuck at 1992 levels. Citizens Memorial Health Care Foundation, headquartered in Bolivar, feels the pinch of running various homes for the elderly. Administrative Director Tim Francka says the cutbacks are real. Costs are rising too, he says, particularly salaries and benefits to attract better personnel. Francka says quality care demands responsibility: consumers demanding it, regulators overseeing it, operators paying for it, and government funding it.
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