Letters to the Editor

Health care: Nursing homes facing disaster

Recently we have all heard of the state’s budget shortfall of around $1.5 billion. In the past few weeks there have been many newspaper articles addressing Governor Locke’s proposed budget cut for nursing homes. I would like to clarify a few points on which some newspapers, unfortunately, have given incorrect information.

First off, the budget cuts that Governor Locke is proposing would cost Careage of Whidbey around $20,000 a month and not $20,000 a year as stated in a prior edition of this paper.

Next while the state did give the long term providers $4 million to enhance the low income wage earner, what this actually came to be for Careage was $800, or $.09 per hour raise increase. Our facility did not pocket that money as many newspapers have stated facilities did, but we chose to use that money for a bonus to our employees that come to work on their day off. With the current funding Careage receives for our residents on Medicaid we already have to pay an additional $11 per day, per resident (over half of our residents are on Medicaid) more than the state provides. Any further cuts to Medicaid funding would be disastrous to our elderly community and those that provide their care.

The governor, along with the Senate and House, need to make sure their priorities are in place and that the elder population of this state is given great consideration to the care they deserve and require.

Kevin Jorgensen

administrator, Careage of Whidbey

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