Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Letter to the Editors

You might be interested in reading my letter to the editors of our local newspapers. Here it is:

Recently both The Leader and the Peninsula Daily News had articles on the decision by Assisted Living Concepts (ALC) to cancel their Medicaid contract which is tantamount to eviction of the residents living there who rely on Medicaid to assist in covering the cost of their care. Reporters contacted Laurie Bebo, President and CEO of ALC for her comments. Ms. Bebo indicated that the main reason for the decision was that there are residents who require skilled nursing care and have refused to move to another setting. I would like to respond to that accusation.

RCW 70.129.110 provides for the discharge of residents. I won’t bore you by quoting the law but it requires facilities to permit residents to remain in the facility unless certain requirements are met. One of the reasons that a resident may be discharged is if their needs cannot be met in the facility. Before the facility discharges a resident they must attempt to avoid the discharge through reasonable accommodations and a 30 day notice is required if accommodations do not resolve the problem. Believe me, if ALC had sufficient reason to discharge residents they claim should not be in their facility, they would have done so.

It just so happens that several of the residents who will be evicted are outspoken about the shortcomings of the facility. Can you say R-E-T-A-L-I-A-T-I-O-N?

Bebo states that the low reimbursement rate is not the reason for ALC’s decision, but I would like to speak to that issue. The reimbursement rate IS too low. There has not been a substantial increase in many years. The reimbursement rate does not cover the cost of providing care for residents. There are many good providers who have elected not to accept Medicaid residents for that reason. Action by the State Legislators is badly needed to correct this situation. Please contact your representatives and ask them to attend to this matter.

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