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Nursing home levy bill heads to Rendell

The Associated Press

HARRISBURG — The state House of Representatives on Monday unanimously approved and sent to Gov. Ed Rendell a measure to impose a levy on nursing homes, which Rendell has sought to attract additional federal aid.

The Senate approved the measure 45-3 on Sept. 22.

The state Department of Public Welfare has proposed collecting $252 million in assessments from 601 nursing homes and other long-term care facilities so that the state can receive an additional $344 million in federal Medicaid matching funds.

Administration officials have warned that without the assessments and matching funds, the nursing homes would see Medicaid reimbursements cut 7.6 percent in the coming fiscal year.

Rendell’s spokeswoman, Kate Philips, said that while the governor has supported the nursing home assessment, he would have to evaluate the bill before signing it.

Forty-one county homes and 105 nursing homes would be exempt from the assessment because they do not participate in Medicaid and would therefore be ineligible for the federal matching money. The administration will apply for a waiver of a federal Medicaid rule that requires such assessments to be imposed across-the-board.

Welfare department officials have said that in most cases, the assessment would not be passed along to nursing home residents. Officials have estimated that about 26 of the 601 nursing homes would pay out more than they will get back, collectively losing about $1.67 million.


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