March 1, 2022

$27 MILLION TO SUPPORT NURSING FACILITIES MOVES FORWARD

DENVER, CO – The House Public and Behavioral Health and Human Services Committee today passed legislation sponsored by Representatives Leslie Herod and Julie McCluskie to provide an additional $27 million to skilled nursing facilities that are Medicaid providers.

“Skilled nursing facilities in Colorado and across the country are facing staffing challenges and funding shortfalls, which is why we are taking swift action to stabilize nursing facilities in Colorado,” said Rep. Leslie Herod, D-Denver. “We are going to distribute $27 million in state and federal funds to nursing facilities to keep them from closing so thousands of Coloradans aren’t forced out of where they live.”

“The pandemic has taken an enormous toll on Colorado’s nursing facilities, and some are now at risk of closing because Medicaid reimbursement rates are so low and their costs have increased,” said JBC Chair Julie McCluskie, D-Dillon. “Nurses who care for Medicaid patients in skilled nursing facilities have been through so much the last two years and are vastly underpaid. We need to make sure we have the nursing workforce necessary to care for the patients with the greatest need, and this bill will help. We’re moving quickly to shore up our nursing facilities so that Coloradans won’t lose access to affordable skilled nursing options.”

HB22-1247, sponsored by Representatives Herod and McCluskie, passed by a vote of 12-1 and would direct additional payments to skilled nursing facilities that are Medicaid providers to help them address staffing shortages, provide quality care and support their short term solvency. State funding would be matched by federal dollars, bringing the total additional funding for nursing homes to $27 million. The bill also instructs the Department of Health Care Policy and Financing to seek additional opportunities to draw down federal funds. The legislation also requires the department to establish reporting and result tracking requirements.

Nursing facilities across Colorado, especially those with Medicaid patients, have faced funding and staffing challenges, and some have struggled to stay open. At the same time, nurse staffing agencies and travel nursing agencies have been able to attract providers with higher wages than what facilities that care for Medicaid clients can pay, exacerbating the staffing challenges at nursing facilities that are Medicaid providers.