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Fall 2021 Budget Advocacy Talking Points

As we prepare for the rapidly approaching 2022 New York State Legislative Session, it is vital that members are connecting with lawmakers, conveying what you are experiencing in the field, and laying the foundation for our State Fiscal Year (SFY) 2022 budget advocacy. We understand that under current conditions, your time is extremely limited. Still, it is our hope that you might find a few minutes to call and/or email your lawmakers. The below talking points are a guide, but describing the impact on your organization, residents and patients, staff, and community is vital. We do not ask this of you lightly, but we ask because your advocacy and your storytelling are particularly valuable, both in these early stages leading up to “budget season” (January-March) and as you continue to contend with the ongoing pandemic.

Members are strongly encouraged to contact both your State Senator and your Assembly Member to convey your message. Contact information for both offices can easily be found by entering your information here. After you’ve contacted your elected officials, you may share with us any feedback or takeaways you receive by filling out our Advocacy Engagement Form.

Finally, in addition to relaying the below talking points to your lawmakers, we strongly encourage members to set up either virtual or in-person meetings with elected officials in the district before they return to Albany in January. If you would like assistance in setting up a meeting or connecting with electeds in general, please feel free to reach out to Sarah Daly directly at sdaly@leadingageny.org. Sarah is happy to assist you in any advocacy efforts.

 

Fall 2021 Talking Points

  • I am calling you today to urge you to contact the Governor and ask her to take immediate action to address the unprecedented stress that the long term care system and my own organization are currently experiencing.
  • The State has done nothing meaningful to help us care for our residents and patients during the COVID-19 public health crisis. In fact, many State actions have made it harder to do our daily work. New York has imposed Medicaid cuts and additional, unfunded, duplicative mandates that do not actually help us enhance the quality of care for our residents and patients.
  • In fact, in 2020, a year dominated by the pandemic when most states poured funds into the long term care sector, New York cut nursing home rates by $168 million annually and enacted budget legislation aimed at reducing overall long term care spending by $3.5 billion over two years.
  • Since the beginning of the pandemic nearly 20 months ago, we have been working tirelessly to provide the best possible care to our residents/patients with no support or assistance from the State.
  • During the pandemic, the cost of caring for individuals receiving long term care services skyrocketed because of State-mandated staff testing; shortages and inflated prices of personal protective equipment (PPE); and hazard pay, overtime, and shift differentials and other expenses to secure appropriate levels of staffing.
  • While we have received some COVID-19-related financial relief from the federal government, it amounts to only a fraction of the exorbitant costs incurred.
  • Pandemic-related cost increases and recent cuts have only exacerbated existing financial instability among long term care providers due to inadequate Medicaid rates. There has been no cost-of-living increase for long term care providers in 14 years, and over the last four years, New York has cut Medicaid reimbursement of long term care providers by more than $750 million – almost three times the amount cut from any other health care sector.
  • Medicaid funds 72 percent of the care in New York nursing homes. Meanwhile, New York’s Medicaid rate for nursing homes is the worst in the country when the cost of care is compared to payment. Now, New York’s non-profit long term care providers are reaching a breaking point. Not-for-profit and public nursing homes are closing or selling to for-profit companies at an accelerating rate.
  • Unprecedented workforce shortages are contributing to the challenges facing providers and consumers. Across the long term care continuum, many providers have suspended admissions and closed units because they are unable to find sufficient staff. The long-standing lack of funding and support is now explicitly manifesting in lack of care options for our most vulnerable.
  • Please be sure to share specifics of your own organization with lawmakers. What do your finances currently look like? Have you had to close units or stop admissions due to staffing issues? What have you seen happen in your organization in recent months? How are your organization’s current challenges affecting the community at large?
  • We urgently need financial support from the State to bolster our long term care workforce and keep providers financially viable so that older adults in New York will have access to high-quality long term care.

Enter your information below to send a digital advocacy letter to your elected officials, urging the State and Governor to provide financial relief and support to New York's long term care providers!