ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - Skilled nursing centers will receive nearly $44 million in additional state funding.
The Georgia Health Care Association CEO Tony Marshall told WALB News 10 the funding is “definitely needed.”
Marshall said the centers’ vulnerable populations, combined with an existing need for more funding before the pandemic, was a perfect storm.
“The Medicaid program has historically paid less than what it costs to provide care for residents in our centers. So, when the pandemic hit during this period and costs went up significantly, those deficits were exacerbated,” Marshall said.
State Medicaid funds nursing centers. A sharp drop in occupancy came when COVID-19 hit.
“There was a significant loss in revenue. Prior to the pandemic, occupancy levels were around 85% statewide and they dropped as low as 67%,” he said.
Many nursing centers are impacted by the recent legislation including, Crisp Regional Rehabilitation Center, Tifton Health and Rehabilitation, Lee County Health and Rehabilitation and several Pruitt Health locations.
Pruitt Health released the following statement:
“We are thankful for the Georgia General Assembly’s support of organizations like PruittHealth that care for our state’s most vulnerable patient populations in the fight against COVID-19. The additional funding provided by the General Assembly is most appreciated, and we stand ready to work with the Georgia Department of Community Health as they develop the details associated with the General Assembly’s proposals.”
Marshall said occupancy levels in centers are now increasing. He expects them to be back to normal in one to two years.