Letter: Elderly care hangs in the balance with SB 308

Published: 5/15/2019 12:01:23 AM

Since 1948 we have proudly served the unique health care needs of our elderly across New Hampshire through facility- and faith-based care at our various skilled nursing facilities statewide.

A lot has changed in 70-plus years, but never has the future of the sector as a whole – and the ability to care for our growing elderly population – hung in the balance like it does today.

Many today arrive in nursing homes bereft of resources, having spent their money receiving home care or living in an assisted-living facility. They are on Medicaid. And maintaining quality, and our mission, cannot be done indefinitely so long as New Hampshire ranks the worst in New England in the gap between Medicaid care costs and payments. It makes it increasingly difficult to recruit and retain staff.

In effect, the state has balanced its budget on the backs of our dedicated caregivers, predominantly women serving one of the nation’s most-elderly nursing home populations.

In Concord, a bipartisan bill, Senate Bill 308, would make workforce investments, including the provision of long-overdue Medicaid rate increases. The bill is not only compassionate but economically necessary if there is to be a future for long-term care in the nation’s second-oldest state.

As Pope Francis has said: “We are all a little fragile, the elderly. Some, however, are particularly weak, many are alone, and affected by illness. Some depend on the indispensable care and attention of others. Will we take a step back for this? Will we abandon them to their fate?”

TOM BLONSKI

Manchester

(The writer is president and CEO of Catholic Charities New Hampshire.)




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