Proposed assisted living facility regulations will harm businesses, seniors
Another fall arrives and with it comes proposed regulations from the State of Alaska that will again put at risk our seniors and residents with disabilities across Alaska. We could spend our time getting upset and angry over this same old situation again, but we will instead mount up and fight for those that are not able to fight for themselves. They have spent their energy building and maintaining this wonderful state over the years, and are therefore tired and in need of care themselves.
If the purpose of the new regulations is to get people signed up for welfare programs and be completely dependent on the government, then I guess it is a superb manner in which to accomplish that. The question still remains, however, who will pay for these governmental programs? When the private industry of assisted living exists no more because they are forced to take a 7.5 percent to 60 percent cut in reimbursement while the governmentally-owned and operated homes are given a 284 percent increase in reimbursement, I guess it clarifies which line people will be standing in to get care.
Assisted living is one of the most cost effective tools in the market and gets the greatest “bang for the buck,” so why is the government so set on gnawing off the hand that reaches out to provide such a drastically needed service? If one researches recent history, he or she will find that rates for assisted living homes as well as other provider services have basically been flawed for a variety of reasons throughout the years.
Without boring the general public with details that may or may not interest or make sense to them, the issue is that assisted living home owners cannot accept rates that are lower than what were in existence over 11 years ago for many providers. The industry needs time to work with the department in order to establish rates that adequately, effectively and accurately reflect the model of service being delivered by each category of assisted living home, as well as client levels of care within those categories. In other words, assisted living homes need to be fairly compensated in order to afford to take care of people properly.
The assisted living industry needs the department to extend the comment period from Oct. 1, 2013 for 45 days (until mid-November) so that all providers can have sufficient time to analyze the proposals and their short-term as well as long-term effects. Furthermore, the hold harmless period for all rates needs to be extended until June 30, 2014, so that all assisted living homes can determine whether or not they will be able to remain open and stay in business. If the rates are cut as they are currently proposed to be, many of our most precious citizens will lose the places they live in and consider “home,” because private industry will not be able to operate under such drastic circumstances.
Theresa Briskey is the executive administrator of Marlow Manor Assisted Living in Anchorage.