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Greenwich Daily Voice serves Greenwich, CT

Greenwich Nursing Home Fears Debt Ceiling Fallout

GREENWICH, Conn. — If President Obama and Congress fail to an agreement on the federal debt ceiling by the Aug. 2 deadline, the most immediate effects will fall on nursing homes, such as Greenwich’s Nathaniel Witherell Rehabilitation and Nursing Center, said Stephen Walko, chair of the town Board of Estimate & Taxation.

Medicaid and Medicare reimbursements that Nathaniel Witherell relies on may have to be drastically reduced. The two payer sources constitute 75 percent of the center’s total business, Executive Director Allen Brown said.

“If they reduce us by any amount at all it will simply reduce the amount of revenue we get and reduce our profitability or increase our loss,” said Brown. “Most of the nursing homes in Connecticut are not profitable right now so it makes matters worse if either are cut.”

Brown said the center is predicting a possible 11 percent cut in Medicare reimbursements, which would total about $500,000 a year for the center. Medicaid has been paying the same per diem rate since 2007 and costs for care are already higher than reimbursement.

“Everyone in the nursing home business is worried. If income disappears, you either have to have the sources to make it up or transfer the burden to someone else,” said Brown. The burden would fall on the town to make up any difference, said Walko.

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