Michigan budget cuts could shutter facilitiesPublished 9:08am Monday, October 5, 2009
By AMY MILLER
Michigan News Connection
LANSING – Elderly Michigan residents could have fewer choices for long-term care if Gov. Granholm fails to fulfill a promise to veto some budget cuts.
Nursing home operators are hoping the governor is as good as her word.
Granholm has said she’ll veto cuts that hurt the elderly.
But as it stands, dozens of nursing homes would be forced to cut services and some could close because of proposed cuts to Medicaid payments for doctors and nursing homes.
Mark Stutrud is president of the non-profit Lutheran Social Services, which operates nursing homes in Detroit, Saginaw, Cadillac and Grand Rapids.
He says the cuts approved by lawmakers are discouraging because there is an overall expectation that organizations like Lutheran Social Services will provide care for low-income citizens who are unable to care for themselves, no matter what.
“They don’t have family who can provide that care. They need 24-hour observation, help moving from a chair to a bed, help in getting dressed, help with eating. This is a population that cannot be ignored.”
Granholm says she will make a final decision on vetoes later this week.
Budget cuts would mean about $2 million less for Lutheran Social Services nursing home programs.
Lawmakers passed the budget last week and it awaits action from the governor.
Stutrud says the cuts could mean cutting employees and deferring maintenance for facilities.
“We’re really confused about how the state believes they can cut their agent – us — in providing this care and still be able to care for Michigan’s most vulnerable seniors.”
Stutrud says the Medicaid cuts ultimately could mean fewer available beds and possibly fewer nursing homes for Michigan residents who rely on Medicaid.