McKnights: As goes Texas?

For nearly a year and half, Texas nursing home operators have been waiting for the moment before them: the early days of the most promising legislative session in nearly a decade.

What happens to Medicaid rates there between now and the end of May, when lawmakers will leave Austin until 2025, could either save or sink skilled nursing providers. But what happens in Texas surely won’t stay in Texas.

Big expectations for a long-awaited and significant increase in the state’s daily reimbursement rate also have been driving excitement among major owners and investment companies.

The big guys like Sabra and Ensign are all-but banking on better days in the Lone Star State, even as the nation faces continued talk of possible recession. If lawmakers don’t hit the targets these major players have set internally, we could see resources pulled from Texas and diverted to more provider-friendly states.

And if Texas denies providers a substantial rate increase, they likely won’t be the only ones. Already, providers in New York, New Hampshire and other states are crusading for rates that more accurately reflect the cost of the work they do — and new operating expectations that are very likely coming, and coming soon.

Of course, there are plenty of small and mid-size Texas operators whose fates ride on this session, too.

Mark McKenize, founder of Focused Post-Acute Partners, tells me he is “laser focused” on securing the Medicaid rate increase this year, for budget years 2024 and 2025.

“In terms of time, investment and local access to public officials who have the power to improve the skilled nursing care sector in Texas, this is where I have to focus my energy,” he said last week, noting the uphill battle for understanding and support even in the face of COVID and, now, historic labor shortages.

Read Full Article Here at McKnights.Com