State sends out eviction notices to 37,000 nursing home residents
BATON ROUGE- With pending cuts looming, the Department of Health took an unprecedented move Wednesday when it said it would send out 37,000 notices to Medicaid enrollees in nursing homes. They are at risk of losing funding due to the state budget shortfall.
Republicans called the move a political one and said it was egregious in an impromptu news conference following the announcement by the Department of Health.
The Department of Health said the total reduction of cuts is estimated to be $1.8 billion dollars. Health Secretary Dr. Rebekah Gee got choked up talking about the situation.
"These are people," Gee said. "We've told the stories of inaction and now we have to act."
In the letters that are going out to those impacted it clearly states, "...these programs may end as of July 1, 2018, but the federal government must first approve ending the programs."
So WBRZ asked what happens if the feds don't approve the end of the programs.
"That's the predicament," Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne said. "If the money is not in the budget but we have to continue to maintain the programs until the feds say you can stop them, then we are going in the hole spending money that is not appropriated for a particular purpose."
Dardenne emphasized the letter is not a scare tactic. But, republicans were quick to find flaws.
"The decision by the Governor and this administration to give eviction notices to the elderly population without a question is a political move," Representative Lance Harris said. "It's egregious in my personal opinion."
The Department of Health contends it had to give ample notice to patients so they can start making preparations now. Republicans believe the Edwards administration jumped the gun and say it will have unintended consequences.
"The administration and LDH has chosen to prioritize and make the elderly population their least priority," Representative Cameron Henry said. "This is how the governor sent the budget to us. This was his general idea of what he wanted the budget to look like. He might not have liked it, but this is how he sent it to us."
The State Department of Health knows people will have plenty of questions. They set up a call center to answer any questions people may have.
The number is 1-888-342-6207. It will be staffed Monday thru Friday from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., or email at MedWeb@la.gov.