House budget adds $30 million to help nursing homes stay open

BOSTON (AP) — The plight of struggling nursing homes is getting the attention of state lawmakers.

The House Ways and Means Committee is calling for $30 million in rate increases for nursing homes in its proposed state budget for the fiscal year starting on July 1.

Along with that extra money is a plan to create an emergency task force to study the financial stability of nursing facilities.

The Massachusetts Senior Care Association has warned that 35 nursing homes around the state are at risk of closing this year, on top of 20 that permanently shut their doors last year.

The group says 70 percent of nursing home residents rely on Medicaid for their care, but the 12-year-old formula the state uses for Medicaid reimbursements results in a $360 million shortfall for nursing homes.

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