A proposed budget cut by the Senate Finance Committee for the upcoming financial year has those in nursing homes, both residents and employees, on pins and needles.
If passed in July, the proposed bill could have an estimated 403 elderly and disabled people in Morehouse Parish nursing homes out on the street, Lagniappe Healthcare Administrator Amanda Boatright said.
She said eviction letters have already been mailed out to residents who fall under the Medicaid Long Term Care Special Income Level Program.
"There are four nursing homes in Bastrop now," she said. "If this bill goes through we will probably only need one nursing home. A bunch of people would lose their jobs. About 26,000 nursing home employees in the state of Louisiana would be jobless."
Boatright said the budget cut is unfair and many residents may have no place to go.
"The elderly should not be the target of a massive budget cut," she said. "It is a pathetic attempt to balance the budget. This is about Louisiana residents who paid their taxes and have been productive members in the community and now need help due to declining health and age."
The Louisiana Nursing Home Association stated that residents who have Alzheimer's, dementia and other chronic illnesses will soon be forced out onto the street if the proposed budget is approved.
The Medicaid Long Term Care Income Level Program provides healthcare services to 80 percent of Medicaid nursing faculty residents, the LNHA stated.
The LNHA urges Louisianians to stand together and protect the elderly of Louisiana.
The Louisiana Department of Health stated in an email that they will begin mailing notices of eviction to nearly 37,000 Medicaid enrollees informing them that their eligibility may end July 1.
"The department is preparing for ripple effects from this loss of eligibility, notifying community social service agencies and hospital emergency rooms that they may be inundated with patients with nowhere else to go," stated the LDH. "In addition, there is a strong possibility that some people face homelessness."
Representative Jay Morris said the letters are a political scare tactic and are "totally unnecessary and premature."
"Because the Governor always wants more taxes than are necessarily needed and the special session to raise taxes is upon us, he decided to send eviction notices months before the Louisiana Department of Health would run out of money to get the publicity early, all in time for special session," Morris said in a public statement.
He implored the public to "remain calm and be assured this is a long process."
"We are in the beginning and understand this process is not nearly over and the legislature will resolve this matter," he said.
Boatright said if the bill does pass, nursing homes will be required to issue a 30-day discharge notice to all residents facing eviction.
"Lagniappe and Delta Healthcare Management will remain optimistic that these cuts will not go into effect," she said.
Boatright said the best thing people can do to stop the nursing home evictions from happening is to contact their legislators and ask them to renew the bill.
"Call your local representatives and legislatures and urge them not to pass this budget cut," she said.