Last week the New York State Legislature passed a bill that would allow assisted living homes to keep residents who previously qualified for nursing homes.
Buffalo’s Business Journal thinks this is good news.
Is it really?
The bill says residents can age in place in their current communities. It would allow assisted living homes to admit those seniors who cannot walk by themselves. Currently, a senior who needs more than one person’s help in transferring out of a wheelchair is ineligible for assisted living.
Assisted living codes vary from state to state but until now have sharply distinguished themselves from nursing homes by providing services for active, healthy seniors.
An allowance becomes a mandate
The problem with New York’s bill (the Governor is expected to sign it) is that “allowance” becomes synonymous with a mandate.
The Empire State Association of Assisted Living (ESAAL) has endorsed the bill but its passage will very likely hurt assisted living communities and smaller homes in the future. Only a few AL homes accept Medicaid patients now but might be forced by this law to admit more. That would mean hiring nurses and CNA’s at a time of declining Medicaid reimbursement rates.
The ESAAL is trading short-term gain for long-term pain!
Assisted living communities need flexibility
Assisted living communities will be as expensive as nursing homes if they are compelled by law to house the same type of resident. Its marketing advantage will vanish. Many AL communities will close when their profits dwindle. Only the very wealthy will able to afford assisted living; they may reject it for something else if it bears little difference from a nursing home.
Hopefully other states do not follow New York’s economic foolishness.