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Missouri Nursing Home Care Balances Cost and Quality

Posted: Jul 5, 2012 6:40 PM
Updated: Jul 6, 2012 6:25 PM

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JEFFERSON CITY - The average cost for nursing home care is $50,000 a year and rising nationwide. Costs vary widely depending on where you live, but the average rate for a private room in the U.S. is $203 per day according to Genworth Financial.

Missouri has some of the cheapest rates when compared to other states, ranging around $140 per day for a semi-private room. The rates are cheap because the state reimburses nursing homes the minimum amount of Medicaid funding. That money pays for necessities like food, medicine, and utilities, and not much else.

One third of nursing home residents pay all their costs out of pocket. Two-thirds pay with Medicaid - low income assistatance. But Medicaid doesn't kick in until a nursing home resident has less then $1,000 in their savings. The program only pays for care at facilities certified by the government.

Paula Lee, Clinical Nurse Leader at Heisinger Lutheran Home, said the main premise of the facility is to take care of those who've exhausted their funds as a continuing care retirement community (CCRC).

But low cost doesn't always mean low quality. Local nursing homes like Heisinger Lutheran Home and St. Joseph Bluffs have received stellar ratings from Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

The CMS rates nursing homes based on the number of bedsore incidents, percentage of residents in physical restraints, and chronic pain. Also the staff of the facilities plays a huge role in the success of a nursing home. For a home to get a 5 out 5 in staffing, at least one staff member or registered nurse must attend to a single resident for 4 or more hours a day.

To find out more about nursing home rates or the quality of local homes near you visit www.medicare.gov/nursing/payment.asp

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