The federal government plans to cut off Medicaid funding for 83 residents under long-term care at Lakeland Village Nursing Facility as of next Thursday.
State officials said on Wednesday that they have been working for several years to recover from recession-caused staff cuts, which led to negative findings on subsequent federal inspections to the Medical Lake facility.
John Wiley, spokesman for the state Department of Social and Health Services in Spokane, said the state will keep the facility open for now even if the funding is stopped.
He said Lakeland Village has made substantial progress since problems arose in 2011, and the state is close to satisfying federal standards.
Lakeland Village provides services to 210 residents with a variety of intellectual and developmental disabilities. Most patients are on Medicare and Medicaid funding.
The federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services notified the state just last week that it would terminate its provider agreement for the Lakeland Village Nursing Facility, which cares for the most difficult cases.
Lakeland Village’s corresponding Intermediate Care Facility for Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities offers a range of professional treatment services intended to help patients improve their quality of life and potentially regain independence.
At issue has been a cost-savings move of 27 residents from intermediate care and its additional treatment services to less-costly and less-intensive nursing care.
Wiley said the state is not certain how much funding would be lost. However, the agency’s budget request for the coming state biennium would provide funding to resolve the problems that remain, he said.
In 2013, federal inspectors issued 40,000 citations to the facility even as the state was rebuilding its lost staffing.
The most recent inspection resulted in 21 violations at the nursing facility, none of which alleged harm to residents, Wiley said.
Lakeland Village went from a staff that had the equivalent of 600 full-time employees in 2009 to 507 in 2011. Last year, it had a staff of 567 based on full-time hours.
“We are confident that the facility will soon be returned to full compliance, but there may not be enough time to do so by the CMS deadline,” said Evelyn Perez, assistant secretary for DSHS’ Developmental Disabilities Administration, in a news release Wednesday. “The effects of chronic underfunding from previous administrations are still being felt and it will take time to recover.”
Problems at Lakeland became a concern in 2011 when the Disability Rights Washington advocacy organization called attention to the effect of staff reductions on resident services.
At the time, the state moved 27 residents from intermediate care to the nursing facility. The advocacy group said the result was a loss of treatment services that in turn caused a loss of functioning for those patients affected by the move.
In a news release Wednesday, Perez said parents and guardians of Lakeland residents recently showed a high degree of satisfaction with care.
Senior management teams have been working with Lakeland staff to meet the federal requirements. The state effort has included what Perez called “changes in leadership” at Lakeland.
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