by Payson Care Center staff
Congressman Paul Gosar recently made a special visit to Payson Care Center. A dentist by profession, Gosar has an interest in health care revisions specifically as it applies to dental care with the elderly. The Congressman listened to the residents’ concerns about how health care changes have affected skilled nursing care facilities.
Gosar believes that whether Democrat or Republican, politicians want to hear how changes affect the care of patients in health care settings.
Gosar said, “I thoroughly enjoyed meeting Jason Norman and his team at the Payson Care Center. This state-of-the-art facility provides comfort and care for people going through some tough physical challenges and the number of patients smiling during their treatment was extremely encouraging. As a member of the GOP Doctors Caucus and a health care provider for 25 years, I understand that our health care system needs reform and I will work with my colleagues to pass health care legislation that encourages competition and patient choice. I am confident that Congress can lower health care costs and improve overall care if we pursue sound, common-sense policies.”
Jaden Rosser, Director of Nursing at Payson Care Center, shared with the Congressman specific concerns that not only affect the bottom line of the skilled nursing industry, but may also have an impact on patient care. These include “carve outs” on many medications under Medicaid that include pain medications. Medicaid simply won’t approve them and patients could be left to deal with pain with less than adequate medications.
In the case of Payson Care Center, Rosser said the costs of prescription pain medications are often incurred by the care center to insure the quality of care and comfort of the patient. Additionally, despite surgeon orders, Medicaid does not always approve physical therapy. Patients that could recover fully are being left in vulnerable positions and could be sent home at risk. Rosser said, “At Payson Care Center we are constantly fighting insurance companies, specifically Medicaid, for the needs of the patient. Patients are also coming to us quicker and sicker,” said Rosser.
Hospital regulations are requiring shorter stays and patients are discharged to skilled nursing facilities at higher acuity levels. With a cut in reimbursements across the board of 16 percent, skilled nursing facilities juggle patient-staff ratios on a daily basis. Though Payson Care Center staffing ratios are within the guidelines of the Arizona Department of Health Services, the higher acuity needs of today’s patient only adds to the challenge of running a skilled nursing facility.
Gosar said he understands the “climate of slim margins” the health care industry has been facing, but also appreciates how important skilled nursing facilities are to the communities they serve. With both facilities, Payson Care Center and Rim Country Health, running at capacity, the Payson area needs at least 200 more patient beds.
Gosar said he was committed to sharing this information with his constituents and to work at coming up with solutions to insure the quality of patient care. He also wants to be updated on the struggles the health care industry faces, specifically at the skilled nursing level.