Oklahoma Senior Citizens, Advocates Fight State Medicaid Cuts

Tuesday, April 19th 2011, 4:13 pm
By: News On 6

Dan Bewley, News On 6

TULSA, Oklahoma -- Senior citizens across Oklahoma are asking state leaders to leave their Medicaid funding alone. The amount of money nursing home facilities receive from the state could be on the decline.

"We don't mind saying that we don't think our state is holding up their end of the partnership," Bill Pierce said.

Dozens of residents at the Baptist Village in Owasso gathered Tuesday to listen about a problem senior care advocates say is getting worse every year: state funding for Medicaid.

The group CARE Oklahoma is touring the state talking to residents of nursing homes about the potential loss in state money.

"I do not want another resident to lose their home or their family in these facilities," Scott Proctor, with CARE Oklahoma, said.

Scott Procter says as state funding drops, nursing homes close. He says, on average, one home closes each month and more than a hundred have closed in the last decade.

"Don't cut it, don't cut it," Mellony Alexander said.

Mellony Alexander's mother lives at Baptist Village. She struggled when deciding whether to place her mother in a home, she's now glad she made the step. Now she's worried state leaders will make cuts medicaid.

"My mother is 94 years old so without this help who's going to help her? Without this care whose going to help her?" she said.

CARE Oklahoma says the each nursing home facility in the state gets, on average, $123 a day. But, they say, the average costs to those homes is $140 a day.

"When you have 70% of your business that has that wide of a gap in revenue to expenditures, I would say it's a very significant problem," Proctor said.

Proctor says he's not asking for more money from the state, he just doesn't want legislators to make any more cuts. Alexander agrees, she wants state leaders to think of their own parents when it's time to make a decision.

"If you have that compassion in your heart you have to think about what you would do for your mother and dad," Alexander said.

Proctor is gathering signatures on a petition drive. He'll present those to leaders at the state capitol a week from today.