Help Protect Safety Net for Needy

by David Lentz

 

Tuesday, we had an "off year" election. It may not appear turbulent on the surface, but the results of this election will actually have large consequences to issues of great importance to us as Americans and as active and interested participants in a vital Jewish community.

 

The State of New Jersey has a large deficit. We should be concerned how our representatives and the Governor balance the budget. Obviously, many hard decisions have to be made and many people have to make sacrifices. At the same time it is imperative that the burden is not carried by the most vulnerable in our communities. This is one of the mandates of the Community Relations Committee of MetroWest and Central NJ (CRC).

 

As part of its work, CRC regularly engages with elected officials at the national, state, and local level to advocate in support of the domestic legislative agenda of Jewish Federations of North America. These issues include, among others, responding to the economic crisis, helping the Jewish community to alleviate poverty, maximizing incentives for charitable giving, and protecting Medicaid and the health safety net.

 

On October 14, Daughters of Israel (DOI), along with every other nursing facility in the State of New Jersey, received devastating news related to its Medicaid reimbursement. Retroactive to July 1, 2011, the DOI Medicaid reimbursement has been reduced by $11.89 per Medicaid recipient, per day. On an annual basis, this equates to almost $900,000 of lost revenue. The rate includes both the state and federal funding.

 

This news has serious consequences for the Jewish community in MetroWest, Central, and statewide. Such a reduction in funding will seriously jeopardize the fiscal well-being of DOI and undermine our continued efforts to provide high quality care to our nursing home residents and the Jewish community. The largest single expense for DOI is salaries, so the loss of jobs is inevitable.

 

The CRC is working with the New Jersey State Association of Jewish Federations and our other partners to try to right this wrong by urging New Jersey legislators to take action to restore the Medicaid funding for our seniors in the FY 2012 State Budget. We believe that a supplemental appropriations bill to fully restore Medicaid reimbursement funding is needed with support for a veto override.

 

It is imperative that we have a strong political watchdog in MetroWest. It is economic times like these when we have to be the most vigilant to ensure that the most needy in our community continue to have a safety net.

 

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