Nursing home residents could face homelessness, health officials say
OKLAHOMA CITY — For a second year in a row, nursing home caregivers are trying to shelter some of the state’s most vulnerable residents from a dose of scary news.
Come next year, if lawmakers can’t find a way to increase payments to the state-managed insurance program — Medicaid — thousands of elderly Oklahomans may have to find a new nursing home or risk ending up homeless.
Many of those oldest residents have outlived all their relatives or don’t have anyone else to provide a roof over their heads. They’ve long exhausted all their savings and sold their valuable worldly possessions and rely on taxpayers to help shelter them. Now they risk losing access to their daily medical care and their homes in one blow.
With Oklahoma’s $878 million shortfall, the state’s largest insurer is facing reimbursement rate cuts as high as 25 percent, which could threaten the health of hospitals, physicians, pharmacies and nursing homes, officials say.