Nursing home budget cuts create a harsh atmosphere for administrators who must find innovative ways to cut costs and recover from extensive nursing home deficits. In part, this is happening due to Medicaid services being provided by care providers in the home setting. With Medicaid cuts of around three percent and Medicare cuts a little over 11 percent, nursing homes are scrambling to cut costs or face closing.
With these cuts, nursing homes are getting creative about ways to cut costs. This can be difficult given that nursing homes often take care of post-hospital patients. Patient advocates say that nursing homes could save money just by taking better care of patients as an estimated 14 percent of patients in their post-op care must go back to the hospital. Patient infections, falls that cause broken bones and other injuries, and medication mishaps could have been prevented. These incidents also are a part of “never events” that Medicare will not reimburse a facility for.
Taking on losses like this can equal a nursing home’s demise. As many facilities do a sufficient job of helping their short and long-term residents, a nursing home administrator must look at ways to cut costs in other departments or increase revenue. Ways to strengthen revenue include marketing to new and different groups for nursing home services, and responding to patient referrals quicker. Many nursing homes have already frozen wages, cut staff, and halted facility upgrades.
From here, they must find savings by looking at medical supplies that could do more for the nursing home at a lesser cost. From tissues and briefs to wound care and lotions, and even bigger items such as beds and medical equipment, every single item is being analyzed. For facilities that already have a pressure redistribution mattress, they can stop using a Low Air Loss (LAL) mattress, which typically costs $30 a day, and use the new Skin IQ™ coverlet for about $6 a day.
The Skin IQ coverlet does more to prevent skin breakdown and pressure ulcers than a LAL mattress. This new mattress cover wicks moisture away from the patient, minimizes odors, and helps prevent infections. For a nursing home that might rent 75 LAL beds per month, for example, for high risk patients, switching to a Skin IQ coverlet could save $54,000 in 30 days. The product is easy to clean and can be used for individuals up to 500 pounds.