Schaer grills Velez on nursing home funding

TRENTON – An Assembly lawmaker pressed the head of the Department of Human Services Tuesday on whether the state is “jeopardizing” the existence of nursing homes by keeping funding flat in the next fiscal year.

Assemblyman Gary Schaer, (D-36), pressed the agency’s commissioner on the state of nursing homes in New Jersey given the funding cuts they were forced to absorb two years ago.

Since that time, nursing home funding levels have yet to be increased despite increases to inflation and the cost of care.

“It would seem to me that the cuts in ’12 and … some bring back (of funding) in ’13, … that those nursing homes that were on the edge would (now) be on the precipice,” he said.

What’s more, Schaer argued during the Assembly Budget Committee hearing, is the department is not aware of how many nursing homes could be operating in the red.

“When you make your financial determination about how much the budget should be, how do we do that without knowing the financial situation of nursing homes,” he pressed Department of Human Services Commissioner Jennifer Velez after Velez couldn’t provide information on the number of nursing homes operating in the red.

“If, in fact, we don’t know the financial situations of nursing homes, generally or specifically, … are we operating in such a way that we are jeopardizing their existence?” Schaer pressed.

“How is it that one makes a budget recommendation … without the fundamental knowledge of what their fiscal situation is?”

  Schaer grills Velez on nursing home funding