NH delegation: New England nursing homes unfairly penalized

November 17, 2020

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) - Nursing homes in northern New England are being unfairly penalized when it comes to federal funding during the pandemic, members of New Hampshire's congressional delegation said Tuesday.

In a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, the delegation took issue with the formula used to distribute $333 million to more than 10,000 nursing homes late last month. The nationwide average payment per facility was nearly $25,000, while New Hampshire facilities got about $4,900 each, the third-lowest in the country behind Maine and Vermont.

According to the delegation, the formula rewarded facilities that kept infection and mortality rates among residents lower than the communities they serve. That penalizes states that have low per capita infection rates, the delegation said.

"The fact that there is a lower level of COVID-19 spread in the community in New Hampshire does not mean that Granite State nursing facilities do not need support," wrote Sens. Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan and Reps. Annie Kuster and Chris Pappas. "On the contrary, the fact that 82 percent of the COVID-19 deaths in the state come from nursing home residents shows that New Hampshire facilities need more help than ever."

The delegation is urging Azar to incorporate other measures into the formula going forward.

Source: AP