Press conference addresses proposed cuts to Medicare

By Staff
CONCERNED SENIORS Eighty-three-year-old Malinda Johnson, left, awaits a press conference at Beverly Health Care-Broadmoor held by the Mississippi Health Care Association. With her are Mona Mayatt and her mother-in-law, 92-year-old Lula Mayatt. Photo by Paula Merritt / The Meridian Star
By Steve Gillespie / staff writer
April 5, 2002
Louise Watkins, a resident at Beverly HealthCare-Broadmoor, said Thursday that she hasn't heard much about proposed Medicare cuts in the federal budget.
But the thought still upsets her.
Watkins and her roommate, Ethel Bailey, sat in front of a podium at the nursing home waiting for the Mississippi Health Care Association to hold a news conference about Medicare.
Watkins and Bailey held a sign that read "Thank you Congressman Pickering." The Republican 3rd District U.S. representative was not at the news conference.
But Pickering did issue a statement this week saying that Mississippi seniors would lose $23.5 million in Medicare funding under the proposed cut. He pledged to fight to stop the cuts which would translate to about $44.41 a patient each day for Mississippi residents.
Possible effects
Warren Sylvestor, education director of MHCA, told residents, family members and staff at Beverly HealthCare that the proposed 17 percent, $3 billion cut next fiscal year could result in a significant drop in skilled nursing care.
Those present were invited to sign a poster-sized petition and cards asking the president and the U.S. Congress to reject the cut.
Mardie Dixon is the administrator of Beverly HealthCare, which has 118 care-giving staff members and 120 residents.
Long-term problems
Dixon said long-term care businesses are still trying to recover form the massive round of bankruptcies in the industry that followed the 1997 Balanced Budget Act.
Dixon said more than 70 percent of Beverly Health Care residents receive Medicare. Besides causing more bankruptcies, she said, Medicare cuts could reduce nursing home staff and require more patients to be cared for in their own home.
Mona Mayatt was at Thursday's press conference, too. Her mother-in-law, Lula Mayatt, is a 92-year-old resident at Beverly Health.

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