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Government Shutdown and its Impact on National Healthcare

A government shutdown took place Tuesday morning on October 1, 2013, due to Congress’ failure to pass a 2014 spending measure before the midnight deadline on Monday. The shutdown has resulted in about 800,000 federal employees being furloughed, allowing only for ‘essential’ government workers to continue performance of their duties. While the shutdown coincided with the launch of the Affordable Care Act, the opening of the new health insurance marketplace was able to move forward as planned.

The government shutdown will have various effects on federal agencies, including the healthcare industry. Federal agencies have provided information stating that Medicare will operate without disruption for the immediate future. Additionally, Medicaid funding was made available for states on October 1. The Administration on Community Living has reported that it will continue to support its Aging and Disability Resource Centers, along with the Health Care Fraud and Abuse Control program through the provision of mandatory appropriations. However, the ACL will cease providing funding for senior nutrition programs, elder abuse and neglect prevention services, and the long-term care ombudsman program due to the shutdown. The Department of Veterans Affairs will continue in operation, meaning that all VA medical facilities will remain open and in operation. Therefore, nursing home care will continue to operate within these facilities.

Currently, many of the most critical government services funded by federal dollars will continue to operate without severe disruption. However, this will only remain true for a short period of time, as the negative repercussions of the shutdown will be felt more severely if the government continues to remain closed for months. For now, the Office of Management and Budget has provided contingency plans for federal agencies.

As of now, many nursing homes are still in operation as they are funded by Medicare. Therefore, those residing in nursing homes are still entitled to receive the high quality care they deserve. Nursing homes must continue to provide sufficient staff to respond to the needs of their residents. They must continue to implement preventative measures to prevent falls, pressure ulcers, and infections and continue to respect the Patient’s Bill of Rights. Nursing home facilities must continue to closely monitor residents to prevent dehydration and malnutrition, and cannot implement the use of restraints upon elderly residents unnecessarily. Therefore, you and your loved ones must continue to be on alert for any instances of nursing home abuse and neglect taking place within these facilities.

We must continue to be vigilant in our fight against nursing home abuse and neglect amidst all the implications taking place as a result of the government shutdown. At the Law Offices of Ben Yeroushalmi, our team of experienced attorneys who specialize in elder abuse is ready to bring perpetrators of such abuse and neglect to justice. We encourage you to contact us today at (888) 606-3453 for a free consultation. We are prepared to fight to preserve the well-being and dignity of our elderly loved ones and firmly believe that we are discouraging future acts of elder abuse by holding all those engaging in elder abuse and neglect accountable.