HOBART, Wis. (WBAY) – Fifteen residents in a Green Bay-area retirement facility are being told they must move out by the end of February because the retirement home is no longer accepting Family Care Medicaid payments. That decision is based on rising costs and inflation.
Those 15 notices were sent to residents Monday at the Emerald Bay Retirement Community in Hobart.
One family we spoke to Tuesday afternoon said this is a huge shock and they’re now scrambling to find a new place for their loved one that still accepts Medicaid with just 30 days to do it.
Emerald Bay has a total 122 residents and is managed by BAKA Enterprises. A spokesman for the company tells us inflation is to blame for this decision, saying the cost of everything has gone up since the COVID-19 pandemic, including food, utilities and wages.
Previously the company only allowed for 10% of its apartments to be funded by Medicaid payments, and because the Family Care program pays a very low rate much of the cost is shifted onto other residents not on Medicaid.
The company now says that formula is no longer feasible.
It’s something we asked U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisconsin) about Tuesday afternoon.
“Medicaid is a state and federal partnership, but the states ultimately make the decision, each state on how much they will use reimburse nursing care or assisted living. What portion, what sort of reimbursement will they permit, and we’re going to have to reckon with this,” Sen. Baldwin said.
While Family Care is a Wisconsin program, Baldwin says discussions are also taking place at the federal level.
“It’s going to be a bigger and bigger issue as our country, our society ages. So we are going to have to be a part of that dialogue of how we help finance long-term care,” Baldwin said.
In its letter to residents, the company wrote, “We know this is tough on our residents required to relocate, but we have to make smart decisions to continue to provide great care and keep our residents safe.”
BAKA Enterprises has a number of facilities across Northeast Wisconsin. The spokesperson would not confirm whether those places will continue accepting Medicaid.
The senator said it’s concerning Medicaid recipients have so few housing options.
“Medicaid is the payer of last resort, but it is… but it can’t be something where you get tossed out on the street when you have exhausted all of your personal funds,” she said.
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