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2005 Testimony

Testimony Before The House Human Services Committee

Clara Sue Price, Chairman

Regarding House Bill 1191 - Moratorium on long-term care bed capacity

January 10, 2005

Chairman Price, members of the committee, I am David Zentner, Director of Medical Services for the Department of Human Services. I appear to provide information and support this bill.

This legislation extends the moratorium which limits the number of nursing facility beds in North Dakota and clarifies how certain beds can be transferred from one facility to another.

Paragraph 1 establishes that no additional nursing facility beds can be added to the licensed capacity in the state during the next biennium.

Paragraph 2 permits facilities to convert transferred nursing facility beds to basic care beds if the transfer occurred before August 1, 2005. This will permit the construction of a basic care facility in Fargo where there is no participating provider in the Basic Care Assistance Program at this time.

Paragraph 3 permits facilities to convert nursing facility beds to basic care beds, and allows the beds to revert back to nursing facility licensed beds after a 12-month period if the beds remain with the facility.

Paragraph 4 permits facilities to transfer converted basic care beds to another facility, but prohibits those beds from reverting back to nursing facility licensed beds.

Paragraph 5 describes the process that Indian tribes can utilize if they wish to participate in the Medicaid programs, after they have acquired nursing facility beds through transfers from other nursing facilities.

The Department continues to support the need to limit the number of licensed nursing facility beds in North Dakota. While we have made strides to reduce the number of beds, there continues to be an occupancy problem for many facilities especially for those located in rural areas of the state. As of the end of November 2004, twenty-two (22) of the eighty (80) nursing facilities participating in the Medicaid program had less than 90% occupancy. For the above reason we believe the State continues to have an adequate number of beds to meet our immediate needs. If a shortage exists in a particular area of the State, there appears to be sufficient unused capacity at this time that could be transferred to meet that need.

The fiscal note indicates that this bill should not have any direct affect on the Department's appropriation for the next biennium.

We recommend you consider amending the word “convert” on line 14 of page 1 to read, “revert” to clarify that basic care beds can be again licensed as nursing facility beds, and are only those beds that were previously converted under the provisions of paragraph 3.

The Department supports this bill and recommends you consider a do pass.

I would be happy to respond to any questions you may have.


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