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Louisiana News

Audit: Nursing Home Payments Up, But Not Patient Numbers

Ulrich Joho /

A new audit says Louisiana's payments to private nursing homes for taking care of Medicaid patients have risen substantially over the last decade. But while the facilities are pocketing ever-higher dollars from the state, their occupancy rates stayed largely flat.

Legislative Auditor Daryl Purpera's office said Louisiana uses payment structures that are out of step with other states, driving up costs on the nursing homes and long-term rehabilitation facilities. 

Auditors recommended changes that could save millions of dollars a year, which would require adjustments to state law.

The report says Louisiana's Medicaid program spent $8.7 billion in state and federal dollars on nursing home care from 2006 through 2016. Payment rates to nursing homes increased 54 percent.

But the audit says occupancy rates over the same period grew less than 1 percent.