Voices of nurses are almost completely missing in the national and state level debate on health care, which is not a surprise. I suspect that many nurses put the energy that might have gone to policymaking into their daily nursing practice instead: sending a card to the grieving spouse of a patient or taking charts home at night to complete on the kitchen table.

I can’t speak for all nurses, but here’s the perspective of one nurse, with more than 10 years of community nursing experience, on why the current Connecticut Medicaid cuts hurt all state residents.

As a refresher, Medicaid is a federal program that gives health coverage to millions of low-income Americans, especially seniors, those with disabilities, children and pregnant women. It is managed, however, by each state. Here in Connecticut, Medicaid reimbursement rates (that’s what the government pays a health care provider for caring for a Medicaid patient) have often been below the actual cost of providing care. Because of these low rates, many physicians’ offices have stopped accepting Medicaid patients or severely limited the number they accept.

On Aug. 11, the Department of Social Services made cuts to home care reimbursement rates, which impacted six nonprofit home care agencies that care for some of Connecticut’s most vulnerable seniors and people with disabilities. Because of these changes, I am among the many nurses who have had to discharge some Medicaid patients.

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Nurses Forced To Discharge Medicaid Patients – Hartford Courant – Hartford Courant