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posted: 9/15/2012 5:00 AM

Medicare cuts endanger nursing facility

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Congressman Bob Dold recently took time to tour ManorCare-Libertyville and meet with patients, visitors and staff to discuss important issues such as Medicare and job growth. We greatly appreciate his visit to ManorCare-Libertyville, where we can care for 130 of our local community's most vulnerable elderly and disabled citizens. As the facility administrator, I know the great success we have in improving the health of our patients, boosting their ability to return home as quickly as possible, and helping to reduce costly rehospitalizations.

However, much of the critical work we do is in jeopardy because of looming budget cuts from Washington, including another Medicare funding reduction in January 2013 -- prompted by automatic across-the-board cuts mandated by Congress as part of the Budget Control Act.

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Facilities like ours already care for rising numbers of patients, requiring higher levels of care, and with staff under severe stress. More Washington Medicare cuts as the default policy option is wrong for seniors, taxpayers and the effectiveness of our health care system.

We commend Congressman Dold's interest in understanding the needs of Illinois seniors, the importance of stable Medicare funding, and how skilled nursing facilities are part of the solution to keeping health care costs under control.

Theresa J. Smelser

Senior administrator

ManorCare-Libertyville

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