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State halts flu shot rule
New York—The State Health Bundling program causes headaches for providers
Department dropped a health A new Medicaid bundling program is hurting some nursing homes. Some facilities say they no longer
regulation that would have have the money to pay for support services, such as custom wheelchairs, oxygen, and physical and
required healthcare workers to occupational therapy, according to the associations representing providers in the state.
be vaccinated for the seasonal Bundling allows nursing homes to receive an extra $3.91 per patient day for the services. Formerly,
and swine flu. they billed the government directly.
A shortage of H1N1 vaccine The program, which was part of
prompted the department to budget legislation passed in July,
back away from the rule, which is expected to draw $55 million in
would have set a date of Nov. Medicaid dollars, proponents say.
30 for healthcare workers to Some nursing homes are saying that
receive the vaccinations. Prior they are not receiving enough money
to the state’s decision, a judge from the policy to pay for services
in Albany halted the rule in such as fixing or replacing specialty
response to a lawsuit. wheelchairs. Also, some facilities are
Three nurses who filed the suit turning down patients who need oxy-
Photo: Office of the Governor
claimed that the requirement gen, dialysis or other pricey services.
needed legislative approval and “If you have a lot of that, your costs
that the commissioner had over- are going to be much higher than a
stepped his authority. A spokes- facility that doesn’t do any