Editors, Vineyard Gazette:
I read with more than a passing interest the article, “Looming Federal Cuts May Impact Already-Strained Elder, Education Services” in the March 1 issue of the Vineyard Gazette. The Vineyard Nursing Association (VNA) is a critical health care provider for elders on Martha’s Vineyard and should be added to the list of providers impacted by the sequestration. In fact, the VNA faces larger and more immediate cuts than were discussed in the article.
During the 10 years of the sequestration, the VNA faces more than $750,000 in reduced Medicare reimbursements. These cuts begin immediately — in 2013 we expect to lose more than $60,000. What’s more, the sequestration cuts will be added to Medicare cuts already in place for 2013, reducing the VNA’s Medicare revenue by $135,000 this year. Even if Congress and the President come to some accommodation regarding the sequestration, the homecare industry will see no relief.
Established in 1984, the VNA meets the homecare needs of more than 1,000 elders annually. Nurses, therapists and aides provide a variety of services that include treating acute illnesses, assisting in recovery from surgery and helping with the activities of daily living during the recovery process.
Our immediate challenge is to address the revenue shortfall in 2013. While serving a growing number of elders on Martha’s Vineyard, the VNA will need to become more efficient and more productive. Our capital campaign to eliminate the debt on our new building may need to be accelerated and fundraising in general may need to be increased to fill in the gaps.
While the financial challenge is daunting, the VNA has had a successful history of growth and overcoming obstacles, and I have no doubt that we will again rise to the challenge.
Bob Tonti, West Tisbury
Bob Tonti is C.E.O. of Vineyard Nursing Association.