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October 2, 2008


Next year the budget forecast for our state is very pessimistic again. Clearly, with all of the increased costs of doing business, it is a critical year for SCARCH to be very active at the State House. We know this year there will be challenges and obstacles, but together we can be successful. It is a year when we must be unified in our advocacy of health care funding and other health care issues. That being said, we know it will be a very difficult battle for us; so we will be prepared to work with DHHS. DHEC, and the General Assembly to accomplish our goals.
At the state house, we will have new members on the House Ways and Means Subcommittee chaired by Rep. Tracy Edge. I have been talking with Rep. Edge and other members of the leadership and I am hoping to get new members appointed who have health care needs as a priority. It should be exciting and interesting because of the budget from last year. So many different requests were not funded, and that means there will be many groups fighting to be placed in the budget. Luckily for us we have a permanent line item in the budget and we will be advocating to keep our maintenance of effort and for new dollars to help keep and provide care for our residents and to keep quality of care from being diminished in any way.
To that end, the tax on tobacco becomes a big issue for next year. Also, important in that issue is how much of the dollars appropriated will be used to fund health care issues. We must create a pie before we can slice it up and use it to meet our financial needs as a health care provider. Also, the Governor and the leaders in the General Assembly are meeting to decide on budget cuts and there may have to be a special session to deal with them. I am working to keep the impact on our priorities at a minimum or not at all. The bigger concern is health care dollars in general. We will keep members updated on any news from the state house. Count on SCARCH to be very active this legislative session and be on top of the issues to protect our industry and providers!


This fall, SCARCH will begin working with the Arthritis Program from DHEC to begin offering training programs for members to benefit their communities and residents. There are three life improvement programs currently being offered through DHEC including;
Arthritis Foundation Program- A gentle exercise program designed for people with arthritis. It includes stretching and strengthening exercises and movement activities to help relieve stiffness and reduce arthritis pain.
Arthritis Foundation Self-Help Program- Created to give people with Arthritis, fibromyalgia, and lupus the knowledge and skills they need to manage their condition.
Living Well South Carolina- Teaches proven techniques for managing chronic health conditions. Participants will learn how to feel better, while gaining support from others.
SCARCH hopes that in partnering with DHEC?s Arthritis Program we will be able to offer training days in different regions in the state and by attending the training, you will be able to go back to your community and share these programs with your residents and even involve family members and the community. More information will be available soon and we hope to have your community?s involvement in this very beneficial program. We will train your organization to offer these programs and they have been shown to improve: healthy behaviors, level of activity, and confidence in ability to manage one?s health condition.


The average skilled nursing occupancy rate held steady, while rates for assisted living and independent living fell noticeably, according to the National Investment Center for the Seniors Housing and Care Industry's Market Area Profiles (NIC MAP) statistics.

Skilled nursing occupancy held at 90.1% for the second quarter of 2008, compared with 90.7% for the first quarter of 2007. Meanwhile, the assisted living occupancy rate slid from a peak of 91.5% in the first quarter of 2007 to 89.8% in the second quarter of 2008, continuing a consistent downward path, according to MAP officials at the annual meeting of NIC in Chicago. Independent living's occupancy rate also decreased from a high of 93.8% in the first quarter of last year to 91.4% in the second quarter of 2008, a sign that supply had grown faster than demand.

CMS has issued a Final Rule that requires all nursing facilities to be fully sprinklered by 2013. Published August 13, 2008, in the Federal Register. As expected, there is no provision for financial assistance provided in conjunction with the federal mandate for sprinkler system installation

Did You Know?
? Arthritis is the leading cause of disability in the nation
? Nearly 1 of 3 adults in South Carolina have arthritis
? Well over half of the people with diabetes also have arthritis
? People with arthritis and diabetes have fewer days of good physical and mental health than people with only one condition
? Learning more about your condition or what you can do to help yourself is important to live a healthy life

SCARCH Annual Holiday Meeting
?board elections at lunch, topics will include DHEC discussing proposed changes to Regulation 61-84, Medicaid, and the Hospice & Alzheimer's relationship.
December 9, 2008
Hilton Garden Inn at Harbison
434 Columbiana Drive Columbia, SC 29212

JOIN SCARCH for 2009 to keep receiving these email updates! New members are being accepted now. Contact SCARCH for details.

Melody Bailey