Nacogdoches nursing home employees fear state budget cuts

Cody Eberlan is a nurse at Stallings Court nursing home in Nacogdoches.
Cody Eberlan is a nurse at Stallings Court nursing home in Nacogdoches.

By Holley Nees - bio | email

NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - Cody Eberlan hopes the state doesn't kick him out of his job.

"That's me, paycheck to paycheck," said Eberlan, a nurse at Stallings Court nursing home. "I used to work two jobs, but then my wife started school so I had to cutback to one so I could help watch the kids."

He's one of thousands of nursing home workers across Texas that could be joining the unemployment lines if the state makes sweeping cuts to health care.

"There is a potential of 895 maybe less, maybe more nursing homes across the state of Texas that will close," said Stallings Court Licensed Nursing Facility Administrator Andrea Hill.

Possible cuts come as the need for long-term care continues to climb.

Eberlan's boss has been in the business nearly 30 years and said it doesn't get much worse.

"If these cuts actually go through, I have never seen it this bad before," said Hill.

Medicaid reimburses Stallings Court for more than half of their 120 beds, so if the state starts making cuts to Medicaid, then they won't be able to care for all of their residents.

"If there is no funding for these residents, then there is nothing I can do, but to discharge them to home," Hill said.

They already took a three percent medicaid cut last year and now the state budget crisis could bring an additional 33 percent cut.

Hill said it'll have a deep impact on resident care.

"A lot of them don't even have family members to go home to and that's what's heartbreaking about this is because if this facility ended up having to close, what am I going to do," Hill questioned. "What are they going to do?"

Her employees wonder what they're going to do.

"It worries me a lot because I have been doing this since I left high school and I love what I do," said Stallings Court Certified Nursing Assistant Shelonda Larremore.

Larremore hopes the state won't keep her from her passion.

Lawmakers are still working to balance the state budget.

It could be several months before nursing homes know the full impact of the cuts.

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