By Tony Romeo

HARRISBURG, Pa. (CBS) — Nursing homes in Pennsylvania are sounding the alarm that they are on a path toward fiscal ruin.

Dr. Stuart Shapiro, CEO of the Pennsylvania Health Care Association, cites an independent study showing that skilled nursing facilities in the state are operating on dangerously thin margins.

“The margins are becoming unsustainable,” Shapiro says. “And when you compare Pennsylvania to the rest of the country, you can see that the average for all nursing homes in the country was 2.1% and for Pennsylvania was 1.2%.”

Shapiro says that margin for Pennsylvania nursing homes was above three percent as recently as 2007. And he says those facilities with large Medicaid populations are operating at just 0.3 percent.

Walter Kielar is Vice President of Chester County based Genesis Health Care, which operates dozens of facilities…

“The result is that providers like Genesis struggle to adequately attract and retain staff, to enhance the quality of care we provide, and to invest in our outdated buildings,” Kielar says. “We have a generation of baby boomers coming our way.”

The nursing home operators are asking lawmakers to support additional funding in Governor Tom Corbett’s proposed budget, which they say will bring in matching federal dollars.

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