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CMS to cut SNF payments by 11.1%

July 30, 2011
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Medicare will cut skilled nursing facility payments by 11.1 percent, or $3.87 billion, starting October 1, under a corrective proposal the federal government issued Friday. The plan for reduced funding comes on the heels of reports that providers have been paid more than $2 billion above federal projections since a new payment system took effect late last year.

“We are appalled that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) chose to implement an 11.1 percent across-the-board rate cut for skilled nursing facilities in one year,” said Larry Minnix, LeadingAge president and CEO.

“At such a critical time, while we already face drastic cuts to Medicaid at the state level and a fragile economic recovery, this was unnecessary," said Governor Mark Parkinson, president and CEO of the American Health Care Association (AHCA). "Their immediate reduction to skilled nursing facilities now puts more than 100,000 healthcare jobs at risk, as well as our ability to provide quality care to our nation’s seniors.”

“CMS is committed to providing high quality care to those in skilled nursing facilities and to pay those facilities properly for that care,” said CMS Administrator Donald M. Berwick, M.D. “The adjustments to the payment rates for next year reflect that policy.”

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Dr. Berwick and his agency took an ax to a problem which required a scalpel. Dr. Berwick speaks about the improvements by providers in reducing unplanned readmissions back to the hospitals (saves millions - to Medicare)and taking on the ever increasingly complexity of the patients (costs millions - all paid by providers) being discharged to SNFs for short-term, transitional rehab in the already most cost-effective setting. But, then approves this reduction which will cost &gt 100,000 people their jobs...

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