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Skilled nursing care faces more Medicare cuts

January 16, 2013
by Sandra Hoban, Executive Editor
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Skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) will endure further cuts in Medicare payments because of provisions that are part of the fiscal American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (ATRA), according to a release from the Alliance for Quality Nursing Home Care (AQNHC).

Data compiled by Avelere indicate that the Multiple Procedure Payment Reduction (MPPR) will impact therapists providing services to Medicare patients in skilled nursing settings. SNF and outpatient therapy are paid according to a Part B schedule. It does not distinguish on the severity of the illness.

SNF patients are usually more frail and more medically compromised than those who can visit outpatient providers. Consequently, providing multiple services is more costly in the skilled nursing setting.

In 2012, Medicare payments were reduced by 25 percent for patients receiving multiple therapies in one day. On April 1, 2013, that payment will be further reduced as a result of ATRA.

AQNHC President Alan G. Rosenbloom sums it up: “Given that 70 percent of SNF patients depend upon Medicare and/or Medicaid funding for their care, the economics of SNF care are in turmoil.”

Paul A. Rockar Jr., president of the American Physical Therapy Association commented in another article that the MPPR provision is “unjustified, capricious, and poor public policy.”

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