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Skilled nursing provider groups blast Obama’s 2013 budget

February 14, 2012
by Kevin Kolus
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Skilled nursing provider groups reacted negatively Monday to President Obama’s 2013 budget recommendations, which propose $360 billion in cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and other healthcare programs.

Under Obama’s budget, Medicare would reduce payments to nursing homes for post-acute care and cut bad debt payments owed to skilled nursing facilities.

“Cutting payments such as the White House’s bad debt provision is tantamount to cutting Medicare benefits,” said Mark Parkinson, president and CEO of the American Health Care Association. “And limiting provider assessments will only add to the Medicaid burdens at the state level.

“This sort of budgeting violates the basic contract between the government and beneficiaries—namely, that covered services will be paid.”

The Alliance for Quality Nursing Home Care called Obama’s approach to achieving the proposed $4 trillion in deficit reductions a “strategy of ‘cuts only’ without reforms.”

“With America’s skilled nursing facility sector already slated to absorb $127 billion in Medicare reductions over the FY 2012-2021 budget window, any additional direct payment cuts in the FY 2013 federal budget will further jeopardize seniors’ access to quality care, worsen facility job losses and risk pushing America’s second largest health facility employer over the edge,” said Alliance President Alan Rosenbloom.

Parkinson noted that the American Health Care Association supports efforts to “remove costs out of the system,” such as lowering hospital readmissions of nursing home residents through an increased emphasis on delivering quality care.

“We shouldn’t have an approach focused solely on cuts,” Parkinson said. “Unfortunately, the President’s budget reflects that singular direction.”

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Nursing homes already struggle financially. The current daily medicaid reimbursement rate in Oklahoma is $124.00 a day. After medical supplies, food, water to bath them, electricity to heat and cool their living quarters and payroll. There is nothing left. You can not hardly get a hotel room for $124.00 per day, and they don't take care of any of your healthcare needs.

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