CMS wants to cut $390M in Medicare nursing

CMS is proposing a plan that's not likely to make nursing home administrators happy: The agency would like to cut 2010 payment rates for Medicare skilled nursing facilities by $390 million, or 1.2 percent. It says the new payment scale would "better reflect" the cost of caring for Medicare beneficiaries in these homes. CMS also says the cutback will rebalance an earlier adjustment to case-mix indexes.

CMS has calculated that the FY 2010 recalibration of the case-mix indexes would regulate in a reduction in payments to nursing homes of more than $1 billlion, or 3.3 percent. However, that's not as bad as it sounds, officials say. While that number would work out to $16 per patient day, which could have an impact on care, the decrease would be offset by a proposed update to Medicare payments to skilled nursing facilities.

That update, which would be about $660 million for FY, would be based on the change in prices of a "market basket" of goods and services included in covered skilled nursing facility stays.

To learn more about the updates:
- read this Health Leaders Media piece