Medicare may boost nursing-home rates

CMS may be instituting a $690 million boost in Medicare nursing home payments for 2008. Nursing facilities would get a 3.3 percent increase in payments under the new adjustments to the skilled nursing facility prospective payment system. Right now, payments are based on a "market basket" of services calculated in 1997, but the new initiative would adjust the rates to reflect 2004 costs. The change would result in an increase for room, board, medical care and other nursing home expenses. The rates would also include a special added payment for homes treating patients with HIV/AIDS. The increase is approximately at the same level that Medicare has made in previous years.

To find out more about CMS's plans:
- read this United Press International piece
- see the CMS press release