New Medicare Cuts in CMS Final Rule a Clear and Present Danger to SNF Sector Stability, Quality Patient Care, Local Jobs

WASHINGTON, July 29, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Saying the nation's Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF) sector has contributed significantly to advancing health care reform and deficit reduction in the face of severe state Medicaid funding pressures and other major budgetary challenges, the Alliance for Quality Nursing Home Care today expressed alarm about the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services' (CMS) newly-published Final Rule ["Prospective Payment System and Consolidated Billing for Skilled Nursing Facilities for FY 2012"], and said it will dangerously destabilize the nation's second largest health facility employer, place patients and their care at deep risk, and put tens of thousands of health jobs in immediate jeopardy.

"The SNF sector has contributed heavily to advancing health care reform and deficit reduction, and is confronted by multiple ongoing threats to funding stability," stated Alan G. Rosenbloom, President of the Alliance. "The ill-considered nature of the Rule and its dire implications to seniors, providers and jobs are significant, immediate and dangerous," stated Alan G. Rosenbloom, President of the Alliance. "Plummeting state Medicaid funding, $14.6 billion in Medicare cuts contained in the Affordable Care Act (ACA), rising patient acuity, shrinking length of stay, escalating costs, and having the lowest operating margin of all provider groups contributes to the SNF sector's instability in the face of growing demand for care and services," Rosenbloom continued.  

In attempting to correct an "inadvertent overpayment," Rosenbloom said CMS has gone well beyond the cautious correction urged not only by the sector but also by a bipartisan group of House and Senate members. "By adding substantial changes in payment methodology for therapy services, CMS also has crossed the line from over-correction into real Medicare cuts," he continued. "Lawmakers will now be placed in the unfortunate position of having to deal with an increased threat to local seniors' access to care as a result of this egregious regulatory action.  Never in the history of the Medicare program has either CMS or Congress implemented such a large correction in one year."

SOURCE Alliance for Quality Nursing Home Care