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AHCA, Alliance Warn Rural Seniors Will Bear Major Brunt of Bush Administration's Medicare Cuts
Date:5/27/2008

Rural Seniors in OH, TX, NC, IL, PA, TN, KY, IN, MO, MI Face Greatest, Most Immediate Threat

WASHINGTON, May 27 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- As Members of Congress are in their home districts this week over the Memorial Day district work period, national and long term care leaders are raising the profile of damaging Medicare cuts proposed by the Bush Administration, and warning that rural seniors' care needs will be most negatively impacted in Ohio, Texas, North Carolina, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Kentucky, Indiana, Missouri, and Michigan. This is according to a new rural impact analysis of the cuts released today by the American Health Care Association (AHCA) and the Alliance for Quality Nursing Home Care.

At issue is the Bush Administration proposed rule that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued on May 1, 2008, which would cut Medicare skilled nursing facility (SNF) payments to account for a "forecasting error" made by CMS in 2005. In making the "correction," CMS will cut $133.2 million in Medicare Part A funding for rural seniors' skilled nursing care in FY 2009, with a Patient Per Day (PPD) impact of $10.96, according to the new AHCA data.

Bruce Yarwood, President and CEO of AHCA, and Alan G. Rosenbloom, President of the Alliance, warned that in proposing these cuts, CMS has failed to factor-in changes in Administration-backed Medicare policies that, as intended by original policy, are moving significant numbers of high acuity patients into SNFs - patients who otherwise would have been cared for in higher cost settings. These policies saved Medicare $709 million in 2006 alone, according to an independent analysis by Avalere Health, LLC.

Further, the AHCA and Alliance leaders observed, the Medicare cuts will have an especially disastrous impact on rural facilities and their patients, as sharply rising energy and food prices - on top of higher labor costs, the profession's greatest ongoing challenge
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SOURCE American Health Care Association
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