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Medicare Cuts in Bush Budget 'Shortsighted, Far Off the Mark' in Protecting Seniors' Long Term Care Needs, Sustaining Nursing Home Quality Gains
Date:2/4/2008

Cuts Endanger Seniors, Undermine Effort to Make Medicare Post-Acute Benefit More Rational

WASHINGTON, Feb. 4 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Alliance for Quality Nursing Home Care characterized the Bush Administration's FY 2009 budget blueprint released today as "far off the mark," and said if implemented, the proposal would have serious and lasting negative repercussions on efforts to maintain the economic stability crucial to sustained quality improvement in nursing home care for 1.5 million frail, elderly and disabled citizens. Although much analytic work remains to be done before the full impact on nursing homes will be known, at minimum the proposal would slash Medicare payments to nursing homes nearly $1 billion in FY 2009 and an astonishing $17 billion over five years by eliminating any inflationary increases for three years and institutionalizing less than inflationary increases in subsequent years.

This proposal, which the proposed budget describes as designed to improve efficiency and productivity, is particularly ironic, given that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), which administers the Medicare program, specifically states less than a year ago that nursing homes required an inflationary update to promote 'program efficiency, quality and sustainability.' Given the recent economic downturn and the continuing growth in health care inflation, it is difficult to contend that recent developments could have changed the outlook for nursing homes so dramatically.

"We are very disappointed by this unrealistic budget plan. It is far off the mark. We pledge to work with Congress in a bipartisan manner to ensure these Medicare cuts, which undermine the growing post-acute and skilled nursing care needs of our most vulnerable citizens, are rejected," stated Alan G. Rosenbloom, President of the Alliance. "Beyond taking a giant step backwards in our ongoing effort to promote and achieve quality improvements in the nation
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SOURCE The Alliance for Quality Nursing Home Care
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