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National Long Term Care Community Business Coalition Cautions Severe $16 Billion Medicare Cuts to Nursing Home Care Will Not Only Jeopardize Quality Care to Seniors but Deeply Impact Businesses that Support Sector, Contribute to Local Economies
Date:8/4/2009

Draconian Cuts to Medicare Compounded by Further Cuts Proposed in House Healthcare Reform Legislation and Inadequate Medicaid Funding from Weakened State Budgets

WASHINGTON, Aug. 4 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Community Cares Coalition (CoCares) - a national coalition of community long term care businesses and organizations providing key services to the long term care skilled nursing community - today cautioned that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' (CMS') final rule cutting Medicare payments for skilled nursing care by as much as $16 billion over ten years will not only negatively impact high quality nursing home care for our nation's aging seniors, but have dire consequences far beyond the walls of the skilled nursing facility and be directly felt by local and state economies across the nation. A recent analysis on the impact of the rule indicates the U.S. economy would reduce business activity by $2.5 billion.

"It is simply unrealistic to believe that a $16 billion cut in Medicare funds to skilled nursing care is not going to impact quality care for the seniors who need it most, including vital rehabilitation services that assist our elderly in regaining independence and returning to their homes," said Jill Capela, CEO and founder of Orthopaedic & Neurological Rehabilitation Inc. (ONR), located in Austin, TX and one of the nation's leading contract rehabilitation therapy companies providing a complete range of physical, occupational and speech therapy to skilled nursing facilities and a member of CoCares. "This administrative rule will trigger instability in the long term care workforce that directly cares for our elderly and is employed by many small, community long term care businesses that serve as the backbone to local economies."

Hardening the blow from the rule is another $44.9 billion in cuts proposed in the U.S. House of Representatives healthcare reform legislation, HR 3200, expected to be voted on when Members of Congress return to Capitol Hill from congressional recess in August and chronic Medicaid underfunding exacerbated by state budgets weakened by the economic downturn.

"Many healthcare providers and those who work them want to be supportive of healthcare reform," said Doug Burr, Vice President of Finance, Reimbursement and Government Relations for Health Care Navigator, LLC, a long term care company located in White Plains, NY that provides a range of administrative, support and consultative services to skilled nursing facilities and hospices as well as to therapy and home health providers in nine states. "Drastic funding cuts on top of an administrative measure that slashes $16 billion makes sustaining a healthy long term care sector challenging at best. These cuts are being levied even though SNFs operate with the smallest overall total margins amongst all health care providers. The low total margins at SNFs are caused in large part by Medicaid not covering the cost of care."

Nationwide, the long term care industry provides almost two million jobs and accounts for approximately 1% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). CoCares emphasizes that stability in Medicare and Medicaid is the key toward ensuring that patients receive high quality nursing home care or care in assisted living settings and supporting businesses are able to provide key services and products that enhance the delivery of care.

The Community Cares Coalition consists of long term care community businesses and organizations across America. To view a list of CoCares members, please visit www.mycocares.org.


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SOURCE Community Cares Coalition
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