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New CMS Medicare Rule Undercuts Ability of SNFs to Care for Higher Acuity Patients, as Intended by Law
Date:5/1/2008

AHCA, Alliance Warn $5 Billion, Five-Year Regulatory Funding Cut Ignores Changing SNF Patient Profile

WASHINGTON, May 1 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The nation's two leading long term care organizations warned that a key component of a newly-issued rule from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), and other changes announced today, will slash Medicare-financed nursing home care by approximately $5 billion over five years. This regulatory cut, leaders of the American Health Care Association (AHCA) and the Alliance for Quality Nursing Home Care say, gives with one hand, and takes away with another, and will significantly hinder skilled nursing facilities' (SNFs') ability to care for the higher-acuity patient population actually intended by CMS policy.

"Our profession is alarmed by the CMS action taken today, which we initially estimate will have the net effect of cutting SNF payments by approximately $5 billion over five years," said Bruce Yarwood, President and CEO of AHCA. "The policy we are currently following, as intended by existing law, improves our ability to care for a higher acuity patient population. The CMS changes, which we will now analyze in detail and comment upon as warranted, gives with one hand and takes away with another -- leaving frail, elderly seniors in greater jeopardy as a result."

Alan Rosenbloom, President of the Alliance, stated, "Regulatory-driven budget cuts like those incorporated into the CMS rule would inhibit skilled nursing facilities' ability to continue caring for increased numbers of high-acuity patients, and undermine our ongoing efforts to invest in and build the necessary clinical infrastructure to ensure care quality is maximized. As this detailed 139-page rule requires close scrutiny and study, our initial reaction is that it will unquestionably place at risk our long-standing goals of increased efficiency and effectiveness -- which benefits nursing home patients, our caregi
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SOURCE American Health Care Association
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