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Sen. Pat Roberts Praised by AHCA, Alliance for Urging Halt to Proposed CMS Rule
Date:4/9/2008

New Letter to CMS Says Rule Implementation Will Cut Medicare Funding, 'Create Serious Instability' in Skilled Nursing Sector

WASHINGTON, April 9 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The American Health Care Association (AHCA) and Alliance for Quality Nursing Home Care today praised and thanked U.S. Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS) for writing a new letter urging the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to forego implementation of a proposed rule that cuts Medicare Resource Utilization Group (RUG) rates by $4.7 billion over five years.

In addition to warning how federal Medicare cuts negatively affect the viability of state-administered Medicaid programs, especially during a recession, the cuts, he says, "will create serious instability" in the skilled nursing sector as well as "jeopardize the quality of care for Medicare beneficiaries and the quality of life for their caregivers."

Says Senator Robert's letter to CMS Acting Administrator, Kerry Weems: "CMS is proposing rulemaking to cut $4.7 billion over five years in payments to SNFs. In a proposed rule, expected later this year, CMS intends to cut Medicare Resource Utilization Group (RUG) rates. I am concerned about the impact these cuts would have on America's most vulnerable seniors. My concern stems from the fact that SNFs already lose an average of $13 per day when caring for Medicaid patients, and the situation is expected to worsen as states are forced to cut spending due to recession.

"Medicare payments are critical to shoring up inadequate Medicaid spending and ensuring access to quality care. Therefore, I am concerned these regulations promulgated without legislative input would have a devastating impact on an industry that serves seniors across the country."

Bruce Yarwood, President and CEO of AHCA, said Roberts' point about CMS circumventing congressional oversight in implementing regulatory changes is a paramount concern, and the wrong way to formulate pol
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SOURCE The Alliance for Quality Nursing Home Care
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