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Senator Susan Collins Praised for Leading Successful Effort to Derail $4.3 Million Maine Medicare Cuts

Action Preserves Beneficiary Access to High Quality Nursing Home Care; Helps Preserve, Strengthen Intra-Facility Staffing Efforts

JOPLIN, Mo., Aug. 7 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Citing the substantial benefit in protecting the nation's critical frontline-caregiver infrastructure, the Coalition to Protect Senior Care (CPSC) today thanked Senator Susan Collins for helping to lead a successful, bipartisan effort in Congress to stop the Bush Administration from moving forward with a new regulation that would have cut Medicare-funded nursing home care by $4 billion over the next five years, and $770 million for FY 2009. The Administration announced last week that the regulation would not go into effect, and the success of Sen. Collins in helping to prevent the Medicare regulation from going into effect ensures Maine seniors will be protected from cuts of $4.3 million next year.

"With all of the seemingly endless public criticism of Washington, it is essential to point out that Senator Collins just played a successful, pivotal role in helping roll back potentially disastrous $4.3 million Medicare cuts for Maine's seniors," stated Lori Porter, a co-founder and CEO of the National Association of Health Care Assistants, and a founding member of the CPSC, based in Joplin, MO. "From the perspective of front line caregivers who help make the key difference in patient outcomes, Sen. Collins deserves enormous thanks for stopping the Medicare changes that were about to go into effect."

Specifically, Sen. Collins joined a key letter to Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Mike Leavitt warning the Bush Administration's proposed Medicare regulation would "jeopardize the significant quality improvements made by the skilled nursing facility (SNF) community in recent years as well as the ability of nursing homes to continue caring for high acuity patients. Because nursing homes rely on Medicare to make up for chronic underfunding by the Medicaid program - an average of $13 per day for every Medicaid beneficiary in nursing homes nationwide - it is critically important that Medicare reimbursement remain fair and consistent. We believe that if the Administration were to finalize its proposed rule, the ability of providers to care for our nation's most vulnerable population - the frail elderly and disabled - would be severely threatened."

"Strictly from a health policy standpoint, the cancellation of the Medicare regulation is an outstanding development in terms of both meeting seniors' changing health care needs and doing so in a manner that uses Medicare funds most efficiently," Porter continued. "The intra-facility staffing enhancement and quality improvement efforts so essential to the continued provision of quality care can now continue to the benefit of every Maine Medicare beneficiary."

The Coalition to Protect Senior Care consists of the American Association for Long Term Care Nursing (AALTCN); the American College of Health Care Administrators (ACHCA); the American Association of Nurse Assessment Coordinators (AANAC); the National Rural Health Association (NRHA); the American Association of Nurse Executives (AANEX); the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA); the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA); the American Society of Health Care Administration Executives (ASHCAE); the American Health Care Association (AHCA); the American Health Quality Association (AHQA); the National Association for the Support of Long Term Care (NASL); the National Association of Health Care Assistants (NAHCA); the Alliance for Quality Nursing Home Care; the Coalition of Women in Long Term Care (COWL); and the Senior Clinician Group.

SOURCE Coalition to Protect Senior Care
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