Bipartisan letter to Bush: Don't cut skilled nursing facility payments

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Lawmakers in overwhelming numbers last week expressed their dislike of proposed skilled nursing facility payment reductions of $770 million for fiscal year 2009. A total of 40 senators and 110 representatives signed letters of objection to the Bush administration.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services proposed these cuts after making an error on a budgetary forecast to account for the 2005 expansion of Resource Utilization Groups (RUGs), which resulted in a significant increase in Medicare expenditures. CMS' belated attempts to correct the problem will "jeopardize the significant quality improvements made by the SNF community in recent years as well as the ability of SNFs to continue caring for high acuity patients," the Senate letter said.

CMS, for its part, has said that the $770 million in cuts would be significantly offset by a market basket or inflationary update to Medicare payments of 3.1%, which would equal $710 million. They maintain that cuts would be closer to $60 million.

To view the Senate's letter to CMS, go to http://www.mcknights.com/Senate-Letter/article/111874/.
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