The end is near for physician payment cut dilemma

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Time does stand still sometimes, doesn’t it?

Take the race for the Democratic presidential candidate. It seemingly had been moving at the pace of molasses for more than a month. Like an instant replay in boxing, Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton had been slugging it out in slow motion.

Which is why last night had an almost surreal quality. Could it actually be true? Could Obama really have clinched the nomination? No. You almost have to pinch yourself that this tug-of-war could actually be over.

Long-term care providers likely are chuckling at this tortuous game of wait-and-see. After all, waiting seems to be a regular part of life in the industry.

But thankfully, the clock finally has started ticking in this arena as well. For example, the time seems to be nearing at last when the issue of physician payment cuts will be put to eternal rest – or at least for an annual slumber.

Legislators are moving to stop the 10.6% cut, which is scheduled to occur on July 1. What has bothered nursing home providers is the possibility that lawmakers might dig into the skilled nursing facility market-basket update to pay to restore the physician payments. So far, that has not happened. You can’t stop fretting yet, but at least you know a resolution likely is coming.

Providers have been holding their breath on other pending developments that are likely to figure themselves out in some fashion. The Medicare therapy caps extension process, for one, is expiring at the end of the month. Action, let’s hope, is forthcoming.

Deadlines are not always easy to make, but they serve a purpose. They force action. Whether it works in one’s favor, of course, is the big question. I’m for moving it along.

In the possible case of Clinton, it’s not easy to withdraw from the presidential race, but at some point it has to be done.

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Daily Editors' Notes

McKnight's Daily Editors' Notes features commentary on the latest in long-term care news and issues. Entries are written by Editorial Director John O'Connor, Editor James M. Berklan, Senior Editor Elizabeth Newman and Staff Writer Marty Stempniak.