LeadingAge: Tough times ahead for long-term care providers

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LeadingAge President and CEO Larry Minnix openly acknowledged Wednesday afternoon that the next two years could be tense and difficult for long-term care providers. He was just one of a handful of experts painting a grave outlook.

During a Tele-Town Hall, Minnix and other LeadingAge officials discussed their advocacy and legislative goals amid the prospect of 2% across-the-board cuts to Medicare triggered by the “super committee's” inaction.

Congress must take a balanced approach in its efforts to reduce the national deficit, said Marsha Greenfield, LeadingAge's vice president of legislative affairs. She believes the committee did find agreement on certain adjustments to Medicare and Medicaid funding, but that the sticking point was revenue and the prospect of raising taxes.

“We and other organizations take the position that there must be a balanced approach in reducing the deficit. We will not be able to sustain Medicaid and Medicare without increasing revenue,” Greenfield asserted.

Barbara Manard, LeadingAge's vice president of long-term care health strategies, discussed additional advocacy goals LeadingAge is focused on achieving before the end of the year. She said Congress is likely to address the therapy-caps and the so-called “doc fix” issues. LeadingAge is vigorously opposed to allowing Medicare physicians get whacked by a scheduled 27% reimbursement reduction, Manard stressed.

She added that although LeadingAge is working with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to mitigate the 11.1% cut to Medicare reimbursements for therapy in skilled nursing facilities, a quick fix isn't likely.

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