Legislation would create LTCH certification criteria

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One major nursing home provider recently praised House legislation that would establish certification criteria for long-term acute care hospitals. U.S. Rep. Phil English (R-PA) and U.S. Rep. Earl Pomeroy (D-ND) introduced the bill.

"The English-Pomeroy bill goes a long way toward achieving the goal of ensuring that these medically complex patients have access to LTAC hospitals and at the same time would reduce Medicare expenditures by ensuring that patients who don't need LTAC services are effectively treated in lower cost settings such as inpatient rehabilitation facilities (IRFs) and skilled nursing facilities," said Paul Diaz, president and chief executive officer of Kindred Healthcare Inc.

In related news, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services proposed extending the "25% rule" to long-term care hospitals. It also proposed a 0.71% increase in standard Medicare reimbursements for LTCHs for 2008. The so-called 25% rule currently reduces Medicare reimbursements for LTCHs located within acute care hospitals that accept more than 25% of their patients from the host facilities. Under the new proposal, the 25% threshold would include certain situations not currently covered under the existing regulations.
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