MedPAC urges rates blind to care setting

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MedPAC Chairman Glenn Hackbarth
MedPAC Chairman Glenn Hackbarth

Skilled nursing facilities and inpatient rehabilitation facilities should receive equal payments for treating some conditions, the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission proposed in its latest report to Congress. 

Site-neutral payments for post-acute care would encourage efficiency and a focus on patients' needs “regardless of setting,” said Mark Parkinson, CEO and president of the American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living. 

Patient populations and outcomes are similar across the two settings, MedPAC's June 13 report stated. Similarities are especially strong for patients with orthopedic conditions, MedPAC found, making this a good “starting point” for new policy. 

Inpatient rehab facilities have protested, and MedPAC acknowledges the change would reduce IRF payments. But the reductions would not be catastrophic, commissioners determined.


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