AHCA announces legislative priorities and $1 million ad buy

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The nation's largest long-term care provider association will advocate for site-neutral payments and other policies in a concerted effort to prevent further reductions in reimbursement, the American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living announced yesterday.

AHCA unveiled its priorities for the remainder of 2013 as Congress reconvened for its first week in session following the August recess. Lawmakers are poised to act on a “doc fix” proposal that has been gaining momentum, which would eliminate the automatic yearly reduction in physician's Medicare reimbursement rate. However, the bill does not specify how this would be paid for, and many believe that post-acute reimbursement rates — already diminished by sequestration — would take a hit.

The AHCA “We are the Solution” campaign will present two policies as ways to achieve savings without resorting to payment cuts: reducing hospital readmissions and site-neutral payments. AHCA has pushed these policies in recent comments to legislators. Specifically, the association has outlined an incentive system rewarding SNFs for reducing hospital readmissions, which AHCA estimates could save $2 billion over 10 years. Site-neutral payments would achieve savings by changing the payment system to focus more on patient outcomes rather than the setting where healthcare is delivered.

“This Congress is facing some difficult fiscal challenges as they look for ways to pay for important legislation such as the doc fix,” said Mark Parkinson, President and CEO of AHCA. “Our sector believes it can help members and senators find solutions that produce savings while advancing quality in the process.”

AHCA said it will advance its proposals through presentations to lawmakers and a nearly $1 million advertising campaign in the Washington, D.C. area, involving print, radio and web content.