Alliance: MedPAC evaluation "flawed"

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Two major long-term care organizations criticized the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission's formal recommendation to Congress to freeze payment rates for skilled nursing facilities for fiscal year 2009.

MedPAC's overall evaluation “is flawed and not reflective of the true economic conditions nursing homes face in today's marketplace,” said the Alliance for Quality Nursing Home Care in a statement released Monday. Medicaid payments fail to cover the cost of care and Medicare makes up that shortfall, noted Alan Rosenbloom, president of the Alliance. Without adequate Medicare funding, "patient care and quality improvements will be at risk,” he said. The American Health Care Association also expressed disappointment with the recommendation.

MedPAC issued other recommendations in its March report to Congress Monday. These include reducing the indirect medical education adjustment by 1 percentage point to 4.5%, and freezing payments to home health agencies and inpatient rehabilitation facilities.