Baucus, Grassley propose 'bundling' of post-acute payments; nursing home groups object

Share this content:
Sens. Max Baucus (D-MT) and Charles Grassley (R-IA) this week released several policy ideas for revamping America's healthcare delivery system. Many of these would affect the long-term care and post-acute care fields.

Under their proposal, a Medicare value-based purchasing plan would be implemented for skilled nursing facilities by 2012. Baucus and Grassley also suggest bundling payments for post-acute care services occurring or initiated within 30 days of hospital discharge. These would include skilled nursing facilities.

The American Health Care Association and Alliance for Quality Nursing Home Care on Wednesday largely praised the plan, but they reiterated their reservations about post-acute payment bundling.

"We believe a more cautious approach to post-acute reform that evaluates options in addition to bundling - like site-neutral post-acute payments - may be a better approach to rationalizing the coordination of acute and post-acute services, and the coordination of care across these settings," Bruce Yarwood, president and CEO of AHCA, and Alan Rosenbloom, president of the Alliance, said in a statement.

In a statement accompanying the 48-page policy position, Baucus said the proposals reflected the ideas put forth in many discussions he has had concerning healthcare reform over the last year. While the new proposals "put some meat on the bones of those ideas," Baucus is quick to point out that "nothing is set in stone." Public comments on the proposals are due by May 15.