Caregiver coalition pressures Senate to act on Medicare payments

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The Coalition to Protect Senior Care, a group of nursing home direct caregivers, is asking the Senate to delay a change to a Medicare payment regulation put in place by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in 2009, when the economy was in rougher shape.

When two payment regulations were finalized in 2009, skilled nursing facilities asked for a one-year delay in implementing one of them in order to allow patients and caregivers time to make modifications. The House passed legislation delaying one of the changes; the coalition has launched a letter-writing campaign asking the Senate for the other delay.

“From the standpoint of protecting seniors' access to quality nursing home care and helping to stabilize facility staffing, Congress needs to use this 'lame-duck' session to put in place the new payment system—which has no extra cost and is uniformly backed by all stakeholders,” said Lisa Cantrell, co-founder of the National Association of Health Care Assistants, in a statement.