Congress averted Medicare 'meltdown,' Morton asserts

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Cynthia Morton
Cynthia Morton
It's not often that long-term care providers can claim multiple victories with one piece of legislation, at least not victories of this caliber.

When President Obama signed the Medicare  “extender” bill into law Dec. 15, however, it was clearly a case of win-win (and possibly a few more wins) for providers.

“Passage of the legislation averts what would have been a major meltdown in the Medicare system beginning January 1, 2011,” said National Association for the Support of Long-Term Care Executive Vice President Cynthia Morton.

Major nursing home associations also came out in favor of the bill's passage.

Among the major gains, the legislation maintains the therapy caps exceptions process through 2011. It also delays payment cuts to doctors. And much to their delight, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services officials will not have to devise a “hybrid” RUG-III payment classification system this year. (It would have been replaced by the RUG-IV system starting Oct. 1, 2011.)

But the NASL leader noted that the measure only temporarily repairs problems related to Medicare payment cuts for doctors, and the therapy caps for nursing home residents.

“It represents another temporary patch for problems that need long-term repairs,” Morton said.

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