House reform bill would significantly alter Medicare payment policy, report finds

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Salaries increase for DONs, administrators
Salaries increase for DONs, administrators

Under the House healthcare reform package, Medicare payments to skilled nursing facilities would grow slowly, according to a Congressional Research Service report released the day before the bill's passage.

The House legislation would subject skilled nursing facility market-basket updates to a "productivity adjustment," significantly slowing an increase in payments. The combination of the productivity adjustment and a proposed elimination in the market basket for the final three quarters of fiscal year 2010 would result in a reduction in Medicare of $23.9 billion over 10 years, according to the American Health Care Association. The bill would also require Medicare to change its policy regarding non-therapy ancillary services, such as medical equipment and IV therapy, to make reimbursements budget neutral. The House passed the bill on Saturday. 

Other Medicare changes include reductions in skilled nursing payments for patients who are readmitted within 30 days and a post-acute care payment bundling demonstration project. More information on the report, which highlights other changes in Medicare payment policy under H.R. 3962, can be found at www.opencrs.com