House, Senate to tackle SCHIP after August recess

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Come September, the House and Senate face a major challenge: reconciling differing versions of legislation that updates the State Children's Health Insurance Program.

The House bill could effectively deliver a double whammy to nursing home providers. It not only would freeze Medicare payments to skilled nursing providers in fiscal year 2008, it also would keep the 75% Rule at the 60% level. The rule, which helps to funnel patients from inpatient rehabilitation facilities to nursing homes, is scheduled to reach the 75% threshold next year. (Under the rule, 75% of patients at IRFs must have one of 13 qualifying conditions for the IRF to qualify for higher Medicare funds.)

Nursing home groups have criticized the House's version because it trims Medicare payments to providers. The Senate's version does not call for funding to be redirected.
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