Nursing home operators vow to fight for Medicaid relief during lame-duck session

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With Republicans looking to rein in government spending during the upcoming lame-duck session of Congress, American Health Care Association President and CEO Bruce Yarwood is concerned that the House will vote to cut the enhanced Medicaid funding provided by last year's Recovery Act. Returning to the pre-Recovery Act rate would be difficult for nursing homes and assisted living facilities, Yarwood said at a press briefing Monday at his group's headquarters in Washington.

Yarwood pointed out that the long-term constituency is going to continue to grow and that this group was often left out of much of the conversation during healthcare reform.

Healthcare reform did create the CLASS Act, which allows workers to set aside funds from each paycheck to help pay for long-term care, in-home care and even disability insurance.

“Looking ahead, I have to say I am concerned about the significant wrangling we already see developing between the state and federal governments in regard to Medicaid and the federal healthcare reform law,” Yarwood stated. “There's no question this policy debate is necessary and frankly merited following the election.”

The lame-duck session is crucial for the long-term care community because of issues such as the RUG-IV reimbursement system and the pending expiration of the Medicare Part B therapy caps exceptions process.

“We are prepared to fight on behalf of our profession to get these small yet important initiatives,” Yarwood said.