Providers fume over pay freeze

Long-term care providers quickly fired back after a congressional advisory committee recommended no Medicare pay increase for the coming year.

The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission claimed that the aggregate margin for freestanding nursing homes in 2013 was 12.1%. If so, it would be the 14th straight year margins were above 10%, commissioners said.

Lobbyists with the American Health Care Association, however, said MedPAC's own research shows nursing home overall margins at only 1.9%.

In April, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services requested a net 1.4% ($500 million) increase in Medicare funding for fiscal 2016.

The rate increase would reflect a market basket increase of 2.6% and two reductions — a 0.6% cut for productivity adjustment, as required by the Affordable Care Act, and a 0.6% trim as a forecast error adjustment.

MedPAC is a nonpartisan advisory body to Congress. Lawmakers in recent years have regularly not acted on the panel's calls for no pay increases.