Providers optimistic as Medicaid commission nears deadline

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Providers say they are "cautiously optimistic" after last week's progress by the Medicaid advisory commission. The newly formed panel is charged with finding $10 billion in savings over the next five years.

An addendum regarding cautions about the asset-transfer penalty date and other issues important to long-term care operators will be added to the commission's final report, which is to be submitted to Congress by the end of the month. Long-term care's sole member among the 28 voting and non-voting members, Douglas Struyk, spoke out and represented the nursing community well, said Hal Daub, president and CEO of the American Health Care Association.

The commission's recommendations are due by Sept. 1, but it is not clear what weight they will have. After pushing through the advisory committee's creation earlier this year, Democrats in Congress refused to serve on it after Republican leaders said they would name all of the members, voting and otherwise.