Providers show support of pay-for-performance legislation

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A coalition of 15 of the nation's largest skilled-nursing care providers have expressed their support for legislation that ties Medicare payments to the quality of care provided in long-term care facilities.

"It makes sense to reward top performers, just as it makes sense to penalize the poorest performers," said Stephen Guillard, chairman the Alliance for Quality Nursing Home Care and CEO of Harborside Healthcare, Boston.

The Nursing Home Pay for Performance Act financially rewards top performing facilities with higher Medicare payments and penalizes the lowest performers with reduced payments. Representatives Phil English (R-PA), Heather Wilson (R-NM) and John Tanner (D-TN) introduced the legislation March 17.

The system of rewards and penalties would phase in over two years. During the first year, the highest performing nursing homes could receive an additional 2% in payments. After the first year, the lowest performing facilities would receive lower payments.