Rural nursing homes would bear brunt of Medicare cuts, provider analysis shows

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Proposed Medicare cuts would be most damaging to rural providers in states such as Ohio, Texas, North Carolina and seven others, nursing home advocates warned Tuesday. The caution was the latest salvo in a campaign launched by the American Health Care Association and the Alliance for Quality Nursing Home Care.

AHCA data shows that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services would cut nearly $11, on average, per patient day under an administration proposal. The proposed measure was introduced May 1 to correct a "forecasting error" CMS made in 2005. It would slash $133 million in Medicare Part A funding for rural seniors during the next fiscal year, according to AHCA.

Rising energy, food and labor costs, will hit rural providers particularly hard, nursing home advocates said.

The states with the biggest rural per-patient-day cuts on the table include: Ohio ($11.79), Pennsylvania ($11.52), Mississippi ($11.24), North Carolina ($11.09), Indiana ($11.02) and Illinois ($10.94).

"We plan on ensuring federal lawmakers are acutely aware how these spiraling costs, in conjunction with the administration's Medicare cut, will undermine nursing homes on an operational basis, and jeopardize seniors' care needs on a clinical level," said Alliance Executive Director Alan Rosenbloom. "On virtually every front, America's skilled nursing facilities are facing budget cuts and cost increases, and it is time to sound the alarm."