Senate set to begin debate this week on healthcare reform bill

Share this content:
Chris Dodd (D-CT), serves on the Senate HELP committee.
Chris Dodd (D-CT), serves on the Senate HELP committee.

Fresh from its Thanksgiving break, the Senate is scheduled to pick up its debate over healthcare reform on Tuesday. Some provisions affecting senior care providers are similar to those in the House bill and some are different.

For example, the Senate bill would allow nursing homes to receive a full Medicare payment update for 2010 and 2011, according to a recent analysis by the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging. A productivity adjustment, which likely would be the equivalent of the market basket minus 1%, would begin thereafter, the association said. The House bill, by contrast, calls for an elimination of the market basket for three quarters in 2010 but also would put in place the productivity adjustment.

Similar to the House bill, the Senate legislation calls for an independent monitor for nursing home chains and includes a section on ownership disclosure. Other provisions in the Senate bill include a required Government Accountability Office report on the Five-Star Quality Rating system, a pilot program on Medicaid bundling to be established by 2013, the expansion of Medicaid-covered home- and community-based care and the creation of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid integration.