To save Medicare, SNFs pay

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The good news: Medicare's long-term solvency is likely to improve. The bad: This will likely happen at the expense of nursing homes.

The Medicare Part A Trust Fund, known as the hospital insurance (HI) fund, will be depleted in 2026, according to an annual  report. That's a two-year improvement over last year's forecast.

“The more favorable outlook is primarily due to … lower projected spending for most HI service categories — especially for skilled nursing facilities — to reflect lower-than-expected spending in 2012 and other recent data,” the Medicare trustees wrote. 

The trustees did not specify why 2012 spending was lower than expected. But American Health Care Association spokesman Greg Crist said that provider initiatives may be at work. AHCA members have anecdotally reported they are receiving fewer hospital discharges, he noted.

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