Nursing homes with AIDS patients get huge Medicare hike

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Nursing homes that treat residents with AIDS will get more than a 128% increase in Medicare payment rates Oct. 1, 2004, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services formally said Monday.

The change is part of a provision in the Medicare Modernization Act. Medicare's skilled nursing facility prospective payment system has a policy of paying higher rates for sicker or more complicated nursing facility patients.

"This action to implement the new payment rate reflects the increased costs associated with caring for this special group of beneficiaries," said CMS Administrator Mark McClellan. "We want to take whatever steps are necessary to assure continued access to care for people living with AIDS."

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