Provider groups dig in for long fight against more Medicare and Medicaid cuts

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Gov. Mark Parkinson
Gov. Mark Parkinson
With Medicare cuts still on the table for the soon-to-be-created congressional “super committee,” provider groups have been busy quantifying the results of further cuts to nursing homes.

The American Health Care Association has warned that if the congressional budget deficit committee fails to find other ways to save $1.5 trillion over 10 years, there will be automatic across-the-board cuts. This would mean a 2% reduction in Medicare reimbursement starting in 2013, which the association said would slam struggling skilled nursing facilities. Combined with the 11.1% Medicare rate cut scheduled to hit in October, AHCA estimates that a typical 100-bed SNF could stand to lose up to $50,000, or the equivalent of two direct-care workers.

“These cuts don't occur in a vacuum,” said AHCA President and CEO Mark Parkinson. “We hope Congress and the administration understand this latest proposal comes on the heels of several other deep reductions in provider funding – cuts that have taken their toll on our sector.”

Cheryl Phillips, LeadingAge's senior vice president for advocacy, says the congressional pile-on of additional cuts is devastating. While Medicaid is exempt from the possible automatic cuts, she said SNFs are already being hit as states try to reign in Medicaid spending.

“We've articulated our strategy and dubbed it ‘enough is enough,'” Phillips told McKnight's. “Our message to Congress is: this is not the time to put cuts on top of cuts. This is a continuous call for advocacy over many months.”
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