Providers take the long view on budget, doc pay formula

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AHCA President and CEO Mark Parkinson
AHCA President and CEO Mark Parkinson

Long-term care provider associations focused on the big picture and counted blessings in response to legislative action in the last Congressional session of 2013. 

The leader of the nation's largest provider group supported a budget deal, despite the fact that it would extend 2% Medicare reimbursement cuts by two years.

The deal ultimately will benefit providers by creating more political stability, said Mark Parkinson, CEO and president of the American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living. 

Parkinson and Larry Minnix, CEO and president of LeadingAge, also applauded the deal for extending an exceptions process for Medicare therapy reimbursement caps. 

Senior services generally will see more funding under the deal, Minnix noted.

Meanwhile, the Senate Finance Committee advanced a separate bill that would repeal the therapy caps altogether and institute a new therapy payment and claims review system. Providers have lambasted the current therapy payment system, as well as Medicare's broken Sustainable Growth Rate formula for setting physician payments, which the bill also would repeal. 

However, an SGR repeal would have to paid for by trimming Medicare elsewhere, threatening LTC payments. 

For this reason, the prospect of any “doc fix” bill has LTC providers worried.

“This bill will be offset. Period,” said Finance Committee Ranking Member, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT). 


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