Following a bombshell report released earlier this week, federal lawmakers are demanding that the Department of Veterans Affairs release once-hidden information about care quality at its nursing homes.
Long-term care providers are not only preparing residents, staff and special work cycles for year-end holidays. Many are also looking to capitalize on lawmakers being home from Washington by inviting them for a visit.
Republican members of the House Ways and Means Committee have threatened to subpoena federal health officials to gain access to public relations contracts related to the Affordable Care Act.
If it's the middle of August, that means federal lawmakers are on recess, touring their home districts. It also means providers are pursuing facility tours and other kinds of direct contact with the lawmakers. There is little chance members of Congress won't hear providers' concerns before heading back to Washington. Operators are rallying against an 11.1% average Medicare funding cut set to go into effect Oct. 1. They're also trying to sway opinion with members of the newly appointed "super panel" that will make deficit reduction recommendations by Thanksgiving.
As President Obama and Congress continue to evaluate a multitude of different ways to reduce Medicare spending, it is more important than ever for lawmakers to understand the critical role nursing homes play in providing the specialized care and therapy vital to patient rehabilitation, and central to avoiding costly rehospitalizations.
With lawmakers coming down to the wire to create a U.S. deficit reduction package, provides will be turning up the lobbying heat in an effort to keep the CLASS Act, and certain other important Medicaid and Medicare programs. It could be an uphill battle: Several prominent proposals have already recommended billions of dollars of cuts in healthcare funding.