Automatic 2% Medicare cuts begin

The 2% reduction in Medicare payments known as sequestration began Monday.

Providers will be reimbursed 98 cents on the dollar for Medicare fee-for-service claims with dates of service or dates of discharge on or after April 1, 2013, according to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Providers should begin to see the impact by mid-April.

“The claims payment adjustment shall be applied to all claims after determining coinsurance, any applicable deductible, and any applicable Medicare Secondary Payment adjustments,” according to a CMS release.

Long-term care advocates and other healthcare professionals have lobbied Congress to eliminate or restructure the cuts. The Senate recently passed a Democratic budget that would roll back the cuts, but the House budget created by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) maintains them. Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) recently said that budget negotiations may be the best chance for changing the terms of sequestration.

The payment reductions will cost skilled nursing facilities about $782.5 million in fiscal year 2014, according to Avalere Health research.