Fiscal cliff provision spells huge Medicare payment cuts for SNFs, analysis shows

Skilled nursing facilities, already bracing for scheduled Medicare payment cuts of $65 million, face further losses that could total hundreds of millions of dollars, according to an Avalere Health analysis.

The Alliance for Quality Nursing Home Care (AQNHC) released the Avalere findings Wednesday. The firm estimated SNFs could see $600 million in reduced Medicare payments between 2013 and 2022 as a result of the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012.

At issue is the Multiple Procedure Payment Reduction provision of ATRA. The provision cuts the Medicare Part B payment rate for beneficiaries who receive multiple therapy procedures during a single day. The ATRA reduction, effective April 1, 2013, came on the heels of a previous 2012 payment cut of 25% for those who receive multiple same-day therapies in inpatient settings such as SNFs.

Given the rushed circumstances in which ATRA was hammered out, some legislators may believe nursing homes and SNFs were spared, said AQNHC President Alan Rosenbloom told McKnight’s.

SNFs cannot survive further payment reductions, given the “cascade of cuts” enacted since 2009, Rosenbloom said. He stressed that fundamental restructuring of the payment system is needed to ensure “Medicare is getting the most bang for its buck, and patients are getting the best care in the setting most appropriate to their needs.”