Grassley amendment in stimulus bill would protect nursing home reimbursements

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Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA)
Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA)
Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) is drawing praise from nursing homes for introducing an amendment to the economic stimulus package. The amendment would preserve provider payments under the proposed $87 billion federal medical assistance percentage (FMAP) increase.
Current language of the stimulus package would return Medicaid eligibility to July 1, 2008 levels, protecting thousands of seniors who have had their Medicaid coverage revoked due to state budget cutbacks. The bill does not, however, protect providers when it comes to FMAP reimbursements (McKnight's, 1/30). Grassley's amendment, which he offered Thursday, would specify that no state could receive the increased FMAP funds if it reduces provider payments.
The American Health Care Association and the Alliance for Quality Nursing Home Care applauded the move and urged other members of the Senate to adopt the provision. The Senate had not voted on the amendment as of press time. Once the Senate approves its version of the stimulus package, a joint Senate-House committee will meet to finalize the legislation, which Washington insiders speculate will happen some time next week.