Medicare payments to nursing facilities may stay same in FY 2010

The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) may recommend to Congress that skilled nursing facilities not receive a Medicare payment update in fiscal year 2010.

MedPAC said in draft recommendations that leaving payments to skilled facilities unchanged would not adversely affect Medicare beneficiary access to needed services, or affect a facility’s willingness to accept Medicare residents. The commission also discussed a 0% increase for inpatient rehabilitation facilities and a flat increase or 5% cut for home health centers.

The panel will make a final vote on these recommendations in January. The draft recommendations issued by MedPAC also could mean a full market-basket increase for hospitals in 2010. The commission would like to see increased hospital payments tied more closely to quality of care initiatives, and would seek to vary any payment increases accordingly.