MedPAC settles on nursing home recommendations

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The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission voted Wednesday to send Congress new recommendations for revamping Medicare reimbursements for skilled nursing facilities, nursing homes and primary care facilities.

Among the recommendations MedPAC is sending to Congress is a provision under which skilled nursing facilities would be directed to report diagnosis information, dates of service on claims filed and services the facility provides separately on patient assessments. MedPAC also suggests changing the reimbursement system to include vital SNF services, such as prescription drugs and IV therapy.

In addition, MedPAC recommends increased pay for primary care physicians, basing therapy reimbursements on predicted patient care needs, and establishing a pilot program that would require physicians to oversee most all aspects of a Medicare beneficiaries care. That program would include, among other things, coordinating preventive, maintenance and acute care services, and keeping updated records of a patients care status, including what treatments to provide should the patient become incapacitated.

MedPAC is the advisory panel to Congress, which is not bound to follow its recommendations.