Count CMS Administrator Seema Verma as a proponent for keeping telemedicine use at a high level.

Nursing homes would receive a 2.3% net Medicare increase for fiscal year 2021, under a proposal announced by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services late Friday afternoon. The $784 million aggregate pay boost drew immediate praise from providers.

“We applaud CMS for issuing this SNF PPS proposed rule,” said Mark Parkinson, president and CEO of the American Health Care Association in a statement. The Skilled Nursing Facility Prospective Payment System proposed rule would take effect Oct. 1, 2020, the start of the new fiscal year. 

“Skilled nursing facilities across the country are working around the clock to protect the people who are most vulnerable to COVID-19. That work makes this 2.3% market basket increase more important than ever,” Parkinson added.

The increase is the byproduct of a 2.7% market basket increase, reduced by a 0.4% reduction for multifactor productivity adjustment.

“This proposed rule, combined with the Patient-Driven Payment Model implemented last year, helps us continue our work to provide the highest quality care possible,” Parkinson said. “With an all-in margin of -0.3 percent, there are still real challenges for skilled nursing providers. However, this increase gets us headed in the right direction. We thank Administrator [Seema] Verma and the administration for this action.”

CMS also said it was proposing revised geographic delineations used to identify a provider’s status as an urban or rural facility. They would be used “to calculate the wage index and apply a 5% cap to wage index decreases.”

ICD-10 code mapping also would be changed slightly under the Patient-Driven Payment Model (PDPM), the agency said in Friday’s grouping of proposals. The recommended updates, CMS said, are a result of stakeholder comments seeking changes.

The rule also includes minor administrative proposals related to the SNF Value-Based Purchasing Program, the agency said.

A CMS fact sheet on SNF PPS (CMS-1737-P) can be found here. The proposed rule for SNF PPS (CMS-1737-P) can be found here. CMS will be taking comments on the proposals until June 9.