Nursing homes revel in CMS' decision to hold off on Medicare reductions

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Nursing homes revel in CMS' decision to hold off on Medicare reductions
Nursing homes revel in CMS' decision to hold off on Medicare reductions
Last week's decision by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to halt its planned $770 million cuts in Medicare Part A payments to nursing homes for fiscal year 2009 drew loud praise from the long-term care sector.

An "outstanding development is what we're calling it," Ken Preede, director of government relations for the American Health Care Association, told McKnight's. "I can't tell you how pleased we are at the reversal or at least the delay of this cut."

CMS said it would not reduce Medicare funding from nursing homes as a way to make up for an unexpected increase in spending related to the expansion of Resource Utilization Groups (RUGs). Instead, it said it would put a hold on a proposed recalibration of Medicare SNF payment rates pending further study. CMS also said it would increase the market basket by 3.4%, or $780 million, for fiscal year 2009. It had previously proposed a 3.1% market-basket update for next year.

Congressional pressure on the administration, as well as industry opposition to the cuts played a role in CMS' reversal of course, Preede said.