Paltry pay raise not unexpected

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Nursing home operators will receive a $390 million Medicare pay increase in fiscal 2018, the Centers for the Medicare & Medicaid Services announced in a rule proposed in late April.

The capped 1% raise will kick in Oct. 1 and become the smallest increase in recent years. Since it was prescribed as part of the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015, however, it was not a surprise.

“It's unfortunate but expected,” said Cynthia Morton, executive vice president at the National Association for the Support of Long Term Care.

Morton said the rule's proposal of four new Quality Reporting Program measures addressing functional status is especially exciting.

She's also pleased the proposed case mix revisions — currently slated for proposal as part of the FY 2019 skilled nursing rule — were released as an advanced notice, since “it's a big change and people need time to understand it.”

Comments on the skilled nursing payment rule for fiscal 2018 are due by June 26.