Providers tackle Capitol Hill in person to try to prevent funding cuts

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Skilled nursing providers and inpatient rehab facilities offer clashing views on Medicare payments
Skilled nursing providers and inpatient rehab facilities offer clashing views on Medicare payments

Preventing further reimbursement cuts, home- and community-based services, and housing will be the main topics of conversation Tuesday, when long-term care providers personally visit dozens of their respective U.S. lawmakers in Washington.

In all, there are 1,070 members and exhibitors at the LeadingAge PEAK Leadership summit, which lasts until Wednesday at the Marriott Wardman hotel in Washington.

It is expected that on Tuesday, the Republican-led House Energy and Commerce committee will propose amendments to the budget that would include $25 billion in Medicaid cuts and a restriction on provider taxes. However, those proposals are unlikely to grain traction in the Democrat-controlled Senate.

“These are the types of proposals that are debated and considered; provider taxes come up year after year,” said LeadingAge Director of Government Affairs Barbara Gay. At Tuesday's legislator visits, “We need to show what has happened to Medicaid in our states … and how it affects individual people in nursing homes, and how home and community based services funding could disappear.” Medicaid block grants, additionally, would erase federal mandates of covering nursing home care, she warned. She and other experts also discussed other proposals for the 2013 federal budget Monday afternoon.

Much of the summit centers on an array of administrators, directors of nursing and other top executives and managers pushing change for the good on legislators and their key staff members.

The key to creating an environment conducive to change lies in not only presenting logical facts, but finding the emotional tie-ins, said Monday morning keynote speaker Dan Heath, the author of “Switch: How to Change When Change is Hard.” “Change is sparked by a feeling,” said Heath, who also recommended looking at the bright spots in a company. “Instead of asking what's broken and how do we fix it, ask what's working and how do we clone it?”