Senate Finance Committee bill 'a step in the right direction,' AHCA says

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Bruce Yarwood, AHCA CEO
Bruce Yarwood, AHCA CEO

The American Health Care Association and the Alliance for Quality Nursing Home Care on Thursday gave their support to the recently released healthcare reform bill from the Senate Finance Committee. They noted that a final bill should avoid significant cuts to Medicare in nursing homes.

"The health plan advanced by Senator Baucus is a step in the right direction in terms of protecting hard-fought quality gains now benefiting patients, and we believe this general approach should shape a final bill," said Bruce Yarwood, president and CEO of American Health Care Association.

The bill, unveiled Wednesday by Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT), does not include a cut to the market-basket update as was feared. But it does include productivity adjustments for nursing homes, which would cut Medicare reimbursements. Productivity adjustments refer to cost-saving advances in efficiency and technology. The House bill would eliminate the market-basket update and include productivity adjustments.

Other provisions in the Baucus bill include the establishment of an office to coordinate care for dual eligibles (those eligible for Medicare and Medicaid), the creation of a Medicare Commission and a demonstration project for post-acute payment bundling. New transparency requirements also are part of the bill.