Therapy caps gone — and so is $2 billion

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NASL’s Cynthia Morton: Therapy caps repeal is a “historic” development.
NASL’s Cynthia Morton: Therapy caps repeal is a “historic” development.

Providers celebrated the permanent repeal of Medicare Part B therapy limits when President Trump signed a new budget compromise Feb. 9.

But in passing a bill that would kill the caps, Congress also included a measure that will extract nearly $2 billion out of nursing homes' Medicare reimbursements over the next 10 years.

“We'll take a win wherever we can get it,” was at least one therapy leader's mantra.

Cynthia Morton, executive vice president of the National Association for the Support of Long Term Care, however, also vowed to fight a “surprise” offset that is slated to cut payments for therapy assistants by 15% starting in 2022.

Therapy caps were put in place 20 years ago. Although most skilled nursing residents were covered most of the time under an exceptions process, annual battles and uncertainty over whether they would be renewed extracted a toll on providers and beneficiaries.