The U.S. Senate is scheduled to vote this week on a federal budget that promises to balance itself in nine years through billions of cuts in social programs and billions of extra dollars to defense.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services said it will hold physician claims for 14 calendar days, thereby delaying 21% rate cuts otherwise set to take effect Wednesday.
Nursing homes and other non-hospital providers largely have been overlooked in efforts to improve patient safety, and this needs to change, an expert told a Senate panel Thursday. Today, “little is known” about the “distinct safety issues” in nursing homes and other non-hospital settings, said Tejal Gandhi, M.D., MPH, president of the National Patient Safety Foundation and a professor at Harvard Medical School.
Providers are likely looking forward to a fiscal 2014 with generally stable funding sources and no repeat of a government shutdown. The Senate was expected to vote on and pass a massive $1.1 trillion government spending bill as early as late this week. The House overwhelming passed it on Wednesday. The bipartisan agreement would keep payment levels to providers stable with those from 2013, which included sequestration cuts across most sectors. At 1,583 pages, the omnibus bill is a compromise for both major political parties. It funds the government through September and also sets overall spending limits for the next two years.
A newly proposed bill aims to give people with serious and terminal illnesses more say in their care plan and provide Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement to healthcare professionals for holding discussions about a patient’s goals, illness and treatment options. The American Association for Long-Term Care Nursing was among the healthcare associations that endorsed the measure.
A House of Representatives subcommittee has approved legislation reforming physician payments through Medicare. The bill passed out of the Energy and Commerce subcommittee on health by voice vote on Tuesday, after a two-day markup.
A Democratic proposal to replace the sweeping automatic spending cuts known as the sequester appears unlikely to pass the Senate, leading lawmakers and political observers to predict the $85 billion in cuts will take effect as scheduled on March 1.
Democrats in the Senate could introduce a bill this week to replace the automatic spending cuts known as the sequester, which is scheduled to take effect March 1. Many long-term care stakeholders have opposed the 2% Medicare cuts that are part of the $85 billion sequestration package.
Marilyn Tavenner, the acting administrator at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, has been renominated by President Barack Obama to permanently fill the position.