Sunday, January 16, 2011

MedPAC Urged To Recognize Critical Medicare-Medicaid Funding Link In Making Recommendation To Congress On FY 2012 Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF)

The following is a statement by Alan G. Rosenbloom, President of the Alliance for Quality Nursing Home Care, commenting on the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) recommendation that Congress provide no FY 2012 cost of living adjustment for skilled nursing care:

"As we have in the past, and will continue to insist today and in the future, the U.S. Congress must make its Medicare funding decisions based upon the complete set of funding variables and economic realities facing America's skilled nursing facilities (SNFs). MedPAC's recommendation fails to consider the significant and historic underfunding of SNF patient care by state Medicaid programs. This underfunding negatively affects all government-funded patients in SNFs. For that reason, the impact of Medicaid and Medicare policies must be viewed together.

"MedPAC acknowledges that overall operating margins are just 1.9%, and this is before the impact of expiring Medicaid FMAP enhancements provided to states by the federal government, and other significant cuts in government payments that are planned.

"Stable staffing and funding are the twin pillars upon which our ongoing ability to provide quality care rests. In addition to the fact the National Governors Association (NGA) and National Association of State Budget Officers (NASBO) have warned of continued state budgetary chaos and the possibility of more cuts to Medicaid-funded eldercare programs in the year ahead, SNF Medicare cuts of nearly $30 billion over ten years have contributed significantly to sector instability.

"As Congress begins prioritizing FY 2012 budget priorities, the Alliance intends to aggressively spotlight not only the perpetual nature of the cumulative funding pressures placed on facilities, staffing and patient care, but also offer policy proposals to help advance quality care in the most cost-efficient manner possible.

"In order to protect hard-won quality gains for local Medicare beneficiaries, preserve good local health jobs, and to provide badly needed stability to one of America's most important health sectors, we urge Congress to provide a cost of living adjustment that reflects funding reality, the growing needs of our patient population, and the enormity of the challenge faced daily by caregivers across the nation."

Source: Alliance for Quality Nursing Home Care
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