In a letter sent to the leadership of the U.S. House of Representatives and members of the House Budget Committee, the American Health Care Association (AHCA) today urged the House to follow the U.S. Senate’s lead in rejecting Medicare and Medicaid cuts that will place quality patient care in jeopardy, and undermine nursing home quality gains achieved since the 2002 inception of the joint federal-provider Nursing Home Quality Initiative (NHQI).
“The budget recommended by the Administration makes significant, draconian cuts to Medicare, jeopardizing quality care for skilled nursing patients,” said Bruce Yarwood, President and CEO of AHCA, in his letter. “The Administration has proposed $36 billion in Medicare cuts over 5 years — including a zero market basket update in 2007, estimated to cut $660 million in one year, and the elimination of providers’ reimbursement for un-paid Medicare co-payments, estimated to cut as much as $150 million in FY 2007. We estimate that the elimination of the market basket update will cut nearly $11 per patient day and the uncompensated care provision will cost nearly $2.50 per patient day – for a total cut of approximately $13.50 per day for every Medicare patient in America.”
Yarwood also notes the Administration’s budget proposal makes severe cuts to Medicaid “that will hobble the ability of states to provide essential health care services to frail, elderly and people with disabilities.” Continues the letter: “Currently 33 states and the District of Columbia have approval from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to assess a quality fee on state long term care providers (also characterized as a “provider tax”) to generate additional federal revenue to help fund states’ share of Medicaid program costs. States may now assess up to 6% of the revenue from providers. The Administration’s budget proposal limits the assessment to 3% – cutting funding nationally by more than $1.5 billion.”
The AHCA President and CEO said the long term care profession has made measurable strides in enhancing care quality, and that because Medicare and Medicaid fund the care for nearly 80% of the nation’s nursing home patients, “any efforts to cut these programs will undermine the economic stability needed to continue these efforts.”
Concludes Yarwood: “At a time when quality care is improving every day in the nation’s nursing homes, our entire long term care profession strongly believes these cuts are misguided, and we encourage you and the Committee to follow the Senate’s lead and pass a budget that does not cut funding for health care programs serving the nation’s neediest frail, elderly and disabled citizens.”
To view the entire letter from AHCA, please visit: ahca.org/news/NussleLetter060328.pdf
The American Health Care Association and the National Center For Assisted Living are the nation’s leading long term care organizations. AHCA/NCAL and their membership are committed to performance excellence and Quality First, a covenant for healthy, affordable and ethical long term care. AHCA/NCAL represent nearly 11,000 non-profit and proprietary facilities dedicated to continuous improvement in the delivery of professional and compassionate care provided daily by millions of caring employees to more than 1.5 million of our nation’s frail, elderly and disabled citizens who live in nursing facilities, assisted living residences, subacute centers and homes for persons with mental retardation and developmental disabilities.