Introduced on Tuesday and cited as the work of three different House committees, America's Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009 addresses multiple long-term care issues.
Of most concern to long-term care providers and industry leaders are the proposed cuts in Medicare payments to skilled nursing facilities (SNF), which would add up to approximately $44 billion over the next 10 years. The cuts are included in multiple provisions of the bill, but the proposed changes with the most significant impact on SNF reimbursement are as follows:
Ninety-five of the bill's 1018 pages fall under Subtitle B, or the Nursing Home Transparency Act, which could also have a negative impact on SNF reimbursement. The provisions included in Subtitle B aim to further standardize skilled and non-skilled facilities through more easily accessible information, stronger enforcement, and detailed staff training programs. Among the proposed regulation changes are:
The bill also calls for the secretary of Health and Human Services to develop a plan for post-acute care payment reform that includes bundled payment specifications. In addition, the secretary will be able to incorporate payment bundling into a voluntary pilot program.