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Nursing Home Industry Frightening Seniors Against Health Reform, Says Medicare Group

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, September 28, 2009

"To cut skilled nursing home care, skilled home care and hospice care at a time when our population is changing and those services are needed is downright dumb," Lane reportedly told many of Groton Regency's 162 residents.

Contacted last week, Lane acknowledged the visits and the concern about Medicare reductions and said the visits by him and other Genesis representatives to their patients is "our version of 'town hall' meetings" to explain that H.R. 3200 indeed would slice value from their daily care.

In an interview late Friday, Lane says Medicare payments for a skilled nursing home beneficiary would be reduced by approximately $6 a day. He adamantly denied that there is that much fraud or excess that could be cut from nursing home care.

He elaborated in a lengthy e-mail:

"If you take these CBO calculations and tabulate them, you will find that CBO estimates that over the course of the coming decade, Medicare is projected to spend $7.4 trillion. H.R. 3200 displaces $539 billion, or about 7.3% of projected outlays.

"Of that sum, about $320 billion is reallocated back to Medicare outlays (primarily a shift in spending to support physician fee schedules) and $219 billion, or about 3% of total projected outlays, is cut.

"Our primary concern, and the concern that was expressed in our meetings with our constituents, is that a disproportionate share of the cuts impact post-acute skilled nursing and skilled home care. In aggregate, when you calculate what would be spent under current Medicare law with what would be spent under H.R. 3200, Medicare post-acute services – skilled nursing, skilled home care and hospice services – are reduced nearly 16%."

"I raised the question of whether with the fastest growing population over the next decade being 85 plus were these reductions in resources reasonable and fair?

"The overwhelming response was that these were the wrong cuts, at the wrong time, to the wrong patient population."

"The simplistic notion that all this legislation does is weed out fraud and abuse, and that it only impacts providers, not beneficiaries, falls short of reality."


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Cheryl Clark is senior quality editor and California correspondent for HealthLeaders Media. She is a member of the Association of Health Care Journalists.
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1 comments on "Nursing Home Industry Frightening Seniors Against Health Reform, Says Medicare Group"


Nursing Care Facility NJ (10/27/2010 at 1:12 PM)
Medicare is always reforming their policies and seniors always have to be aware of these changes. We always make our patients aware of the changes and never use scare tactics. Our senior population can be very vulnerable and it is unethical to exploit them.