New Study Projects $65 Billion in Cuts for Nursing Homes

A new data analysis reports that a colossal $65 billion in federal cuts will affect the nursing home sector over the next ten years. This staggering sum—calculated by Avalere Health—is a result of several different federal budgetary actions and regulatory changes made by Congress and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services since 2009. Part of the reason for such drastic slashes in budgeting is that nursing homes, technically signified as “skilled nursing facilities” (SNFs), are the country’s second largest health facility employer, employing roughly 1.7 million Americans. Broken by The Sacramento Bee, the story projects $4 billion will be cut from 2013-2014.

Just behind Florida, California will be the second-most affected state from these massive SNF Medicare funding cuts. The Golden State is forecasted to lose $350 million. Now, many including the Alliance for Quality Nursing Home Care (AQNHC) are challenging these financial rollbacks, amid the already strenuous economic climate. AQNHC and others are arguing that such funding reductions will “undermine facility operations, disrupt staffing, and threaten seniors’ care amid the growing influx of older, higher acuity patients.” With the recent report from Operation Guardians, the environment of many California nursing homes is in sordid condition, and these cuts appear to be no help.

Here is an overview of the specific programs with their particular budgetary impacts:

• Affordable Care Act (ACA) productivity adjustment ($34 billion cut over 10 years; 1.3 billion cut in 2013)
• Case-Mix Adjustment in FY 2010 CMS Rule ($16 billion regulatory funding reduction over 10 years; $1.3 billion reduction in 2013)
• Forecast Error Adjustment in FY 2011 CMS Rule ($3 billion regulatory funding reduction over 10 years; $240 million reduction in 2013)
• Sequestration Provision of Budget Control Act ($9 billion cut over 10 years; $782 million cut in 2013)
• Bad Debt Provision in March 2012 Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act ($3 billion cut over ten years; $355 million cut 2013-14)

Alan G. Rosenbloom, President of the Alliance for Quality Nursing Home Care, stated, “The staggering level of SNF Medicare cuts resulting from budgetary actions and regulatory changes since 2009 has brought one of America’s most important health sectors to the brink of operational viability, and is at a tipping point. Over August, U.S. Senate and House candidates are touring facilities so they can see first-hand how the high-value, high quality care provided in SNFs can – if adequately funded — help reign-in health costs, improve coordination among providers, and ultimately bring about more accountability for U.S. taxpayers.”

Other studies have conveyed that Medicare or Medicaid pay for the care of every three out of four nursing home patients. Rosenbloom went further, saying, “The unintended consequences of these cuts and regulatory actions will affect access, quality, and require that care increasingly be rendered in settings that actually increase the cost to government.”
For many, nursing home care can be one of the best decisions for a loved one. Yet, in many cases, we have seen the egregious and abhorring repercussions of nursing home abuse and neglect. If you have at all witnessed any signs or symptoms of such, don’t hesitate to call our San Diego elder abuse attorneys. We can be there for you. If this article can send out any message, it is that nursing homes are not secure as they may be made out to be. If you are experiencing any troubles, let us help you.

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