The massive $300 billion spending package, which received bipartisan approval in the Senate and House after a brief government shutdown early Friday morning, also permanently repeals therapy caps, long a priority of the long term and post-acute care profession (LT/PAC), according to Provider Magazine.
Another positive for LT/PAC providers is that the law eliminates the Independent Payment Advisory Board, an Affordable Care Act creation that would have posed a threat to future funding streams because its purpose was to reduce Medicare rates.
On the package’s Medicare reimbursement cuts, Mark Parkinson, president and chief executive officer of the American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL), said the work of providers to care for the nation’s frail and elderly will be further threatened.
“An across-the-board cut like the one included in this bill would have a dramatic effect on our nation’s most vulnerable citizens. The low Medicaid reimbursement in many states does not cover the cost of care, and providers struggle to keep their doors open,” he said in a statement released ahead of the final votes in Congress.
Legislative sources said the Medicare cut is akin to the ones included in the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act in 2015. Instead of providers receiving their regular annual Medicare market basket update from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) in 2019, the new spending package freezes it at 2.4 percent.
In dollar terms, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) said that would amount to a $1.9 billion cut over the 10-year budget window.
Read the full story at Provider Magazine.