In a speech to the American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living, Azar focused on the Trump administration's shift toward the industry after freezing Obama-era regulations that many nursing homes were struggling to comply with before penalties. Azar promised that HHS will continue rolling back those regulations and will use payment models instead to improve quality, according to Modern Healthcare.
In late April, the Trump administration proposed its new prospective payment model that boosts nursing home Medicare payments by about $850 million from last year but tethers them to patients' health status instead of how many services they receive.
The proposed model also slashes reporting requirements, a move estimated to save nursing homes about $2 billion over 10 years.
"We want to work collaboratively and transparently, which is why we issued an advance notice of proposed rulemaking," Azar said of the proposal. "We will listen to comments from stakeholders. But we aren't afraid of rethinking a whole model of payment if the status quo could be improved for patients."
Some nursing homes have complained about the proposal, which establishes five patient categories to send payments to the correct providers. Facilities claim the model may not categorize patients accurately and also may limit how much the provider can tailor their care.
Read the full story at Modern Healthcare.