A bill linking skilled nursing facilities’ Medicare payments to hospital readmissions passed the House of Representatives Thursday. The measure also would extend the ICD-10 transition period and prevent a looming physician pay cut.
The Senate is scheduled to vote on the bill Monday, and it then likely would go quickly to the White House for the president’s signature. Doctors otherwise would experience a steep cut in Medicare reimbursements as of Tuesday, April 1, under the Sustainable Growth Rate formula. Some objectors argued against another temporary SGR patch, considering that there is broad support for repeal. However, lawmakers have not agreed on how to fund a repeal.
Long-term care providers are concerned that the cost of an SGR repeal would be offset in part by across-the-board Medicare cuts for skilled nursing facilities. The American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living proposed an alternative savings method, based on tying payments to SNFs’ hospital readmissions. A version of this plan is in the bill that now is before the Senate.