Healthcare Reform Will Impact Long-Term Care

MacKenzie Kimball, for HealthLeaders Media , March 23, 2010

However, the amendment will still implement the MDS 3.0, concurrent therapy adjustment, and changes to the look-back period to ensure that only services provided after skilled nursing facility admission are counted toward RUG placement on October 1 of this year.

"The RUG-IV delay is not certain yet, but we will know more as the budget reconciliation process unfolds and expect an answer within the next few days," McCarthy says. "In my opinion, the RUG-IV delay is not a cost saver, and that a delay in the implementation of RUG-IV is unlikely, but we don't have any concrete information at this time."

McCarthy says long-term care faces challenges, but she is hopeful that it will continue to adapt.

"In my opinion, reform will be a hurdle for long-term care facilities and providers. While there will always be a need for nursing homes, healthcare reform does ultimately encourage greater usage of home care services or other residential options," McCarthy says. "But overall, this bill, and the spirit with which it was written, is good for everyone, because its main goal is to increase the number of insured substantially and improve both quality and access to care. The long-term care sector has proven their adaptability in the past, and I am certain we will see that in these changing times as well."

MacKenzie Kimball is an associate editor in the long-term care market at HCPro. She writes PPS Alert for Long-term Care and manages MDSCentral.

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