CMS released the final rule for fiscal year 2010 payment updates to skilled nursing facilities (SNF) on Friday, leaving many industry leaders concerned about the future of long-term care.
A major component of the final rule is the recalibration of the case-mix indexes (CMI), which will reduce Medicare payments to SNFs by $1.05 billion, or 3.3 percent. The CMI recalibration will correct a FY 2006 projection error, which resulted in an unexpected increase in Medicare payments, and will better align reimbursement with the resources used to care for a resident.
Fortunately, this significant cut in Medicare payments will be partially offset by the SNF market basket update for FY 2010, which will result in a $690 million, or 2.2 percent, increase. Thanks to the market basket update, the total reduction in Medicare payment to SNFs in FY 2010 will be $360 million, or 1.1 percent lower than FY 2009 payments.
"Although the payment cuts included in the proposed rule are significant and come at a time when many SNFs are already struggling with tight budgets, CMS believes that the cuts should not affect the quality of care provided," says Diane Brown, a regulatory specialist and Boot Camp instructor at HCPro.