Senate Budget Plan Cuts $2 Billion from Skilled Nursing Facilities

UPDATE: The Senate’s spending bill has passed both houses of Congress, and President Trump signed it into law Friday morning.

Should the Senate’s attempt at passing a two-year budget succeed, skilled nursing operators could be in for another serious financial hit.

“We are disappointed that the Senate budget proposal includes a $2 billion cut to skilled nursing facilities,” American Health Care Association president and CEO Mark Parkinson said in a statement issued late Thursday. “An across-the-board cut like the one included in this bill would have a dramatic effect on our nation’s most vulnerable citizens.”

Both the Senate and the House version of the bill would repeal a cap on Medicare-funded therapy services, but a $2 billion cut to SNF reimbursements could have a significant effect on providers. In recent weeks, non-profit operators have increasingly sounded the alarm about low Medicaid reimbursements, with some reporting that they’d be forced to close.

“The low Medicaid reimbursements in many states do not cover the cost of care, and providers struggle to keep their doors open,” Parkinson said. “This cut will further jeopardize their important work.”

AHCA represents a wide variety of long-term care providers, including SNF operators.

Congress has until midnight Thursday to pass some kind of spending bill in order to avert the second government shutdown of 2018. As of press time, Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky was speaking on the Senate floor in opposition to the proposal, holding up its potential passage. The White House had advised various federal agencies to prepare for a work stoppage, according to CNN.

LeadingAge, which represents non-profit long-term care providers, took a more measured approach in its assessment of the bill, praising the repeal of the therapy caps and general increases in government spending.

“Congress must now take advantage of this cap increase to adequately fund needed programs for seniors,” the group said in a statement.

Written by Alex Spanko

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Alex Spanko on Twitter
Alex Spanko
Alex covers the skilled nursing and reverse mortgage industries for Aging Media. Outside of work, he reads nonfiction, yells at Mets games from his couch, and enjoys pretty much any type of whiskey or scotch — often all at once.

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