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Nursing homes accuse Medicaid of underpayment

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Dec. 31, 2012

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Medicaid underpayments to nursing homes are projected to have exceeded $7 billion in 2012, reaching historic levels, according to a report by the American Health Care Assn., which represents the facilities.

Looking on a per-resident, per-day basis, the average projected shortfall amount for nursing center payments in 2012 is $22.34, “the largest shortfall reported since the inception of the study in 1999,” the report stated. Medicare has played an important role in helping to sustain nursing home care, but this is no longer the case in the wake of Medicare’s recent rate reductions, the report stated.

Taxes on health care professionals, known as provider taxes, have been used widely to address Medicaid underpayments. States typically impose the taxes to drive up federal matching rates, which are used to boost or stabilize payment rates. Twenty-three states raised the provider tax rate for nursing homes in 2012.

“There’s a lot of talk in Washington about Medicaid and how it’s ripe for cuts,” said AHCA President and CEO Mark Parkinson in a statement. “This report offers hard data that argues the opposite. The reality is that this program already underpays nursing center providers.”

Consulting firm Eljay LLC conducted the research on behalf of the AHCA.

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