CMS considering two options to update SNF payments rates
The CMS issued a proposed rule that outlines two options to update the payment rates for skilled-nursing facilities in fiscal 2012. The first option would provide an increase of 1.5 percentage points, or about $530 million, which the agency calculated by applying the 2012 marketbasket index of 2.7 percentage points and reducing it by 1.2 percentage points “to account for greater operational efficiencies,” as outlined in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. In the second option, the CMS would adjust for what the agency referred to in a news release as “an unexpected spike in nursing home payments during fiscal year 2011.” For this, the CMS would restore overall payments to their intended levels on a prospective basis, which would require reducing payments to skillednursing facilities in 2012 by $3.94 billion, or 11.3% lower than payments in 2011. Other provisions of the rule stemming from the reform law include one requiring Medicare skilled-nursing facilities and Medicaid nursing facilities to disclose certain information to HHS and other entities about their ownership and organizational structure. The CMS will accept comments on the proposed rule until June 27.