This Week In Sweeping Victories…

Parkinson is all smiles this week after a clean sweep of Capitol Hill, White House.

Parkinson is all smiles this week after a clean sweep of Capitol Hill, White House.

Good morning, ProviderNation.

What a week they’re having: The fine folks at AHCA/NCAL had barely sipped their celebratory bubbly after the doc fix vote when CMS announced a $500 million bouquet. That’s a 1.4 percent increase from fiscal 2015, which ends in October.

“The announcement today comes as somewhat of a surprise because CMS typically releases the rule just before May 1,” AHCA/NCAL honcho Mark Parkinson told his members on Wednesday, after the proposed rule came out. “Based on our initial analysis, however, the announcement is welcome news. Skilled nursing providers can expect to see a 1.4 percent increase in their reimbursements beginning October 1, 2015, representing $500 million for the profession. Additionally, there will be no changes to the therapy categories, cut points, or any of the other changes many expected to see.”

And, not that Parkinson wants to seem ungrateful, but the amount could have been even higher. CMS docked skilled nursing because of 0.6 percent “productivity adjustment” under Obamacare, and another 0.6 because of fiscal 2014’s “forecast error,” Parkinson says.

“It’s important to understand that the increases our sector have seen this year and in previous years are not automatic,” Parkinson adds. “Soon after the CMS rule is announced each spring, we begin working immediately on the next year’s rule, employing every resource we have at our disposal to ensure that we get the best outcome we can. This is a good win for our profession.”

Meanwhile, AHCA’s inestimable board chairman, Len Russ, took a star turn before the Health subcommittee of the House Energy & Commerce Committee on Thursday. Russ, a former newsman and current New Yorker, told the panel that he was in favor of post-acute care reform, but that he hoped that legislators would remember just how important his sector was to rehabbing patients.

“We believe PAC reform efforts in today’s health care environment are much more likely to succeed if they recognize the nature of skilled nursing facility patient and resident characteristics and service delivery which differentiate us from other PAC providers,” he testified.

Bill Myers is Provider’s senior editor. Email him at wmyers@providermagazine.com. Follow him on Twitter, @ProviderMyers.

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