The Coalition to Protect Senior Care (CPSC), Washington, has voiced strong opposition to a newly-issued rule promulgated by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) which, by regulatory means, will cut Medicare-financed nursing home funding by $5 billion over 5 years. This funding cut, the frontline caregiver group warns, will undermine the growing complex care needs of America’s oldest, sickest nursing home patients, and undercut ongoing improvements in the clinical infrastructure already under way now benefitting patients.

“The new CMS directive is frustrating to America’s front line caregivers because its net impact will be to reverse a federal policy that is currently benefitting elderly patients,” says Lisa Cantrell, a co-founder of the National Association of Health Care Assistants, and a national
spokeswoman for the Coalition. “It is frustrating to stand by and be forced to watch health policy in Washington change course in mid-stream—especially when the policy that is supposedly being ‘fixed’ is, in fact, working.”“

The Coalition is urging CMS to reconsider and reverse the new policy, and will be encouraging Congress to voice "rightful, strong dissent,” she says.

Cantrell says that as the nature of America’s skilled nursing facility (SNF) patient population continues to evolve due to demographic and policy changes, the federal government’s role should be to help facilities’ direct care staff treat the high-acuity individuals increasingly seen in
facilities nationwide. She warns that the direct care staff that help make the key difference in quality outcomes will also be harmed by the CMS action. “These funding cuts will further put at risk a facility’s ability to sustain caregiver wage and benefit packages that are already on the margin of being uncompetitive with other service-oriented professions,” she says.

The American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) and the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), along with other key professional organizations, are participants in The Coalition to Protect Senior Care.

[Source: The Coalition to Protect Senior Care]