Filed Under:Health Insurance, Disability

Budget 2013: Skilled Nursing Care and Long-Term Care

(AP Photo/Genevieve Ross)
(AP Photo/Genevieve Ross)

Federal spending on services that help older people and people with serious disabilities stay in their homes could hold steady in fiscal year 2013.

The Obama administration has unveiled a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) budget proposal that calls for overall spending on Medicaid benefits, including nursing home benefits, to increase 12% in fiscal year 2013, to about $268 billion. 

Spending on the HHS Administration on Aging – the agency that handles matters such as supporting caregivers, getting meals to homebound seniors, and providing information on support services – would be a little over $2 billion, up just $7 million from the total for the current fiscal year.

Fiscal year 2013 starts Oct. 1.

This year, the Administration on Aging is spending $367 million on home and community-based support services and $154 million on family caregiver services; those funding levels would stay the same in 2013.

The administration also is proposing to keep the current $17 million annual funding level for the Long Term Care Ombudsman Program, which helps consumers with concerns about long-term care (LTC) facilities, and the $3 million allocation for the National Clearinghouse for Long Term Care Information.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently stunned operators of skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) by cutting SNF reimbursement rates 11%.

CMS cut SNF payments after the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) concluded that Medicare has been paying too much to SNFs, LTC hospitals and other post-acute care facilities.

The Obama administration is hoping to save $57 billion over 10 years by cutting the post-acute care facility reimbursement rate by 1.1 percentage points starting in 2014.

“Payment updates for those providers would not drop below zero,” officials say.

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