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.