The nation’s largest association representing long term and
post-acute care providers has announced that it will continue to focus on
advancements in quality care for patients and residents under the new Trump
administration. The American Health Care Association (AHCA) made the
announcement and offered commentary on other issues pertaining to long term and
post-acute care during a press event in Washington, D.C., today.
“The election outcome, along with a Republican-controlled
House and Senate, is something that no one fully anticipated,” says Clifton
Porter II, AHCA senior vice president of government relations. “Our focus on a
macro level won’t change much. Our job remains setting benchmarks and goals that
members can aspire to, and ideally that will raise the mark for all.
“When we look at our members’ progress on key quality
metrics like lowering rehospitalizations and decreasing the off-label use of
antipsychotics, our efforts have been incredibly productive,” says Porter. “We
will continue on the course.”
Following today’s announcement of President-elect Trump’s
nomination of Chairman of the House Budget Committee Rep. Tom Price, MD,
(R-Ga.) as secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services,
Porter says that preserving the AHCA/Centers for Medicare & Medicaid
Services relationship will be incredibly important to continue to move the
profession into the future.
“Obviously in Washington, the big issue for us always is and
will always be reimbursement,” he says. “To achieve excellent quality results,
we have to ensure that we are funded appropriately to reach those goals and
that our funding streams in the Medicare and Medicaid fronts remain strong.”
When asked about the future of bundled payments and the Center
for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation (CMMI)—a product of the Affordable Care
Act that Trump has promised to dismantle—Porter says the future is uncertain.
“The unanswered question is: Does CMMI go away at large or
does the new leadership dismantle many of its programs and use the CMMI
authority to advance its own ideas,” says Porter. “Republican leadership has
been critical of CMMI overstepping its bounds, but again it remains to be seen
what decisions will be made as it relates to the agency.”
According to a report from the
Congressional Research Service, recent Medicare regulations, including the Requirements
of Participation for Skilled Nursing Facilities, could potentially be overturned
by the Trump administration. Porter says that for such a sweeping repeal to
occur, attention will have to be paid to the process.
“There’s a process for this related to the Congressional
Review Act, and I’d like to provide caution for optimism around that,” he says.
“This is because you have to decide which rules you want to repeal and you
actually need 10 hours of [congressional] floor time to actually move these
rules and reverse them. Ten hours of floor time in this new Congress will be
tough to get. The question is are they going to be able to budget enough floor
time, and only time will tell.”
The administration’s position on arbitration remains to be
seen, says Porter. “The Republican leadership in Congress has been wholeheartedly
supportive of our position on arbitration, so we’ll need to wait and see what
happens on that as well,” he says.