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 CMS Finalizes Pay Increase For Skilled Nursing Centers

​The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has formally approved a $470 million increase in payments to skilled nursing facilities (SNFs).

CMS had been weighing an increase in SNFs' “market basket” allocation for months. In rules formally announced late Wednesday, the sector will see a 1.3 percent increase in its share of Medicare payments. That’s down, slightly, from the 1.4 percent increase proposed earlier this year.

The new rate takes effect Oct. 1.

The rules are generally good news for providers, but some long term care advocates had hoped to change CMS’ math for both Wednesday’s new rules and in the future. The American Health Care Association had urged CMS not to use 2010 cost estimates in its analysis of the increase, arguing that the 2010 numbers weren’t an accurate reflection of the profession.

CMS officials, apparently, were unmoved.

“At this time, we believe this approach is the most efficient and appropriate way to identify and address cost report errors and to improve the accuracy of the [multifactor productivity adjustment] data used to develop the SNF market basket cost weights,” CMS said in its discussion of Wednesday’s new rules. “We would appreciate industry representatives communicating to their members the importance of completing the cost reports as accurately as possible, the implications of misreported data, and the possible impacts on their future payments.”

However, CMS officials did promise “monitor … cost structures” carefully in the future.

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