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 Nursing Home Ad Campaign Not A Short-term Effort

​Vice Chair of the American Health Care Association (AHCA) Neil Pruitt Jr. told Provider magazine on Friday that the $4 million television advertising campaign being conducted to educate lawmakers on how further reductions in Medicare payments would harm care for U.S. seniors and stunt job growth will go on for as long as needed.

“We will do whatever is necessary to get the message out front. We are prepared to continue this campaign if we feel we are headed down the wrong path,” Pruitt says. He is the chairman and chief executive officer of Georgia-based UHS-Pruitt Corp. and will stand for election as AHCA chair next week at the AHCA/National Center for Assisted Living annual convention.

The advertisements come at a crucial juncture for long term care providers, who received news from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) in late July that Medicare skilled-nursing facility pay would be reduced by 11.1 percent, or $3.87 billion, in fiscal 2012 to adjust for overpayments under new payment and care management programs.

AHCA had pushed for a graduated adjustment, but CMS chose to act in one fell swoop, putting providers on edge over their ability to afford to provide the highest quality care for residents.

“We are trying to educate government officials on the care we provide at a time we have improved our care by the measure of nine out of 10 quality markers. We cannot allow the government to take away the resources we have to deliver this care,” Pruitt says.

Further reductions could come from the work of the deficit-cutting Super Committee, bringing the total payment squeeze for providers to closer to 15 percent, Pruitt says, including possible changes to therapy payments and assessments.

“We are really focused on how this affects patient care,” says Pruitt.

AHCA and the Alliance for Quality Nursing Home Care nationwide informational ad campaign is called “Care Not Cuts” and also stresses that long term care is an engine for job growth at a time most other sectors are not hiring or are reducing staffing.
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