Apr 5, 2023 - Health

Nursing homes get a payment boost, but staffing standards loom

Illustration of a home health aide pushing an empty wheelchair with quarters for wheels. 

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

With the threat of mandated staffing ratios looming over some long-term care facilities, the Biden administration on Tuesday said it will bump up Medicare payments to skilled nursing providers next year.

Why it matters: Nursing homes are dealing with acute staffing shortages and operating with financial losses, and concerns about how CMS finalizes staffing regulations this spring have the industry on edge.

By the numbers: Skilled nursing facilities will receive an increase of $1.2 billion in fiscal year 2024 Medicare Part A payments, a 3.7% increase in payment.

  • The net increase incorporates a 2.3% cut in payments from a two-year phase-in of clawbacks from overpayments CMS previously made to nursing homes.
  • The Biden administration said Tuesday it will release new regulations on minimum nursing home staffing standards later this spring.

What they're saying: "We anticipate many nursing homes will be forced to further reduce their capacity and even close their doors if they are unable to meet these staffing mandates," a letter the American Health Care Association and American Hospital Association send to CMS administrators Monday says.

  • CMS has also proposed a transparency rule that would require skilled nursing facilities to report more data about their ownership.
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