Nursing homes have high hopes for tax extenders bill

Nursing homes are carefully tracking the tax extenders bill to see if it will fix a flaw in the health reform law that could endanger their payments under Medicare.

"Ultimately, [if nothing's done] we can't get paid because there's no mechanism for the payments," a nursing home source said.

Ironically, the industry wants Congress to reverse a one-year delay in changes to their payment structure that nursing homes themselves had asked for. Because the health reform law didn't delay two related provisions, the whole payment system is now out of whack, and the industry wants to go back to the original timeline that the agency that oversees Medicare had announced last fall. The update is set to kick in Oct. 1.

Both the industry and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services have weighed in to get the fix passed, the source said. But it's not clear if the provision will make it in, the source said, because while the provision is uncontroversial in itself it would mean reopening the health reform bill.