Nursing homes fight supercommittee cuts

Nursing homes are taking a somewhat different approach in their latest attempt to avoid cuts in their Medicare payments.

The industry is emphasizing its importance to seniors above the reimbursement cuts it has already absorbed. The Alliance for Quality Nursing Home Care released an analysis Thursday that says nursing homes are the least costly option for the care that people need after they’re released from a hospital.

Medicare pays nursing homes less than long-term care hospitals or inpatient rehabilitation facilities, according to the report. Long-term care hospitals get almost three times more than nursing homes to treat people who have had a heart attack, and similar discrepancies exist for other major conditions, the report says.

“Our primary point of emphasis to the Super Committee, President Obama and the public at large is that nursing facilities are part of the solution to health care cost containment,” Alliance President Alan Rosenbloom said in a statement. “Weakening the sector with an overwhelming barrage of regulatory and budgetary cuts – with yet more funding cuts contemplated -- is counterproductive and illogical.”

More than half of Medicare beneficiaries who receive post-hospital care get it in a nursing facility, according to the report.