On July 16, CMS issued a proposed rule that would amount to a $900 million reduction to home health agencies. A combination of the annual market basket update and payment provisions mandated by the new healthcare reform law (Public Law 111-148), these proposed cuts would represent a 4.75 percent decrease in reimbursements to home health agencies in calendar year 2011.
On the same day, CMS also released its notice of payment rates for skilled nursing facilities in FY 2011, in which reimbursement rates would increase by a total of $542 million – or 1.7 percent. In addition, the agency’s notice also cited a delay in the implementation of a provision in the healthcare reform law that changes the Resource Utilization Groups, Version 4 (RUG-IV) case-mix classification system.
Comments on the proposed rules are due in September, with final rules set to be released later this year.