In late May, more than 400 long-term care owners, operators and caregivers from across the country gathered in Washington, D.C. for the American Health Care Association (AHCA) and National Center for Assisted Living (NCAL) annual Congressional Briefing. During this briefing, marchers lobby lawmakers on important issues that impact their business and the patients they serve. Joining the march were forty-five Medline post-acute sales managers and representatives, marking the tenth consecutive year that Medline has officially sponsored the briefing.
Attendees heard from key industry leaders and members of Congress—such as Congressmen Xavier Becerra (D-CA) and Greg Walden (R-OR)—and keynote speaker Chuck Todd, moderator of “Meet the Press” and host of “Meet the Press Daily” on MSNBC.
The four main topics covered at the briefing included quality, Medicaid provider assessment, the value-based purchasing (VBP) proposal, and observation stays. Nearly 3.4 million patients are served by skilled nursing facilities every year, with the majority of patients returning to their home and community after their stay. Sixty-three percent of skilled nursing patients rely on Medicaid to cover some or all of their associated costs, yet Medicaid reimburses only 90 cents for every dollar of care provided. AHCA supports moving toward a VBP system; however, the proposal as written needs to take into consideration the financial landscape of post-acute care and help these facilities promote quality care. Currently, the proposal contains no quality provisions and presents instead a pure rate cut.
At the briefing, long-term care leaders were able to meet face-to-face with members of Congress and their staff to discuss these topics and ask them to:
- Oppose further cuts to Medicare and Medicaid,
- Support states’ use of provider assessments to generate necessary funding for long-term care,
- Help remove the three-day in-patient hospital stay required for patients to receive Medicare reimbursement for skilled nursing care, and
- Stand up for seniors and caregivers in all communities.
Medline had the opportunity to walk a mile in our customers’ shoes, walking with them on the Hill to lobby our legislators on these topics, which are or have the potential to impact our customers’ ability to provide quality care. Millions of Americans trust us with their care—it is up to all of us to be their voices on Capitol Hill.
Interested in contacting your congressman about these issues? Click here to find a list of your state representatives and make your voice heard.