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Medicare pays for fewer SNF residents.

From 9.4% in 1998 to 8.7% in 1999

THE PERCENTAGE OF NURSING HOME residents whose care was paid for by Medicare fell for the first time in recent history under Medicare's new prospective payment system (PPS), according to data reported in the recently released Nursing Home Statistical Yearbook, 1999, published by the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging (AAHSA) in Washington, DC. (See our special section, "Senior Living: PPS Update," starting on page 31 in this issue.)

According to the report, only 8.7 percent of nursing home residents had Medicare as their primary payer in 1999, down from a high of 9.4 percent in 1998 and the lowest percentage since 1996.

"These numbers underscore the danger to Medicare beneficiaries of losing access to quality nursing home care if we underfund our system of nursing home care," says Len Fishman, immediate past president of AAHSA.

Other findings of the report include:

* The total number of Medicare- and Medicaid-certified nursing home beds has fallen for the first time from 1.726 million certified beds in 1998 to 1.724 million in 1999.

* The total number of nursing homes in the United States declined by 175 from 17,258 in 1998 to 17,083 in 1999.

* More than 70 percent of new nursing home residents need help with at least four activities of daily living.

* More than 47 percent of new nursing home residents need help with all five activities of daily living.

AAHSA publishes the yearbook annually as a compendium of statistics about the nursing home industry drawn from the databases of the Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA) in Baltimore. It reports on the characteristics of residents, staffing, and survey deficiencies.

"Although we would never claim the survey data collected by HCFA to be an adequate indicator of quality of care, until a better system is developed, it continues to be the only national measure of nursing home performance we have," says Fishman.
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Publication:Contemporary Long Term Care
Date:Oct 1, 2000
Words:328
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