Medicare nursing home payment rates cover healthcare costs and are not resulting in reduced access for Medicare beneficiaries, according to two new federal reports. HHS' inspector general's office told the Senate Special Committee on Aging at a hearing last week that there have been no major disruptions to nursing home care as a result of implementation of the Medicare prospective payment system for long-term care. The General Accounting Office, meanwhile, said Medicare nursing home payments are "sufficient and in some cases even generous." At right, Karen Shelangoski, head nurse at ManorCare Health Services Arcadia Unit, Davenport, Iowa, disputes the reports' claims at a rally outside the Capitol before the aging committee hearing. The American Health Care Association, which represents 12,000 nursing homes, believes that payments are inadequate and have resulted in thousands of nursing home bankruptcies. Committee Chairman Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) has said he is not convinced that Medicare is to blame for the bankruptcies.
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