On April 17th, Crowell & Moring’s Government Affairs and Health Care Groups hosted speakers from Capitol Hill, federal agencies, and national trade groups during a thought-provoking half-day Long Term Care Policy Update forum (“LTC Forum”). The LTC Forum was spearheaded by James Flood and Scott Douglas, who recently joined the firm from the Government Affairs division at Omnicare, a leader in the long-term pharmacy industry.
The LTC Forum focused on overall policy affecting the long-term care industry, which the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of the Inspector General (OIG), Congress, and other government agencies have consistently scrutinized. Throughout the day, LTC Forum participants discussed the challenges and opportunities present in the long-term care industry that will only increase as payment reforms become the norm in Medicare.
Of note, Sarah Johnson, the Legislative Assistant for U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) gave a timely overview of the negotiations that led up to the ultimate passage and signing of the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA). MACRA repealed the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula for Medicare payments to physicians and phases in a new Merit-Based Incentive Payment System and other alternative payment models over the next ten years. But MACRA partially funds these payment reforms with reductions to market basket updates for post-acute care providers, which creates increased concern from the industry about sustainability of long-term care providers under health reform initiatives. According to one audience comment, there is concern that “in the long-term care industry, [stakeholders] are going to lose sight of overall health care industry shifts.”