Washington, DC (KINY) - The Alaska Congressional Delegation has introduced bipartisan, bicameral legislation that will provide for fair Medicare payments for nursing facilities in Alaska and Hawaii.
The bill will authorize a cost-of-living adjustment at skilled nursing facilities in those states to take into account the higher costs of delivering care.
The Equitable Payments for Nursing Facilities Act of 2020 is led by U.S. Senators Lisa Murkowski, Dan Sullivan (R-AK), Brian Schatz (D-HI), and Mazie Hirono (D-HI) in the U.S. Senate. Representatives Don Young (R-AK), Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI-02), and Edward Case (D-HI-01) co-lead companion legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives.
“With our remote geography, it’s no secret the cost of living in Alaska and Hawaii far surpasses many states in the continental U.S. This includes everything from fuel, groceries, transportation, energy costs, and particularly health care,” said Senator Murkowski. “This bill makes a simple, but necessary change to ensure the cost of living adjustments are taken into account for skilled nursing facilities, in both states, just as we currently provide for hospitals. Skilled nursing facilities provide essential care for many elderly and vulnerable Alaskans, providing the best care possible while allowing these patients to stay in the state, close to their families and their homes. I’m proud to support efforts to make sure Medicare payments account for the unique costs of delivering services in Alaska, and to continue to support access to skilled nursing care within our state.”
While hospitals and certain other health care facilities in Alaska and Hawaii receive a cost-of-living adjustment under Medicare to account for higher non-wage costs, such as rent and utilities than in other states, nursing facilities do not, making it more difficult for these critical nursing facilities to operate.