Medicare budget cuts are forcing new guildines for skilled nursing home care and home health care but two courts have recently ruled these guidlines to be too strict. New guidlines would have meant it was the patient's responsability to prove their condition would improve over time with this assistance. The courts ruled that chronic patients in need of long-term care should not be denied services.

WASHINGTON — Two federal courts have ruled that the Obama administration is using overly strict standards to determine whether older Americans are entitled to Medicare coverage of skilled nursing home care and home health care. Medicare will pay for those services if they are needed to maintain a person’s ability to perform routine activities of daily living or to prevent deterioration of the person’s condition, the courts said. Medicare beneficiaries do not have to prove that their condition will improve, as the government sometimes contends, the courts said. The rulings are potentially significant for many people with chronic conditions and disabilities like multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease and broken hips. Skilled care may be reasonable and necessary and covered by Medicare even if the person’s condition is stable and unlikely to improve, the courts said. The government has not said whether it intends to appeal either decision.

Source: THE NEW YORK TIMES

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