Court Rules in Favor of Rule Changes
A nationwide class-action lawsuit forced Medicare to change some of the rules they have had in place which required beneficiaries to show a medical or functional improvement to be eligible for payment through Medicare. This new agreement now changes Medicare rules to pay for services if they are needed to “maintain the patient’s current condition or prevent or slow further deterioration” despite whether the patient’s condition is expected to improve or not. This ruling is expected to help people with skilled nursing services who have chronic conditions like Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis, stroke, spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injury, or Parkinson’s disease.
It is unclear how much this will add to the costs assumed by Medicare. Since they will now cover physical therapy and home health care, it might allow some people to maintain instead of requiring more skilled nursing care so it may save costs there. Plaintiffs involved in the suit included the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, the Parkinson’s Action Network, the National committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare and the Paralyzed Veterans of America.