Excuse me if I’m not up in arms about the new budget proposed by President Bush. I thought about cutting and pasting my post from almost exactly 365 days ago here, because the proposal is largely the same.
When President Bush sent his proposed budget to congress, it called for a zero percent rate increase for hospice in 2009-2001. In 2012 & 2013 we would get our normal rate increase minus .65%. Now, going three years with rates not changing at all would be a big deal. I can promise my employees will be expecting pay raises in 2009, 2010, and 2011. Employee salary is often around 80% of a hospice’s costs, so giving everyone a 3% “cost of living” raise three years in a row while our rates are not increasing would make a company that is currently making an 8% profit lose money. (Yes, that math is a bit fuzzy, but it is close enough.)
To understand the .65% portion, read the post from last year, because that was last year’s proposal. Congress gets to make their changes before everything is all said and done, and I’m betting that the 0% increase goes away. Will they reduce our expected rate increase in some way? Only time will tell.
Just like last year, please don’t give in to the hype that this is a rate cut. It is a cut in the amount of our expected pay raise. Seriously, read last year’s post, click on some of the links. It ties the president’s budget, Medicare payment issues, and our recent discussion of gaming together rather well. I guess Solomon was right when he said, “there is nothing new under the sun.”