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'Care Not Cuts' ad blitz aims to preserve funding, access to skilled nursing care

The American Health Care Association (AHCA) and the Alliance for Quality Nursing Home Care (Alliance) launched a nationwide informational ad campaign, “Care Not Cuts,” in eight states that is designed to educate the public and federal lawmakers on the importance of preserving funding for skilled nursing and rehabilitative care.

The multi-month campaign debuted yesterday in Florida, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Mexico, Nevada, Virginia and Washington. Its first TV spot features a nurse explaining how deep the cuts have been in the rehab industry over the five years and argues that another round of deep cuts would affect the quality of care.

[See also:CMS to cut Medicare payments to skilled nursing facilities; CMS regulation reduces payments to skilled nursing facilities by $79B over ten years, says industry group]

“Our nation’s long term and post-acute care facilities have already been dealt rounds of reductions, and now further cuts to Medicare and Medicaid may be on the way,” said Mark Parkinson, president and CEO of AHCA, in an announcement launching the campaign. “This nationwide campaign aims to inform our lawmakers that additional cuts to skilled nursing and assisted living threaten access to quality care needed by America’s seniors and individuals with disabilities. It will also demonstrate that our sector is part of the solution to both rising healthcare costs and the need for local job creation.”

The ultimate goal of the program, which will run for the remainder of 2011, is to draw attention to the role nursing homes and assisted living facilities play in the healthcare continuum. It will also show how long-term and post-acute care facilities serve as a significant provider of local communities’ employment base.

“We intend to use our media effort to help convey the positive policy message that our vital health sector offers high quality care and rehabilitation in a low cost setting, which is highly pertinent to this fall’s legislative discussion,” said Alan G. Rosenbloom, president of the Alliance, in a press release. “As America’s second largest health facility employer, we also intend to make clear our sector cannot be expected on the one hand to continue being the reliable jobs partner we have proven to be even in this continuing economic downturn, while, on the other, absorbing one deep funding reduction after another.”

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