Medicare & Medicaid News for Senior Citizens


Medicare & Medicaid News

Medicare data on skilled nursing facility use and payments released

patient helped from shower by nurseComprehensive resource for information on skilled nursing facility costs and services

March 9, 2016 - Medicare data providing detailed information on services provided to Medicare beneficiaries by skilled nursing facilities (SNFs), including $27 billion in payments for 2013, was released today by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

Included is information on utilization, payments, and submitted charges organized by provider, state, and resource utilization group (RUG). The file is known as the Skilled Nursing Facility Utilization and Payment Public Use File (SNF PUF).

The data include information

  on 15,055 skilled nursing facilities,

  over 2.5 million stays, and

  almost $27 billion in Medicare payments for 2013.

The data set does not contain any individually identifiable information about Medicare beneficiaries.

“The Skilled Nursing Facility data released today is yet another example of our commitment to greater data transparency,” said CMS Chief Data Officer Niall Brennan.  

“CMS believes that when information flows more freely, the health care system functions more efficiently. This leads to better care, smarter spending, and healthier people.”

In addition to information on payments and charges, the SNF PUF contains information on two categories of RUGs for patients who receive a significant amount of therapy: Ultra-High (RU) and Very High (RV) Rehabilitation RUGs.

Consistent with prior CMS findings, the SNF PUF shows that for these two RUGs, the amount of therapy provided is often very close to the minimum amount of minutes needed to qualify a patient for these categories.

Medicare SNF per diem payment amounts for rehabilitation RUGs are primarily based on therapy minutes and payment amounts for these two RUGs can exceed payments for comparable RUGs with fewer therapy minutes by more than 25 percent.

“CMS strives to ensure that patient need, rather than payment system incentives, are driving the provision of therapy services,” says Dr. Shantanu Agrawal, Deputy Administrator for Program Integrity and Director of the Center for Program Integrity.

“These concerns have prompted us to refer this issue to the Recovery Auditor Contractors (RAC) for further investigation, and our hope is that data transparency will facilitate real changes.”

The SNF PUF was created from CMS administrative claims data for Medicare beneficiaries enrolled in the fee-for-service program available from the CMS Chronic Condition Data Warehouse 

The data cover calendar year 2013 and is based on SNF Part A institutional claims.

View fact sheet on the Skilled Nursing Facility data set


Related Medicare & Medicaid News - Senior Journal Archives

Medicare seeks new way to buy Part B drugs, support physicians

Rule to address access, affordability, and innovation in prescription drugs - March 9, 2016

More at Medicare & Medicaid Section Page


Follow on  and