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What SNFs Need to Know About Medicare Cost Report Submissions

January 15, 2018
Documentation, Billing, & Coding By Jennifer Matoushek, Senior Consultant

Medicare cost reports identify the costs and charges related to healthcare facility activities that are reimbursable. Providers who bill for Part A services, such as skilled nursing facilities, are required to submit Medicare cost reports five months after the close of the fiscal year. Failure to file in a timely manner could result in withholding of Medicare reimbursement. Don't let this happen to you. Here's what every skilled nursing facility (SNF) needs to know about cost report submissions.



Cost report data should include, but are not limited to:

  • Facility characteristics such as ownership and facility type
  • Financial information such as revenue, expenses and bad debt
  • Wage data

Common Cost Reporting Mistakes

The cost report preparation process can be complicated. In order to prepare accurate reports, facilities should have thorough understanding of reimbursable and non-reimbursable costs. LW Consulting, Inc. has extensive experience in preparing, reviewing and auditing SNF cost reports.

Below, we have identified some of the most common cost reporting mistakes made by facilities:

  • Inaccurate census data (days/visits)
  • Inaccurate reporting of non-allowable and non-reimbursable expenses
  • Incorrect expense classifications (wage accounting)
  • Inaccurate reporting of vaccine data
  • Failure to report bad debt expense and recoveries
  • Inaccurate reporting of related organizational costs
  • Considering cost reports to be unimportant or meaningless

Additional Uses for Cost Report Data

Accurate cost reporting not only affects reimbursement, but it can influence a facility's decision-making process. For example, cost report data is beneficial in determining overall financial health. The data contained within cost reports can be used to make strategic decisions about staffing, and it can identify pricing issues. In addition, facilities can use the data to conduct an analysis of ancillary services and whether or not a particular department's costs exceeds charges.

Decisions include:

  • Based on occupancy, should the SNF be expanded?
  • Are there operational changes that need to be made?
  • Should laundry and meals be outsourced for a reduced rate?

While there are many tools at a facility's disposal to gather and collect accurate data for cost reporting purposes, simple errors can still be made. The experts at LW Consulting, Inc. are adept at recognizing revenue opportunities. Our team understands the complexity of Medicare regulations and will ensure your facility remains in compliance with reporting obligations.

Don't assume responsibility for this complex task alone. Partner with an experienced firm that has the resources to offer you a range of services, from preparation and audit assistance to unlimited reimbursement telephonic support. 

If you're looking for information on Medicaid cost reports, click here.

Contact Jennifer Matoushek by calling 717-213-3130 or email to learn more.