Vast majority of nursing home residents chronically constipated, and it's not well controlled, researchers say

Chronic constipation is highly prevalent in nursing homes and not well controlled, leading to a high likelihood that residents develop fecal impaction, according to findings from a first-of-its kind study.

Federal judge dismisses nursing home 'kickback' case; upholds large X-ray company's 'swapping' method of billing

The way mobile x-ray company Mobilex bills nursing homes is acceptable, a federal judge recently determined. Mobilex is the nation's largest provider of mobile diagnostic services. It had been facing whistleblower charges that it effectively paid kickbacks to nursing homes through an arrangement known as "swapping."

Also in the news for September 2, 2014 . . .

Inspectors cite LA nursing homes for dangerous practices but supervisors change reports to benefit facilities ... Feds join whistleblower suit charging that hospice billed for ineligible patients ... Magnetic pulses to the head could boost memory in people with Alzheimer's, Northwestern researchers say

Profile: AHCA's money player

Profile: AHCA's money player

If there's a prevailing theme around the hours American Health Care Association senior fellow Elise Smith keeps, it's that they are constant.

Residents cheer tractor parade

Residents cheer tractor parade

Many residents of the Oskaloosa Care Center in southern Iowa used to be farmers. They're reminded of their past by the cornfield next to the nursing home — and, once a year, by a parade of antique tractors.

No need for injury

No need for injury

Due to dynamic factors in moving residents, facilities must invest wisely in lifts, slings and batteries to make sure workers stay safe while performing transfers

Success without silos

Success without silos

Minimum data set coordinators should get as much support as possible from colleagues as they navigate data set changes and ever-evolving requirements

Enhancing well-being

Enhancing well-being

I set out to re-examine dementia from a different framework — one that takes us beyond "interventions" and "programs" to a proactive, strength-based approach.

Redoing readmissions

Redoing readmissions

When people are discharged from the hospital following an illness, injury or surgery, that's often not the end of the story.

Dirty hands needed

Dirty hands needed

Gardening is magic. Gardening is mindfulness. Gardening is therapist, physician and personal trainer without spandex or a copay. And now researchers have confirmed that gardening can help nursing home patients suffering with dementia.

Complainers, take note: This one is all for you

Complainers, take note: This one is all for you

As a long-term caregiver, you get yelled at, told off, put down and dumped on regularly — and that's during good weeks.

They're not all ingrates

They're not all ingrates

It's no surprise that staff turnover remains alarmingly high at many long-term care communities.

You're the detective

You're the detective

In the evidence-based healthcare world, you need to become a real Sherlock (or Shirley) Holmes to take your clues (data) and put them together logically (analyze the data) to make analytics-based decisions to solve your facility's most challenging mysteries.

Taking the final steps

Taking the final steps

Ashby Ponds opens all levels of care as it realizes the vision for a fully operating continuing care retirement community in Virginia

Ask the legal expert ... about loan forbearance

Ask the legal expert ... about loan forbearance

We are in default under our loan documents. Will we be able to obtain a forbearance agreement from our lender?

Nurse sues facility over live hostage drill

A nurse who said she was not warned that she would be threatened and "taken hostage" by a gunman during an emergency preparedness drill is suing her former Colorado nursing home employer for compensatory, punitive and actual economic damages.

Provider: Judge improperly prodded $14 million award

Provider: Judge improperly prodded $14 million award

Representatives of a now-defunct Massachusetts nursing home say they will appeal a jury's $14 million award to the family of a former resident who died in 2008, partly because they feel a judge inappropriately prodded jurors into an inflated figure.

60 seconds with ... Ed McMahon, Ph.D.

60 seconds with ... Ed McMahon, Ph.D.

Q: You recently received the Mary K. Ousley Champion of Quality Award from the American Health Care Association. What are some of the biggest current obstacles to improving quality in long-term care?

DOJ forces observation stay showdown

Hospitals have been cast in a harsh light by long-term care advocates recently for allegedly over-using "observation stay" status. The practice can ultimately deny some patients subsequent Medicare coverage for nursing home admission.

Rate hike will be only a part of the new Medicare reality

Rate hike will be only a part of the new Medicare reality

Many providers are relieved that Medicare rates are slated to go up by 2% in the next fiscal year. After all, who wants to turn down $750 million, especially in a rate-cutting climate?

Common soap may be culprit

Common soap may be culprit

Healthcare facilities should avoid "heavily marketed" triclosan soaps, experts advise in updated hand hygiene guidelines.

MRSA often lurks in groin

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus colonization is common in groin and rectal areas, especially in men, new research shows.

McKnight's adds 8 more awards

McKnight's added three national awards to its trophy case last month following the American Society of Business Publication Editors ceremony in Chicago.

Study: To boost care, empower nurse aides

Study: To boost care, empower nurse aides

Long-term care managers would be wise to allow nursing assistants — and residents' family members — a greater say in managerial-type decision-making, authors of a new study assert.

Scrap hospital rule: experts

Scrap hospital rule: experts

Medicare should cover people who go to a skilled nursing facility without a preceding hospital stay, experts recently told the Senate Special Committee on Aging.

Surveyor 'help' leads to chaos

An Ohio nursing home says residents became defiant after speaking with a state inspector, leading the provider to file a lawsuit.

Medicare rates will increase 2% in 2015

Medicare rates will increase 2% in 2015

When is a meager pay hike viewed as welcome news? When the source of that increase — namely, the federal government — seems intent on making cuts almost everywhere else.

State News for September 2014

State News for September 2014

MAINE - The state's nursing homes will get their first Medicaid rate increase in six years after a breathtaking display of mid-summer political brinksmanship. But dark days still loom in a state beset with closures and an over-65 population ratio that's second only to Florida's.

ITUpdate for September 2014

» The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services launched a technical assistance program, called the Medicaid Innovation Accelerator Program, in July. The goal is to help with payment and delivery system reform. It was created through a collaboration with the Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services (CMCS) and the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation, along with the Medicare-Medicaid Coordination Office and other centers.

I couldn't live without ... HealthcareSource solutions

I couldn't live without ... HealthcareSource solutions

HealthcareSource has helped Eldersburg, MD-based provider EMA make better hiring decisions and has fostered "healthy dialogue" between leadership and hiring managers, says Ryan Lillis, EMA's director of organizational development.

mHealth apps may end up hurting consumers: expert

mHealth apps may end up hurting consumers: expert

Mobile health apps need more oversight, according to a July article published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

BusinessBriefs for September 2014

» CNL Healthcare Properties completed the acquisition of seven communities in Texas and one in Illinois for approximately $187.2 million, with potential adjustments related to property net operating income. The eight properties collectively have 798 units and 72 skilled nursing beds. They were acquired from Dallas-based South Bay Partners Ltd.

AdCare shifts business plan

AdCare Health Systems plans to divest its senior living properties and become a holding company, the firm announced.

Sector's housing stock grows at uneven pace, NIC reports

Sector's housing stock grows at uneven pace, NIC reports

Seniors housing stock collectively rose by 0.1% in the second quarter, putting the sector on pace for a 1.5% annual increase, according to new data from the National Investment Center for the Seniors Housing & Care Industry.

Ask the payment expert ... about facility comparisons

Ask the payment expert ... about facility comparisons

What information is available so we can compare our nursing facility to others in the industry?

Bill could gut scheduling

A Congressional proposal to provide low-wage hourly employees with more stability and workplace protections could hit nursing homes.

RACs return $100 million to providers, as criticism grows

RACs return $100 million to providers, as criticism grows

Medicare Recovery Audit Contractors returned a record $100.4 million in identified underpayments to providers between April and June.

Ask the nursing expert ... about juggling responsibilities

Ask the nursing expert ... about juggling responsibilities

How can a director of nursing juggle all the day-to-day responsibilities and still be available to the needs of his or her staff?

Philosophy good for nurses, study says

Philosophical awareness is not only relevant to nurse education but "vital," according to researchers from the University of Victoria in Canada.

Nursing homes may benefit from delayed RN retirements

Nursing homes may benefit from delayed RN retirements

Nursing homes may benefit from registered nurses working longer after age 50, researchers from RAND Corporation say.

Ask the treatment expert ... about wound drainage

Ask the treatment expert ... about wound drainage

While moisture promotes wound healing, what about those wounds that have a lot of drainage?

30-degree tilt best for blood flow: study

Different body positions change residents' tissue blood flow and may relate to how wounds heal, according to new research. The optimal position might be a 30° supine tilt.

Total contact casting reduces foot amputations, study finds

Total contact casting reduces foot amputations, study finds

Those who are treating diabetic foot ulcers should evaluate modern total contact casting techniques, according to a new analysis.

Familiar songs ease Alzheimer's: study

Singing familiar songs may encourage conversation among people with Alzheimer's disease, a small study shows.

Providers warming up to free dementia resource, feds note

Providers warming up to free dementia resource, feds note

Nursing homes are no longer returning or refusing a free dementia care training resource, according to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

Long-term care continues to lead in deal volume and value: PwC report

Long-term care continues to lead in deal volume and value: PwC report

Long-term care bucked healthcare industry trends with strong merger and acquisition activity in the second quarter of 2014, according to newly released data from professional services firm PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Empowering nurse practitioners could reduce hospitalizations from SNFs, study finds

Granting more authority to nurse practitioners is associated with reduced hospitalization of skilled nursing facility residents, according to recently published findings.

Pioneer ACO drops out of program, despite reductions in skilled nursing utilization

A California healthcare system has become the latest dropout from the Pioneer Accountable Care Organization program, despite reducing skilled nursing facility utilization and improving its readmission rates. Sharp HealthCare announced its decision in a quarterly financial statement released Tuesday.

Also in the news for August 29, 2014 . . .

Improper pesticide in nursing homes leads to 2-year prison sentence for company owner ... 8 injured after car crashes into NC nursing home and causes fire ... Long road to smooth transfer of hospital record info to other providers

McKnight's Daily Update to pause for Labor Day

McKnight's will not publish its Daily Update on Monday, Sept. 1 in observation of Labor Day. We will resume our regular publishing schedule on Tuesday, Sept. 2.

Congressman requests briefing on nursing home five-star rating system

Congressman requests briefing on nursing home five-star rating system

A leader in Congress has called for an evaluation of the nursing home five-star rating system in light of a recent New York Times article. Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) requested that Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services officials brief his staff by Sept. 16. One area of concern is the heavy reliance on nursing homes' self-reported data about staffing levels and quality of care, which may not be regularly audited for accuracy, Cummings stated in his Aug. 26 letter to CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner.

CMS: Discharge assessments must be completed when residents transfer to a non-certified bed within the nursing facility

Skilled nursing facilities must complete a discharge assessment when a resident is transferred from a certified to a non-certified bed, even if both beds are in the same building, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services emphasizes in a recent memorandum.

Focusing on a single word might improve nursing home residents' quality of life

An affordable, easily implemented relaxation technique could improve nursing home residents' psychological well-being. It also could potentially boost their immune systems, according to recently published findings.

Also in the news for August 28, 2014 . . .

Marijuana compound slows Alzheimer's ... CBO: Medicare spending for 2014 will be $9 billion less than projected ... Former nursing home bookkeeper pleads guilty to embezzling $188,000 ... Lack of naturally occurring protein linked to dementia

CMS needs to get nursing home staffing information directly from payroll systems, Congressional leaders say

CMS needs to get nursing home staffing information directly from payroll systems, Congressional leaders say

Federal regulators should start collecting nursing home staffing information directly from payroll systems as soon as possible, members of the Congressional Seniors Task Force said in a letter to a top healthcare official Tuesday.

Male CNA who wears women's clothing can pursue charges that nursing home defamed him

A Texas certified nursing assistant can continue to pursue charges that his former nursing home employer has made false, defamatory statements about him in the job referral process, a federal court recently ruled.

High-profile consumer advocacy group sues over broken Medicare appeals process

Long-term care providers have been outspoken in their criticism of the Medicare appeals process, which has all but ground to a halt. Now a class-action lawsuit says Medicare beneficiaries also are being harmed by the excessively long delays.

Also in the news for August 27, 2014 . . .

Dementia sharply increases stroke risk ... CMS releases training tool to build respect for LGBT long-term care residents ... Canes fitted to the hip are better for stroke patients ... 'Mindfulness' training improves sleep, reduces depression in early-stage dementia

NYT says nursing homes use Five Star ratings to 'game' the system

NYT says nursing homes use Five Star ratings to 'game' the system

Nursing homes are using self-reported data to pump up their ratings in the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services' Nursing Home Compare system, the New York Times reported Monday in a front-page article.

$9 million verdict against nursing home thrown out by appeals court

An Illinois nursing home won a victory last week when the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit voided a $9 million verdict.

Culture change increased care quality, reduced rehospitalizations: study

Culture change pays off by increasing the quality of care in nursing homes, according to a new study from Brown University.

Also in the News for August 26, 2014

House Republican demands New York given back $15 billion in Medicaid overpayments ... Faith-affiliated companies can tell government they object to contraceptive mandate under new Obama accommodation ... States with higher Medicaid payments for office visits result in beneficiaries being more likely to be screened for cancer, study finds.

Also in the news for August 25, 2014

Those with MS can improve awareness through task-oriented cognitive rehabilitation, study says... Minnesota home health workers allowed to move forward on union vote....Kaiser Family Foundation releases report on the ninth year of Medicare Part D.

Pharmacists object to further restrictions for hydrocodone combination products

Pharmacists object to further restrictions for hydrocodone combination products

Hydrocodone combination products such as Vicodin will now be in the same, more-restrictive category as OxyContin and fentanyl under the Controlled Substances Act, the Drug Enforcement Administration announced Thursday.

California nursing home settles psychotropic medication case for $655,000

A Ventura Convalescent Hospital deal ends litigation filed in 2011, when families of residents said antipsychotic medication was being given without informed consent under the care of a skilled nursing facility physician.

Health-record alert system greatly lowered urinary tract infections, study finds

An updated alert system in electronic health records heavily reduced urinary tract infections acquired in a hospital, according to a new study.

Also in the news for August 22, 2014

Iowa's nursing homes lost, on average, 41% of their employees each year from 2010-2012 ... Researchers identify proteins necessary in wound healing ... More than 40% percent of SSDI recipients take opioid pain relievers, study says.

CMS: Many skilled nursing providers have poor Medicare certification and recertification practices

CMS: Many skilled nursing providers have poor Medicare certification and recertification practices

The rate of improper Medicare payments to skilled nursing facilities has increased largely due to issues with certification and recertification statements, according to a recently released government memorandum. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services document summarizes requirements that SNF physicians, non-physician practitioners (NPPs) and billing staffs must meet for compliance.

NY nursing home agrees to $2.2 million settlement in case of false documentation

NY nursing home agrees to $2.2 million settlement in case of false documentation

Nursing home operator Ralex Services Inc. has agreed to a $2.2 million settlement in a whistleblower case involving forged documents at a facility in New Rochelle, New York.

Common soaps could endanger healthcare workers, study finds

Healthcare facilities should consider replacing antibacterial soaps containing the chemical triclosan, University of California-San Francisco researchers assert in a recent Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine article. The conclusion echoes recently updated hand hygiene guidelines.

Mandatory staff hours, better high-acuity care could improve quality of life in nursing homes, researchers suggest

A nursing home's staffing patterns and admissions trends are among the most important factors driving residents' quality of life over time, according to recently published research findings.

Also in the news for August 21, 2014 . . .

OH Supreme Court hears case of woman who transferred property then paid for nursing home through Medicaid ... Nursing home video education project part of new $19 million round of NIH funding ... Researchers identify neuron issue leading to Alzheimer's sleep issues, may lead to new therapies

Genesis, Skilled Healthcare merger to create huge long-term care provider with more than 500 facilities

Genesis, Skilled Healthcare merger to create huge long-term care provider with more than 500 facilities

Genesis HealthCare and Skilled Healthcare Group Inc. will merge to create a single long-term and post-acute care company with more than 500 facilities nationwide, the providers announced Tuesday.

Antipsychotic use tied to acute kidney injury, increasing pressure on nursing home reduction efforts

Older people who take antipsychotic medications are at a markedly increased risk of acute kidney injury, according to newly published research findings out of Canada. The study further supports ongoing efforts to reduce the number of nursing home residents on these drugs.

Family alleges long-term care facility banned them due to social media posts, files lawsuit

Family members of a Texas long-term care resident have sued the facility where she lives, claiming they were banned from visiting due to their social media posts, according to a publication covering legal proceedings in the state.

Also in the news for August 20, 2014 . . .

New cosponsors sign on to Medicare Residential Care Coordination Act ... Cognitive declines do not always worsen quality of life for Alzheimer's patients, study finds ... C. diff discovery suggests new ways of attacking the bacterium

OIG: Nursing homes correctly reported 53% of abuse or neglect allegations in 2012

OIG: Nursing homes correctly reported 53% of abuse or neglect allegations in 2012

Only about half of nursing facilities correctly reported abuse or neglect allegations in 2012, indicating that the government needs to provide more guidance and oversight, according to a new report from the Office of Inspector General.

Aggressive blood pressure treatment does not increase fall risk after all, study says

Taking aggressive measures to lower older adults' blood pressure may not increase their risk of falls, contrary to conventional wisdom, according to recently published research findings.

Hackers steal HIPAA-protected info of 4.5 million people from hospital network

Long-term care and other provider types already have been on the alert for large-scale computer breaches, and their concerns likely will be stoked by news that one of the nation's largest hospital organizations has been hacked. The personal information of about 4.5 million patients was compromised in the cyber-attack, Community Health Systems announced in a regulatory filing Monday.

Also in the news for August 19, 2014 . . .

AHCA announces Gold National Quality Award recipients ... Older adults' cognition peaks in the morning ... DNA alteration linked to Alzheimer's

Increase managed care transparency, long-term care providers urge Senators

Increase managed care transparency, long-term care providers urge Senators

The government should collect and release more claims information from managed care plans, the nation's largest long-term care provider association stated in a recent letter to leaders of the Senate Finance Committee.

Federal court dismisses whistleblower lawsuit over Omnicare, PharMerica withholding generic drugs

A federal court in New York has tossed a whistleblower lawsuit charging that large long-term care pharmacies violated the False Claims Act by failing to dispense requested generic drugs.

'Washing without water' is more efficient and improves outcomes versus traditional bed bathing, nursing home study finds

Nursing homes could save money and improve resident skin care by using disposable wash gloves rather than giving traditional soap-and-water bed baths, according to results from a study in the Netherlands.

Also in the news for August 18, 2014 . . .

Communication tool helped improve nursing home antibiotic stewardship, government agency says ... Poor sleep quality increases suicide risk in older adults ... Wall Street Journal takes a look at how feds combat Medicare fraud

Psychologists 'outraged' over federal plan they say omits seniors

Psychologists 'outraged' over federal plan they say omits seniors

Mental healthcare providers for the elderly expressed anger Thursday over an apparent snub of seniors mental health services in a proposed new federal behavioral health plan.

New plan to revamp the ACA would transfer federal funding of long-term care

Better outcomes and cost savings could be achieved if states exclusively funded long-term care for Medicaid beneficiaries, a prominent expert has proposed in a plan that would comprehensively transform the nation's healthcare system.

Assisted living worker shot to death in Alaska, resident claims responsibility

An Alaska man has been charged with murdering a worker at a small assisted living facility in Anchorage, according to local news reports.

Also in the news for August 15, 2014 . . .

High-dose flu vaccine about 25% more effective for seniors ... Regular internet use reduces dementia risk in seniors, scientists say ... Expert panel recommends seniors receive Pfizer pneumonia vaccine ... TX lawmakers propose '3 strikes' rule to close nursing homes

Report: Long-term care providers pay the price for CMS' poor auditor oversight

Report: Long-term care providers pay the price for CMS' poor auditor oversight

Long-term care and other providers could be facing unfair burdens due to ineffective government oversight of Medicare auditors, according to a new report from a federal watchdog agency.

Hospitals need to give patients better guidance about post-acute facilities, experts argue

Too many patients choose a post-acute care facility for the wrong reasons because hospitals do not give necessary and needed guidance, according to a paper forthcoming in the Annals of Long-Term Care.

NY nursing home operator to pay $6.5 million after being busted by an undercover senior

A New York-based long-term care company has agreed to a $6.5 million settlement with the state over practices at an adult day care location, Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman announced Tuesday.

Also in the news for August 14, 2014 . . .

Teenager wins kudos from Google for Alzheimer's app ... Mainstreet, Health Care REIT announce $2.3 billion deal ... Product innovation for long-term care needed, UK poll finds

'Muscle suits' designed to reduce nursing home workers' musculoskeletal injuries

New "muscle suits" are designed to reduce musculoskeletal injuries among Japan's older adults and their care workers, Japanese professor says.

Assisted living worker charged over body buried at GA facility

A nurse at an assisted living facility in Georgia has been charged with concealing a body that was buried on the property, according to local news reports.

Deadly pathogen discovered at Ohio long-term care facility could spell trouble elsewhere, researchers warn

Deadly pathogen discovered at Ohio long-term care facility could spell trouble elsewhere, researchers warn

A type of drug-resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa discovered in an Ohio long-term care facility has killed one person and infected six others, according to clinician researchers. A dangerous genetic element of this pathogen might already have been spreading, and "surveillance is urgently needed," the investigators announced.

Also in the news for August 13, 2014 . . .

Decline in ADLs linked to deterioration of certain brain areas ... Pew Trusts examines long-term care for inmates ... Man with rare condition sparks Alzheimer's treatment hopes ... Scientists create brain tissue in lab for dementia research

Doctor accused of vastly overprescribing antipsychotic to nursing home residents loses license

A Chicago psychiatrist has been stripped of his medical license over charges that he received kickbacks and overprescribed antipsychotic drug clozapine to nursing home residents.

Aide fired after refusing to pray is not entitled to $70,000 award, appeals court rules

A Mississippi nursing home did not violate the law by firing an aide who refused to pray the rosary with a resident, according to a recent appeals court ruling that overturned a nearly $70,000 verdict.

Providers support House push to expand veterans' healthcare options

Providers support House push to expand veterans' healthcare options

Providers recently applauded a large bipartisan effort to expand veteran's healthcare options for long-term and post-acute care.

Also in the news for August 12, 2014 . . .

NY man suspected of trying to smother nursing home resident ... Medicare agency publishes QIO evaluation criteria ... TX nursing home deaths raise questions about mentally ill residents

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