Medicare rates could be adjusted for start and end of hospice care episodes, CMS report suggests

Medicare payments could be adjusted to reflect how hospice services tend to be more intensive at the beginning and end, according to findings recently published by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Office of Information Products & Data Analytics.

Nursing home resident dies after allegedly being smothered by son

A terminally ill nursing home resident in Ohio has died after his son is alleged to have smothered him, according to police.

Also in the news for July 31, 2014 . . .

House passes bill to revamp veterans' care ... Professional nursing home exercise instructors boost resident involvement and exertion levels ... CA long-term care committee holds first meeting

Bill addressing admission status receives praise

A bill that would require hospitals to give patients a formal notice of their admission status has received strong support from healthcare associations.

Increased 'bed taxes' on nursing facilities warrant stricter federal oversight, report states

States have been increasingly taxing skilled nursing facilities and other healthcare providers to fund Medicaid in recent years, and federal authorities should look more closely at this trend, according to a government report released Tuesday.

Last chance: Tech Awards deadline arrives

Last chance: Tech Awards deadline arrives

There are hours left for innovative long-term care providers to enter the third annual McKnight's Excellence in Technology Awards. Submissions will be accepted until the stroke of midnight tonight.

McKnight's adds 3 national awards to the trophy case

McKnight's walked away with three national awards that were handed out by the Association of Business Press Editors at a recent ceremony in Chicago.

Also in the news for July 30, 2014 . . .

$31,000 fine for nursing home where resident fell from lift ... Pacemakers more common in those with dementia ... Kindred now wants to purchase Gentiva whole ... 11-year sentence for nursing home rapist ... CMS clarifies 3-day stay waivers for bundled payment participants

Skilled nursing facility trends contribute to improved Medicare outlook, Congressional report says

The Medicare trust fund is on track to remain solvent until 2030, trustees of the program stated in a Congressional report released Monday. This improved outlook is due in part to revised expectations about the case mix in skilled nursing facilities.

House bill would define, promote coordinated long-term care services

A bill introduced in the House of Representatives would target improved care coordination for seniors, also adding it under the Older Americans Act.

Seize the day: Tech Awards deadline is tomorrow

Seize the day: Tech Awards deadline is tomorrow

The final countdown has begun: Long-term care providers have less than 48 hours to enter the third annual McKnight's Excellence in Technology Awards. Submissions will be accepted through July 30.

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

Brookdale enters $350K settlement over hiring workers excluded from federal programs ... Seniors are more troubled by distractions, researchers find ... Government publishes new Medicare Quality Improvement Organization requirements ... NQF to test risk-adjusted quality measures

Involving nursing assistants with decisions may result in higher quality, study finds

Empowering nursing assistants and family members of nursing home residents in decision-making results improved service, a new study finds.

Site-neutral payments likely to move forward, experts believe

Site-neutral payments likely to move forward, experts believe

As the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission evaluate site-neutral payments, a new brief from Health Affairs and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation explores the debate and proposals.

Early intellectual stimulation may result in better cognition in older adults

Life experiences with intellectual stimulation may have more impact than demographic influences on cognitive abilities in older adults, researchers find.

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

Nursing home aide accused of choking a resident....Monitoring pulse after stroke may prevent another stroke...Slow walking speed may predict dementia

Rape investigation blocked by nursing home's HIPAA concerns, authorities say

Florida authorities say a nursing home is citing privacy laws to impede the investigation of a possible resident rape, according to local news reports.

Jury hands down $14 million negligent care verdict to 'send message' to nursing homes

Jury hands down $14 million negligent care verdict to 'send message' to nursing homes

A Massachusetts jury has awarded $14 million to the family of a nursing home resident who died due to a pressure ulcer, dehydration and other conditions linked to negligent care, according to local news reports.

CCRC executive director salaries hold steady, therapy directors get boost

Continuing care retirement community executive director salaries have barely increased in the past year, while therapy and rehabilitation directors received a boost, a new report shows. The average salary for a therapy and rehab director is currently $95,905.

Also in the news for July 25, 2014 . . .

Special compounds could deal knockout blow to deadly superbug CRE, scientists say ... AdCare will no longer operate skilled nursing facilities, execs announce ... COPD medical costs run to $32 billion annually

Hospitals in the Midwest refer patients to the broadest networks of skilled nursing facilities, study finds

Hospitals in the Midwest refer patients to the broadest networks of skilled nursing facilities, study finds

Midwestern hospitals spread referrals to the greatest variety of skilled nursing facilities and tap their favorite SNFs least often, according to a recently published analysis of nationwide referral patterns.

Bill would affect pay, scheduling for some nursing home housekeeping staff

Nursing homes could face more stringent scheduling requirements for housekeeping workers and might be on the hook to compensate them for last-minute shift changes under a bill proposed in both houses of Congress.

Joint Commission adds memory care accreditation

New memory care accreditation for nursing homes encourages staff to use a flexible, problem-solving approach to care for those with dementia, according to Joint Commission guidelines.

Also in the news for July 24, 2014 . . .

Cancer drugs offer promising oral medication for Alzheimer's, researchers say ... Advocacy groups lobby for palliative care bills ... Multiple chronic conditions threaten seniors' life expectancy gains

Large hepatitis outbreak reaches 47 cases, podiatry company denies ManorCare's charges

The number of people infected in an infamous North Dakota Hepatitis C outbreak has risen, state health officials say.

National Quality Forum supports quality measures in bill to standardize post-acute assessments

National Quality Forum supports quality measures in bill to standardize post-acute assessments

The National Quality Forum has come out in strong support of a proposed standardized quality measures, such as skin integrity, across different types of post-acute care settings. Uniform assessments are seen as a necessary step to site-neutral payments.

CMS changes mind on hospice drugs

The Centers for Medicaid & Medicare Services has revised guidance on authorization of hospice drugs for those under Medicare Advantage and Part D plans, according to a new memo.

Also in the news for July 23, 2014 . . .

Joint Commission releases free nursing home resource on preventing infection ... ACA in the balance again as two courts issue contrary rulings on subsidies ... Obama's executive order on LGBT workplace rights extends to some nursing homes

Long-term care leaders need self-awareness, partnerships to avoid the 'Founder's Trap,' CEO panel advises

Long-term care leaders need self-awareness, partnerships to avoid the 'Founder's Trap,' CEO panel advises

Strong leaders must be vigilant or they could stifle a company's innovation and growth, a CEO panel said Monday at the 2014 LINK LTC and Senior Living Conference in Chicago.

Coaching sessions reduce hospital readmissions, study finds

An hour-long educational coaching session and up to three follow-up phone calls reduced readmissions by 39% among Medicare patients, a new study finds.

County nursing home weighs heroin addict plan

An Ohio county is evaluating whether 20 beds at its nursing home could be dedicated for heroin addicts during their withdrawal, according to local reports.

$1.2 million awarded in case of nursing home resident trapped, fatally burned in bed

A nursing home resident in Ohio suffered fatal burns from a radiator, leading to arbitration that ended last week with a $1.2 million award.

Common arthritis drug stopped Alzheimer's in its tracks, researchers say

An arthritis drug stopped the deterioration of cognitive functions and activities of daily living capabilities in Alzheimer's patients in a small trial, researchers from the University of Southampton in England recently announced.

House bill would give some long-term care providers a break from the employer mandate

House bill would give some long-term care providers a break from the employer mandate

Certain long-term care providers would get a temporary break on Affordable Care Act requirements regarding employee insurance plans under a bill introduced in the House of Representatives.

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

Kindred reportedly has a rival for Gentiva ... Major insurer exits Medicaid managed care in New York ... Seniors take advantage of three-midnight waivers

More registered nurses are delaying retirement, researchers say

Despite "imminent retirement" of baby boomers, more registered nurses are working longer after age 50, researchers find.

Life Care Centers of America doubles-down on facility-based care, sells home health business for $10 million

Life Care Centers of America is shedding its related home health business in a $10 million sale to LHC Group Inc., the company announced.

More action needed on adverse events in nursing homes, outpatient settings, expert tells Senators

More action needed on adverse events in nursing homes, outpatient settings, expert tells Senators

Nursing homes and other non-hospital providers largely have been overlooked in efforts to improve patient safety, and this needs to change, an expert told a Senate panel Thursday. Today, "little is known" about the "distinct safety issues" in nursing homes and other non-hospital settings, said Tejal Gandhi, M.D., MPH, president of the National Patient Safety Foundation and a professor at Harvard Medical School.

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

Single injection reverses diabetes causes, symptoms in mice ... Nursing home wing to become heroin detox unit? ... "Multitude of barriers" to better end-of-life care in nursing homes

Long-term care facilities refusing free CMS resource on dementia, nurses association says

Some nursing homes are not accepting a dementia training resource sent by the government, even though it is free and recommended, according to the American Association for Long-Term Care Nursing.

New hand hygiene guidelines urge healthcare facilities to avoid certain soaps

Experts advise healthcare facilities to avoid a "heavily marketed" soap in updated hand hygiene guidelines published Wednesday.

Nursing home cannot use Medicaid payment structure to evade 'worthless services' charges, federal court rules

Nursing home cannot use Medicaid payment structure to evade 'worthless services' charges, federal court rules

A nursing home cannot cite Medicare and Medicaid payment methods to escape charges that it provided "worthless services," a federal judge recently ruled in a False Claims Act case.

Also in the news for July 17, 2014 . . .

Strokes declined 25% among seniors ... All nations should ensure long-term care for seniors, declaration to UN states ... Lawsuit: Shift to managed care denies home health services ... House bill would halt home health payment cuts

Rhode Island is No. 1 HIPAA enforcer in state rankings

Healthcare providers may feel more pressure of Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act enforcement in states like Rhode Island and Alaska, according to data compiled by TrueVault, a HIPAA compliance company.

CBO: Medicare spending growth will slow down over the next 25 years, despite pressures from aging population

Medicare and Medicaid spending will grow at a slower rate than past predictions indicated, the Congressional Budget Office stated Tuesday. However, an aging population will put increasing pressure on government healthcare programs.

Chance of a senior developing Alzheimer's has dropped 44% over the last three decades, large U.S. study shows

Chance of a senior developing Alzheimer's has dropped 44% over the last three decades, large U.S. study shows

The odds of developing Alzheimer's disease fell sharply among seniors in the United States over the last 30 years, according to research presented Tuesday at the Alzheimer's Association International Conference in Copenhagen.

Also in the news for July 16, 2014 . . .

Gardening therapy helps reduce dementia-related agitation ... Senators hear about challenges in providing care for chronic conditions ... Men should do pelvic floor exercises to stave off incontinence ... VA seeks to update fire safety code for nursing homes

Too many hospice patients are receiving antibiotics, and for too long, researchers say

The prevalence and frequency of antibiotic use among hospice patients is high despite little evidence of effectiveness, researchers say.

Cataract surgery, singing can improve quality of life and cognitive ability of Alzheimer's patients, studies find

Cataract surgery improves cognition and singing familiar songs improves communication skills in people with dementia, according to recently announced research findings.

Nursing home faces liability for hundreds of workers required to go through pre-employment medical screening, federal judge rules

Nursing home faces liability for hundreds of workers required to go through pre-employment medical screening, federal judge rules

A Pennsylvania skilled nursing provider cannot escape liability for hiring hundreds of workers after illegal medical screenings, a federal judge recently ruled.

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

Accomplice in nursing home photo scandal yet to be identified ... Cheap diabetes drug could keep Alzheimer's at bay? ... Kindred narrows Gentiva bid, raises offer price ... AIR Act would cut DMEPOS audits

It's not too late: Tech Awards deadline extended

It's not too late: Tech Awards deadline extended

The McKnight's Excellence in Technology Awards application deadline has been extended to July 30.

Nursing home inventory shrank, assisted living hit highest-ever growth rate, quarterly data shows

Assisted living inventory growth reached a historic high in the second quarter of 2014, while nursing home inventory continued its slight downward trajectory, according to data released Friday by the National Investment Center for the Seniors Housing & Care Industry.

RACs returned a record $100 million to providers in the third quarter, CMS announces

Medicare Recovery Audit Contractors returned $100.4 million in underpayments to healthcare providers in the third quarter of fiscal year 2014, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has announced.

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

New checklist for planning dementia-friendly nursing home activities ... Stem cell injections reduce stress incontinence ... KY nursing home reaches $30K settlement over hiring of excluded nurse

Nursing home resident allegedly killed roommate by forcing sandwich down his throat

A 63-year-old nursing home resident allegedly killed his roommate by forcing a sandwich down his throat, Mississippi authorities say. The sandwich was contained in a cellophane bag.

Congressional lawmakers grill top ALJ on appeals backlog, say too many providers are being put out of business

Efforts to root out Medicare fraud have put far too many above-board providers in auditors' crosshairs, leading to a staggering backlog of appeals that has no easy fix, Congressional lawmakers and a top government official said during a hearing Thursday.

The final countdown: Last day to enter the McKnight's Tech Awards

The final countdown: Last day to enter the McKnight's Tech Awards

Long-term care providers have until the stroke of midnight tonight to submit their entries to the McKnight's Excellence in Technology Awards.

Also in the news for July 11, 2014 . . .

Genesis nursing home fired dietary worker due to her disability, government alleges ... Rehabilitation provider groups brief Senators, present findings that IRFs outperform SNFs ... Medicare accounted for the most improper payments the government made last year

Reducing readmissions should be No. 1 priority for reducing healthcare costs, quality experts say

Reducing readmissions would have the most significant impact in bringing down U.S. healthcare costs, according to a survey of health quality experts.

Senators blast Medicare audits, say RAC payments should be changed

Senators blast Medicare audits, say RAC payments should be changed

The Medicare claims review process is unfairly burdening healthcare providers and failing to improve program integrity, due in part to the payment system for certain auditors, Senate leaders said during a roundtable hearing Wednesday.

Government plan calls for increased surveillance, prosecution to combat elder abuse

Elder abuse is inflicted upon many of the more than 2 million Americans in long-term care settings, and more oversight is needed, according to a government report published Wednesday.

Also in the news for July 10, 2014 . . .

Few federal workers consider LTC insurance important ... Gentiva releases positive earning outlook after rejecting Kindred's bids ... Study demonstrates nursing home Vitamin D supplement program

Medicaid overbilling allegations were 'inaccurate' and 'misleading,' Signature HealthCARE says

Medicaid overbilling allegations were 'inaccurate' and 'misleading,' Signature HealthCARE says

Authorities have asserted that Signature HealthCARE billed Medicaid for $2 million in unapproved costs, but this was an oversimplification that presented the company in an unfair light, the large long-term care provider contends.

Nursing home refused to allow Muslim worker to wear hijab, government lawsuit alleges

Nursing home refused to allow Muslim worker to wear hijab, government lawsuit alleges

An Alabama nursing home is being sued after it allegedly refused to allow a Muslim worker to wear a hijab on the job, according to a lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission last week.

Survey: Nurses are 'dangerously' stressed due to lack of authority, poor management

A lack of necessary authority and struggles with management are among multiple factors contributing to nurses' high levels of stress, according to recently released survey results.

Also in the news for July 9, 2014 . . .

Alzheimer's blood test approaches 90% accuracy ... Sandalwood aromatherapy could aid wound healing ... LTC stakeholders develop strategies to improve person-centered dementia care ... Healthcare infrastructure not ready for longitudinal care plans

CMS updates manual to reflect F-Tag guidance dating back to 2003

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has revised the manual that long-term care facility surveyors refer to, updating interpretive guidelines related to F-Tags.

Skilled nursing facility readmissions should be an ACO quality measure, government proposes in payment rule

Skilled nursing facility readmissions should be an ACO quality measure, government proposes in payment rule

Accountable care organizations should be assessed on the number of people who return to a member hospital within 30 days of being discharged to a skilled nursing facility, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has stated in a proposed rule.

Japanese gardens inside nursing homes could benefit late-stage Alzheimer's residents, researchers find

Individuals with advanced dementia had better behavior after viewing a Japanese garden in a nursing home, researchers find.

Also in the news for July 8, 2014 . . .

Providers sue CA over dual eligible demo, cite seniors' "vast confusion" ... Judge grants final approval in CT Olmstead case ... Simpler Alzheimer's diagnosis method

CMS announces Medicare appeals without administrative law judge hearings

Long-term care providers will be able to appeal certain Medicare claims decisions without going through an administrative law judge hearing, the Office of Medicare Hearings and Appeals (OMHA) announced Thursday.

'Breakthrough' index should inform antibiotic prescribing in nursing homes, other healthcare facilities

A new index that will help track and control antibiotic resistance in healthcare facilities will be released in July, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says.

The clock is ticking: Last week to enter McKnight's Tech Awards

The clock is ticking: Last week to enter McKnight's Tech Awards

Long-term care providers that have used technology to achieve eldercare excellence still have a chance to earn well-deserved recognition — but only for a few more days. The submission period for the 3rd annual McKnight's Excellence in Technology Awards ends Friday.

Also in the news for July 7, 2014 . . .

Huge HIPAA breach inevitable, providers 'behind' crooks ... Nursing home doc has to pay back $57K to Medicaid ... Alzheimer's drug development not looking good ... Insulin pumps better than injections for diabetes care

Medicaid paying 32% less than Medicare Part D for medications

Medicaid is paying the lowest average price for 78 high-use and high-expenditure brand-name and generic drugs, a new federal report finds.

One-third of knee replacements may be inappropriate, new study finds

About one-third of knee replacement surgeries in the U.S. were classified as "inappropriate," which is higher than expected, Virginia researchers assert in a new study.

Supreme Court declines Extendicare's appeal to review arbitration case

Supreme Court declines Extendicare's appeal to review arbitration case

The U.S. Supreme Court has rejected a petition from Extendicare Homes to review a conflict over an arbitration agreement and wrongful death lawsuit.

Daily Update to return Monday, July 7

McKnight's will not publish on Friday, July 4, in observance of the Independence Day holiday and will return on Monday. We wish you a happy Fourth of July!

Also in the news for July 3, 2014 . . .

The Archdiocese of Philadelphia sells nursing homes for $145 million .... Iowa City nursing home employee used facility as "sexual hunting ground," according to judge .... The National Center for Assisted Living has announced the 2014 honorees of its NCAL Awards Program.

ManorCare sues podiatry services provider over historically large hepatitis outbreak

ManorCare sues podiatry services provider over historically large hepatitis outbreak

HCR ManorCare has sued Trinity Health after analysis suggested an association between a large hepatitis C outbreak and podiatry and blood draw services that the skilled nursing company contracted with Trinity for, according to local reports.

Managed care will completely replace today's healthcare payment system by 2025, former White House adviser says

Healthcare providers should expect that they will be paid exclusively through managed care systems by 2025, a former White House adviser said Tuesday.

Strong signals that nursing homes will win case against the contraception mandate, lawyers say

A Supreme Court ruling handed down earlier this week bolstered a legal case being pursued by The Little Sisters of the Poor, according to attorneys for the nonprofit nursing home operator. However, other experts said the opposite in an analysis of the rulings published Tuesday.

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

CMS releases proposed home health 2015 payment rates ... US brings healthcare spending in line with similar countries ... Gentiva board unanimously rejects Kindred ... FDA tightens compounded drug restrictions

Ask the payment expert ... about continuing RAC requests

Ask the payment expert ... about continuing RAC requests

I thought the Recovery Audit Contractors (RACs) were on hold. Why did we still get a request for records?

Panel slams fee for service

The predominance of fee-for-service payment methods is the greatest barrier to improving efficiency in the nation's healthcare system, according to a May 29 report from a panel of White House advisors. The President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology criticized the FFS payment model because it focuses on the volume of services provided rather than on better outcomes.

Referrals funnel duals into lower quality nursing homes

Referrals funnel duals into lower quality nursing homes

Government health programs could save money and health outcomes could improve if more dual-eligible beneficiaries were to go from hospitals to well-staffed long-term and post-acute facilities, according to research from Brown and Harvard universities.

Oregon tops list of best states for nurses

With a supportive work environment and plenty of opportunity, Oregon took first in a 2014 ranking of the best and worst states for nursing.

Expanded role empowering yet stifling for many nurses

Expanded role empowering yet stifling for many nurses

Efforts at reducing rehospitalization of nursing home residents can empower nurses, but such initiatives can also put them in challenging positions, according to study results published in the May issue of Research in Gerontological Nursing.

Ask the treatment expert ... about choosing a wound dressing

Ask the treatment expert ... about choosing a wound dressing

With so many wound care dressings and treatments available, how can you make the right decision?

Gastro bacteria may place role in healing

Bacteria typically found in the gastrointestinal system, such as E.Coli and Bacteroides species, were found in war wounds that healed successfully, according to a recent study.

Avoid treating persistent wounds with aspirin: Study

Avoid treating persistent wounds with aspirin: Study

Non-aspirin pain relievers may be a better choice for residents with chronic wounds, according to new research.

Ask the care expert ... about anticoagulants

Ask the care expert ... about anticoagulants

What tips do you have for working with anticoagulants?

Study takes a closer look at falling risks

While it is clear that poor vision increases the risk of falling, improved vision might also increase this risk, a new study suggests.

60 seconds with ... Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI)

60 seconds with ... Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI)

Q: Would an SGR repeal inevitably be financed through Medicare cuts to long-term care providers?

$11.6M to nurse paralyzed by flu vaccine

A former nurse has received an $11.6 million government settlement to pay for future care after a flu vaccine paralyzed her.

Facility fined $16,000 after reviving resident with DNR

Facility fined $16,000 after reviving resident with DNR

Authorities have fined a Florida nursing home $16,000 for reviving a resident who had a do-not-resuscitate order.

Special juice reduces UTIs

Special juice reduces UTIs

Drinking black chokeberry juice may reduce the rate of urinary tract infections among nursing home residents, according to findings published in Nutrition Research in June.

Certain lights ease dementia

Certain lights may improve quality of life for residents with Alzheimer's and other types of dementia, according to a new study.

McKnight's reaches APEX again

McKnight's Long-Term Care News Senior Editor Elizabeth Newman earned a Grand Award for blog writing, and McKnight's staff pulled in four other Awards of Excellence in the 2014 APEX Awards for Publication Excellence program.

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