Nursing home asked for employee's personal information too often, jury rules

The human resources department of a Maine nursing home did not properly protect a former employee's personal identification information, a jury recently ruled.

Test could confirm sepsis within an hour

Nursing home residents might benefit from a new way of diagnosing and treating sepsis made possible by discoveries out of the University of British Columbia.

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

CMS launches $840 million initiative to encourage clinician collaboration ... Americans distrust medical professionals, Harvard researchers find ... Future uncertain for NYC nursing home dedicated to AIDS care

A small team of workers responds best in emergencies, expert says

A small team of workers responds best in emergencies, expert says

Long-term care providers should consider a "flat" crisis management approach that relies on a core group of staff members, experts advised Wednesday at the LeadingAge annual conference.

Nursing homes have better pain and catheter management if leaders have more credentials, study finds

Nursing homes led by administrators and directors of nursing with higher levels of education and certification have better outcomes on some key quality measures, according to recently published findings.

Court green-lights charges that a healthcare network underused observation stays

A whistleblower can continue to pursue charges that a Nevada healthcare network routinely admitted people as hospital inpatients when they should have been placed in observation status, a federal appeals court recently ruled.

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

ManorCare facility reaches $41,000 settlement over excluded nursing assistant ... Gait linked to Parkinson's-related dementia ... Automated tracking helps mandatory healthcare worker flu vaccination

CMS expands therapy payment research

The government is expanding its research into alternative therapy payments, to consider more holistic changes to the way Medicare reimburses skilled nursing facilities, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced Tuesday.

CDC tightens Ebola guidelines for healthcare workers

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued more stringent guidelines for how healthcare workers should interact with Ebola patients, following an outcry from nurses and other professionals.

Nonprofit providers face alarming market forces, must rally, LeadingAge chairman says

Nonprofit providers face alarming market forces, must rally, LeadingAge chairman says

Nonprofit long-term care providers must work together to address alarming trends, or their market share could plummet and the sector as a whole could falter, LeadingAge Chairman David Gehm told association members Tuesday.

Also in the news for Oct. 22, 2014 . . .

Walnuts may help prevent Alzheimer's progression ... Shift workers should avoid high-iron foods ... More flexible response could save lives in disease outbreaks

Expert says providers often wrongly threatened by PEPPER reports

Instead of fearing further scrutiny by federal authorities, providers should embrace the opportunity to get feedback in the form of PEPPER reports, legal experts said Monday at the LeadingAge annual meeting in Nashville.

Healthcare reform already driving diverse, dynamic long-term care models, LeadingAge leaders say

Healthcare reform already driving diverse, dynamic long-term care models, LeadingAge leaders say

One way to gauge the effects is healthcare reform is by looking at ongoing changes to the continuing care retirement community model, LeadingAge officials said Monday at the association's annual conference in Nashville.

Federal court: Nursing home can be sued for firing hairdresser who can no longer push wheelchair

Is the ability to transport residents in their wheelchairs an essential function of a nursing home hairdresser? A federal appeals court says it's a valid question and is allowing a hairdresser to sue a facility that fired her.

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

Herpes increases dementia risk ... Alzheimer's goals need to be strengthened, experts say ... A new name for antipsychotics?

MedPAC discusses limiting patients' post-acute options

MedPAC discusses limiting patients' post-acute options

Medicare rules might have to be relaxed to give hospitals more say in where patients go for post-acute care, members of the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission proposed at a recent meeting in Washington, D.C. It's likely that many hospitals already are "soft steering," some commissioners said.

Nursing home workers told not to touch residents due to Ebola concerns

U.S. nursing home workers who hail from West Africa are being stigmatized as potential Ebola carriers and forbidden from touching residents, according to IRIN, an independent news service launched by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

Former office manager charged with embezzling half a million dollars from residents

The former business office manager of a Michigan nursing home has been charged with embezzling more than $460,000 from the resident trust fund, the state's attorney general announced last Thursday.

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

Obama appoints Ebola czar ... Ventas CEO ranked in world's top 100 by Harvard Business Review ... ONC issues update on progress toward interoperability roadmap

Facilities on high alert for Ebola in Ohio; authorities issue guidance

Facilities on high alert for Ebola in Ohio; authorities issue guidance

Federal and state organizations have released new Ebola guidance for healthcare workers in long-term care and other settings, following the second case of a nurse acquiring the virus in the United States. Both infected nurses came into contact with Thomas Eric Duncan, the Liberian man who traveled to the United States, fell ill with Ebola and died Oct. 8 at a Dallas hospital.

Nonprofit senior living margins increased by 50%, survey finds

Average operating margins increased dramatically in the last year for nonprofit senior living companies, according to a recent survey of C-suite executives.

Nursing home psychiatrist in federal custody on 52 counts of fraud, including upcoding

Authorities have arrested a nursing home psychiatrist and charged him with 52 counts of healthcare fraud, the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas announced Thursday.

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

CMS announces new Accountable Care Organization model ... Drugmaker reaches $31 million settlement, resolving charges that it paid kickbacks to long-term care pharmacies ... People prefer institutional long-term care if they need more help with daily living activities ... First-of-its-kind guidelines recommend pneumococcal vaccine to prevent COPD exacerbations

40 states plan to increase nursing home Medicaid rates

40 states plan to increase nursing home Medicaid rates

Reversing a trend of rate cutting during the Great Recession, most states are increasing Medicaid reimbursements for nursing homes, according to a recently released report. However, states also are accelerating efforts to reduce the number of nursing home residents, the report shows.

Per-day rate for skilled nursing hit $280 at mid-year, report says

Skilled nursing operators and the senior living sector as a whole are benefiting from improving economic conditions and "healthy demand," according to a new report from California-based commercial real estate brokerage Marcus & Millichap.

Labor Department sues Virginia provider for allegedly withholding nurse overtime pay

A Virginia healthcare provider did not pay long-term care nurses overtime for three years, the Department of Labor has alleged in a recently filed lawsuit.

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

HIPAA authorization forms do not have be signed voluntarily to be valid, judge rules ... Aluminum exposure 'inevitably' contributes to Alzheimer's, researcher says ... Judge holds assisted living owners in contempt for retaliating against workers

Good performance on SNF quality measures does not prevent deaths or readmissions, study finds

Good performance on SNF quality measures does not prevent deaths or readmissions, study finds

A skilled nursing facility that scores well on quality measures is not necessarily reducing residents' risk of death or readmission within 30 days of arriving from a hospital, according to findings in the latest issue of the American Medical Association journal JAMA.

Long-term care providers might need to change pain management to cut opioid use, MedPAC analyst says

Long-term care and other providers might have to alter their pain management practices if changes discussed at a recent Medicare Payment Advisory Commission meeting come to pass.

Hospice expansion decreases hospital readmissions among all nursing home residents, study shows

Increasing hospice services can reduce hospital admissions among all residents of a nursing home, including those not enrolled in hospice, according to findings recently published in JAMDA.

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

Home health aides launch nationwide campaign for higher wages ... White House launches Conference on Aging website ... Structured resident interviews increase quality of life in the nursing home, Pitt researchers find

Extendicare agrees to historic $38 million settlement related to unnecessary therapy, worthless services charges

Extendicare agrees to historic $38 million settlement related to unnecessary therapy, worthless services charges

Extendicare Health Services Inc. and its subsidiary therapy company have agreed to pay $38 million to settle therapy overbilling and quality of care whistleblower charges, federal and state authorities announced Friday. They said it is the largest such "failure of care" settlement in Department of Justice history.

NIC: Senior housing sets record for absorption, nursing home occupancy flat

The average occupancy rate for senior housing sailed past 90% in the third quarter, and the absorption rate set a single-quarter record, the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care announced Friday.

Unpredictable schedules take a toll on nursing home workers, UMass authors say in new book

Even at nursing homes with stable staffing and occupancy, a large percentage of workers struggle with highly unpredictable schedules, according to findings in a newly published book from researchers at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

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

MedPAC to focus on opioids in long-term care, private sector management of post-acute services ... Workplace violence takes a severe toll on healthcare workers, analysis finds ... Premier applauds White House antibiotic plan

Kindred overcomes Gentiva objections, forges $1.8 billion acquisition to expand gigantic healthcare 'ecosystem'

Kindred overcomes Gentiva objections, forges $1.8 billion acquisition to expand gigantic healthcare 'ecosystem'

Kindred Healthcare has succeeded in its quest to acquire Gentiva Health Services. The companies announced Thursday morning they would combine to create the fourth-biggest healthcare provider of any type in the United States. The $1.8 billion deal was approved by the boards of both companies, ending Kindred's five-month hostile takeover bid for the home health provider.

Providers should expect 'disruption' but are ready for Five Star changes, Parkinson says

Coming changes to the Five Star rating system for nursing homes will "cause some disruption," but many long-term care providers already are on track, according to American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living President and CEO Mark Parkinson.

Men are moving into memory care units at a 14% faster pace than women, referral service finds

Men have been moving into memory care units at a faster rate than women, and providers are adjusting their services to this demographic shift, according to findings released Wednesday by a large senior care referral service.

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

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

Lack of long-term care EHR incentives remains a 'key barrier,' ONC tells Congress ... Long-awaited Pioneer ACO data show mixed results on health spending ... 40% of long-term care and home health jobs pay poverty wages in WI ... Indian Health Service concerned that lack of post-acute services means more hospital readmissions

Nursing home infection rates have increased across the board, hepatitis has surged 50%, Columbia researchers find

Nursing home infection rates have increased across the board, hepatitis has surged 50%, Columbia researchers find

The rate of nursing home infections increased during a recent five-year period, with especially dramatic surges in multi-drug resistant organisms and viral hepatitis, according to recently published findings from Columbia University School of Nursing and the RAND Corporation.

Doctors flunk test on skilled nursing facilities, raising concerns about care transitions, UCLA researchers say

Early career physicians have extremely poor knowledge of skilled nursing facilities, showing that more robust training is needed to ensure that physicians can oversee effective transitions into SNFs, according to investigators at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Omnicare off the hook in drug packaging case after Supreme Court passes

Long-term care pharmacy Omnicare will not face False Claims Act penalties for drug packaging practices that apparently ran afoul of safety regulations. The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to take up the case, meaning that an appeals court ruling in Omnicare's favor will stand.

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

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

AHCA announces new board members and directors, Coble to be vice-chair ... Gastronomy tubes should not be used in those with advanced dementia or nearing death, ethics group says ... Home healthcare minimum wage enforcement delayed six months ... CMS revises latest MDS manual update

Compliance starts at the top, experts say at AHCA/NCAL convention

Compliance starts at the top, experts say at AHCA/NCAL convention

Almost 20 years after federal law created an exclusion process related to participating in Medicare and Medicaid programs, some long-term care providers may not be checking their employees' status often enough, compliance experts warned Tuesday.

SNFs should expect more 'worthless services' whistleblower charges, expert says

Skilled nursing facilities soon might be facing an onslaught of whistleblower lawsuits alleging "worthless services," a legal expert cautioned Tuesday.

CMS: Nurse shortage means hospices can keep using contracted workers

Hospices can continue to rely on contract nurses because an ongoing nurse shortage is preventing providers from meeting their staffing needs, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced in a recent memorandum to state survey agencies.

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

Home health providers will need to meet new referral, QAPI requirements to take part in Medicare and Medicaid ... Study: 'Prehab' could save $1,200 in post-acute costs per joint replacement patient ... Nobel Prize awarded for Alzheimer's-related research into mind's 'GPS'

AMDA to receive $1.6 million for training from civil monetary penalties

AMDA-The Society for Post-Acute and Long-term Care Medicine will receive $1.62 million in civil money penalty funds over three years in order to improve long-term care, the organization announced.

Long-term care providers applaud signing of IMPACT Act, prepare for new Five Star elements

Long-term care providers applaud signing of IMPACT Act, prepare for new Five Star elements

On the heels of victories such as the newly signed IMPACT Act, providers are ready to more aggressively push for their interests on Capitol Hill, leaders of the nation's largest long-term care trade association said Monday in Washington, D.C..

Reducing rehospitalizations and antipsychotics top-of-mind for long-term care providers at AHCA/NCAL convention

Developing effective relationships with hospitals begins by joining, initiating or hosting a cross continuum team at a long-term care provider's campus, an expert in senior care said Monday.

Supreme Court to rule on whether providers can sue states over inadequate Medicaid rates

Supreme Court to rule on whether providers can sue states over inadequate Medicaid rates

The U.S. Supreme Court will hear a case on whether private sector healthcare providers can sue states to increase Medicaid reimbursements, the high court announced Thursday. Based on previous rulings, the court is not likely to rule in favor of the providers, experts say.

Federal judge OKs statistical sampling of nursing home claims to support fraud charges

The government can use a statistical sample of a nursing home company's Medicare claims to help prove overbilling charges, a federal judge recently decided in an unprecedented ruling.

Former nursing home worker charged with 'terrorism hoax' for beheading threat

A former nursing home worker in Oklahoma might only have been joking when he threatened to behead a colleague, but he still could spend 10 years in prison if convicted on "terrorism hoax" charges, according to local reports.

Also in the news for Oct. 6, 2014 . . .

Patient outcomes are given little consideration in antibiotic stewardship efforts ... Licensed practical nurse faces felony charges for failing to report a resident fall ... AMDA joins Leadership Council on Aging Organizations

Assisted living continues to grow rapidly in expanded markets

Assisted living growth continues to be concentrated in specific markets, with almost three-fourths of new construction in 10 metro markets, according to new findings released Thursday at the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care Industry annual conference in Chicago.

Gold Award in High Tech/High Touch goes to Abramson Center for Jewish Life

Gold Award in High Tech/High Touch goes to Abramson Center for Jewish Life

The Polisher Researcher Institute of the Madlyn and Leonard Abramson Center for Jewish Life developed a new tool called the Match-Quality Indicator in order to help residents maximize their activities based on preferences. The project won it the Gold Award in the High Tech/High Touch category of the McKnight's Excellence in Technology Awards.

Post-acute partnerships now have become a widespread strategy to reduce hospital readmissions, survey finds

Hospital partnerships with post-acute providers can be considered a "key strategy" in reducing readmissions, according to market data gathered by executive advisory service Healthcare Intelligence Network.

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

Neurotic women are twice as likely to develop Alzheimer's disease, researchers say ... A smell test can predict risk of death within 5 years, University of Chicago researchers say ... CMS explains state requirements to adequately fund Medicaid managed care plans ... OIG proposes rule to extend anti-kickback safe harbors

Dignity Award Gold won by Archie Hendricks Sr. SNF

Dignity Award Gold won by Archie Hendricks Sr. SNF

A skilled nursing facility that sits on a Native American reservation has taken Gold in the Dignity category for the third annual McKnight's Excellence in Technology Awards.

Therapeutic program reverses Alzheimer's memory loss, UCLA researcher says

An intensive therapy regimen involving medication, diet and behavioral changes successfully reversed Alzheimer's-related memory loss in a first-of-its-kind trial, according to findings out of the University of California, Los Angeles.

Employee cleared of sexual assault charges wins $1 million defamation suit against assisted living company

A former assisted living worker in South Carolina has received a $1 million award after being falsely accused of trying to sexually assault a resident, according to local news sources.

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

Blame the nursing shortage on lack of teachers? ... Paint-on bandage could be a wound care game-changer ... Long hours, low wages increase workers' risk of diabetes nearly 30%

I couldn't live without ... NTT Data software

I couldn't live without ... NTT Data software

With one glance, staff at Essex Group Management can identify whether required documentation is in place using NTT Data software, says corporate clinical auditor Cheryl Meli, LPN.

Profile: Dedicated to excellence

Profile: Dedicated to excellence

Of Carol Scott's many accomplishments, there is one that is a particular highlight: enabling nursing home residents on ventilators in her home state of Missouri to receive treatment.

...They all screamed for ice cream

...They all screamed for ice cream

Halloween candy might be on most people's minds as they turn the calendar to October. But it'll be hard for residents at one Missouri nursing home to top the sweet treat they had in the dog days of summer.

Spreading too thin?

Spreading too thin?

Lenders encourage facility operators to think twice before pursing alternative models of care; 'jack-of-all-trades' a challenging label to embrace

Get up and get ready

Get up and get ready

If you're looking for an inspirational nugget to share at stand-up tomorrow morning, I might just have something for you.

DOJ the latest to pile on in therapy-billing mess

DOJ the latest to pile on in therapy-billing mess

Don't let anyone tell you that long-term care operators don't know how to read between the lines. They might not have known to fear a McKnight's Daily Update item before it appeared Sept. 8. But it quickly and definitely earned their attention — and apprehension.

Stars aligned for shift

Stars aligned for shift

The Five Star rating system is about to get retooled, thanks to a scathing report in The New York Times. The only real question is how extensive the changes will be.

A tradition gets updated

A tradition gets updated

Hannah B.G. Shaw Home for the Aged gets with the times by expanding the rural site that once was the Shaw home.

How to do it ... Improving readmission rates

The finest rehab care in the world is only as good as the diligence therapists display before, during and after a resident's stay. And it could make the difference between a successful transition to a lower level of care and a rehospitalization. Experts tell here what works.

CompanyBriefs for October 2014

» Healthsense Inc. raised $10 million from Mansa Capital. Mansa Capital Managing Partner and Chief Investment Officer Ruben King-Shaw Jr. will join the Healthsense Board of Directors.

Relias Learning expands presence

Relias Learning announced second quarter results for 2014 that reflected its expansion into new markets.

LeadingAge's CAST releases EHR matrix selection tool

LeadingAge's CAST releases EHR matrix selection tool

LeadingAge's Center for Aging Services Technologies released its 2014 version of a tool to enable long-term providers to choose the best electronic health record for their needs.

Ask the legal expert ... about developing effective boards

Ask the legal expert ... about developing effective boards

How do we make sure members of our board of directors all are pulling their weight (and also acting legally)? It seems like a lot of cronyism can be allowed and some boards get away with virtually no input.

Judge blocks award of new RAC contracts

Medicare's Recovery Audit Contractor program continues to struggle with controversy.

Alleged overuse of antipsych drugs leads to federal case

Alleged overuse of antipsych drugs leads to federal case

A pair of California nursing homes are facing federal False Claims Act charges for allegedly overmedicating residents with antipsychotics and other drugs.

State News for October 2014

State News for October 2014

ILLINOIS — Gov. Pat Quinn (D) has signed a new law making it easier for people to lodge complaints against nursing homes.

ITUpdate for October 2014

» The personal information of roughly 4.5 million patients was compromised during a series of cyber-attacks against hospital group Community Health Systems, the organization reported Aug. 18. The attacks are believed to have occurred in April and June. Stolen information includes names, addresses and Social Security numbers; no credit card or medical data was lost, officials said. CHS officials said they were working with authorities, and have plans to offer identity theft protection services to victims.

Dated technology can cause communication rifts: study

Dated technology can cause communication rifts: study

Outmoded methods of communication between caregivers may be responsible for significant amounts of wasted time during shifts, resulting in inefficient patient transfers and hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost revenue each year, according to a new survey.

BusinessBriefs for October 2014

» Brookdale Senior Living and real estate investment trust HCP have finalized a $1.2 billion joint venture, the firms announced. The new partnership will include 14 continuing care retirement communities in its portfolio. Under the deal, Brookdale and HCP have also amended leases on 202 HCP-owned senior housing communities previously owned by Emeritus Corporation.

SNFs limited in disasters

Skilled care facilities officially tabbed "alternate care sites" may not be able to take on hospital patient overflow during disasters, according to a report that examines hospital disaster planning.

Ask the payment expert ... about supporting MDS completion

Ask the payment expert ... about supporting MDS completion

What is the best nursing structure to support the MDS process?

Hospice billings changed

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services recently updated instructions on coding hospice claims. Billing staffs should be aware of these changes, which went into effect Oct. 1, CMS stated in a memorandum about the Medicare manual update.

Ask the nursing expert ... about improving customer service

Ask the nursing expert ... about improving customer service

I'm a new unit manager and I see a lack of good customer service. What can I do?

Empower NPs, reduce hospitalizations

Maximizing the authority of nurse practitioners is associated with reduced hospitalization of skilled nursing facility residents, according to findings recently published in Nursing Outlook.

Let there be light for better nurse health, patient care

Let there be light for better nurse health, patient care

Creating workspaces with natural light could improve nurses' job performance and health, Cornell University researchers believe.

Ask the treatment expert ... about unavoidable pressure ulcers

Ask the treatment expert ... about unavoidable pressure ulcers

Have you heard that most clinicians are in agreement that there are unavoidable pressure ulcers?

Ionic 'magic bullet' could aid wound care

A unique class of materials called ionic liquids could be a "magic bullet" for treating wounds such as pressure ulcers, venous leg ulcers and more, according to researchers at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and the Los Alamos National Laboratory.

Heart research leads to new unexpected wound therapy

Heart research leads to new unexpected wound therapy

Scientists researching electrical signals that regulate heartbeats have stumbled across a new, highly effective treatment for venous leg ulcers. The team from Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute recently published the results of a phase 2, randomized clinical trial in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology.

Ask the care expert ... about end-of-life wound care

Ask the care expert ... about end-of-life wound care

I work on a floor in a skilled care facility where most residents are on hospice or at the end of life. Some have wounds that will never heal. How should we care for these?

Study gives bathing gloves thumbs-up

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 recently published research.

Agencies offer resource for improving LGBT inclusion

Agencies offer resource for improving LGBT inclusion

Many older lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender adults residing in long-term care facilities do not feel safe being open about their sexual identities, experts say.

60 seconds with ... Linda Hermer, Ph.D.

60 seconds with ... Linda Hermer, Ph.D.

Q: What will you focus on now that you've joined the LeadingAge Center for Applied Research?

SNF, CCRC spending expected to rise 69%

Spending on nursing homes and continuing care retirement communities is expected to roughly keep pace with total U.S. healthcare spending during the next decade, according to the annual "National Health Expenditures Projections" report released last month.

Flu-dose ally: higher antigen

Flu-dose ally: higher antigen

A high-dose flu vaccine with four times the amount of antigen in a standard vaccine was 24% more effective in protecting study subjects 65 and older against influenza complications.

Calming meds fuel dementia

Long-term use of drugs commonly used to treat anxiety and insomnia increased the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease by as much as 51%.

Reporting neglected, OIG says

Slightly more than half of the nation's nursing facilities reported abuse or neglect allegations as required in 2012, a new report from the Office of Inspector General alleges. Such relatively low compliance indicates that more guidance and oversight is warranted, the report concludes.

Regular chats avoid lawsuits

Regular chats avoid lawsuits

To prevent lawsuits, long-term care leaders need to routinely communicate with difficult family members, a defense attorney told a McKnight's Fall Online Expo webcast audience last month.

Therapy buck stops at SNF

A legal settlement involving two long-term care companies accused of not sufficiently controlling their contracted therapy provider's billing practices has created anxieties among skilled nursing operators.

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