Post-acute standardized assessment bill passes House

Post-acute standardized assessment bill passes House

A bill that would standardize data in post-acute settings moved closer to reality after a House of Representatives voice vote in its favor Tuesday. The House's approval of the Improving Medicare Post-Acute Care Transformation Act (IMPACT) drew praise from the American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living.

ACA hasn't created more part-time workers, analysis says

Despite fears to the contrary, there's no evidence that the Affordable Care Act increased part-time work before 2014, according to a new analysis.

Also in the News for Sept. 18, 2014

Arkansas' charity protection statute could protect nursing home in lawsuit... Institute of Medicine releases end-of-life report ...Congressional roundtable group says Medicare telehealth rules need to be updated

Medicare Part B could have saved $110 million, OIG asserts

If the Medicare Part B program had used average Medicare Part D drug dispensing and fee rates, it would have saved the government $110 million in 2011, according to a report from the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General released Sept. 16.

House leader urges HHS to end settlements meant to cut Medicare backlog

The Department of Health and Human Services may not have had the authority to offer providers special settlements to help clear a huge backlog of Medicare appeals, a leading Congressman said in a recent letter to the agency. Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX) is urging HHS to halt the new settlement process.

One-fifth of caregivers take 6 months or longer to choose a senior housing option for a loved one, poll finds

A significant number of people take six months or longer to choose a senior care or housing option for a loved one, recently released survey results showed.

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

ACOs continue to improve quality but savings remain elusive ... Bladder training should be option No. 1 for urge incontinence in women, physicians group recommends ... Scottish association releases fall prevention guidelines for long-term care

$1.3 million settlement marks second recent deal over SNF supervision of therapy providers

$1.3 million settlement marks second recent deal over SNF supervision of therapy providers

A Maryland nursing home company has agreed to a $1.3 million settlement over charges that it did not prevent overbilling by its contracted therapy provider, federal authorities announced Monday. This is the second such settlement this month involving therapy company RehabCare Group East Inc.

MedPAC chairman: Three-day stay requirement is 'archaic'

The government should pay for skilled nursing care without a preliminary three-day hospital stay, and the recovery auditor program should be reformed, Medicare Payment Advisory Commission members said at a meeting Friday.

Nursing homes can't carve out billing, collections in arbitration agreements, AR Supreme Court rules

A nursing home arbitration agreement largely reserved the provider's rights to sue residents while limiting residents' legal options, causing it to fail a "mutual obligation" requirement, the Arkansas Supreme Court recently ruled .

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

Falls may cause post-traumatic stress in seniors, study finds ... Government issues new model notices of HIPAA privacy practices for providers to use ... Switch to ICD-10 could make it difficult to track patient safety trends

Assisted living communities continue to make a terrible first impression on prospective customers, university program finds

Assisted living communities continue to make a terrible first impression on prospective customers, university program finds

Assisted living communities consistently do not make a good first impression with prospective customers, and they haven't improved this skill set in the last decade, according to data from George Mason University in Virginia.

Latecomers to hospice frequently are male, have certain cancers, Penn researchers find

Men and patients with certain types of cancer are among those less likely to enroll in hospice, suggesting that healthcare providers should focus on presenting these groups with all their end-of-life care options, according to newly published findings.

Nursing homes should think twice before using a well-known tool for diagnosing depression, researchers say

A familiar tool for diagnosing depression in dementia patients might not be very effective in the nursing home setting, according to findings recently published in The American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry.

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

GA puts controversial nursing home rate hike on hold ... Most Americans OK with gay couples in assisted living ... Commerce Dept: Healthcare revenue rebounded in Q2

Giving nurses more control over their schedules could lower pressure ulcer rates, findings suggest

Giving nurses more control over their schedules could lower pressure ulcer rates, findings suggest

Nursing homes might be able to cut their pressure ulcer rates by giving nurses more control over when they work, according to findings forthcoming in the Journal of Applied Gerontology.

Nursing homes tend to administer high-risk medications to returning residents, study shows

Nursing homes may be ratcheting up high-risk medication use for certain residents who return to the facility after a stay in the hospital, according to recently published findings.

Nursing home agrees to $225,000 settlement over charges of asbestos exposure

A California nursing home has agreed to a $225,000 settlement over charges that it did not handle asbestos properly during a renovation, according to local news sources.

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

AMDA to feds: Will assisted living be excluded from plan to reimburse chronic care services? ... People with rare type AB blood have doubled risk of cognitive decline, researchers say ... Grieving older people are more at risk for infections than younger people, research shows

Long-Term Care Commission members shed light on financing deliberations, urge continued political pressure

Long-Term Care Commission members shed light on financing deliberations, urge continued political pressure

Long-term services and supports should be a major focus of next year's White House Conference on Aging, and advocates should work to keep financing reform in the spotlight during the upcoming mid-term Congressional elections, according to members of the federal Commission on Long-Term Care.

Facility failed to address erratic behavior of nurse who later shot a resident and herself, lawsuit charges

A Pennsylvania nursing home failed to intervene when a nurse began acting erratically in the days before killing herself and a resident last November, according to a lawsuit filed Friday in Lackawanna County Court.

NC nursing home reaches $35,000 settlement over charges it discriminated against disabled worker

A North Carolina long-term care company has reached a $35,000 settlement over charges that it discriminated against a cook/dietary aide with a physical impairment, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission announced Wednesday.

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

Anti-anxiety drugs increase Alzheimer's risk in seniors ... Healthcare workers wash their hands more when around colleagues

More than 50% of dementia patients in nursing homes are given potentially pointless and dangerous drugs when near death, study finds

More than 50% of dementia patients in nursing homes are given potentially pointless and dangerous drugs when near death, study finds

Nursing homes administer largely pointless and potentially harmful drugs to a majority of residents with advanced dementia, according to findings in Jama Internal Medicine.

Little Sisters of the Poor presses contraceptive mandate case, says government's latest solution isn't good enough

The Little Sisters of the Poor is not satisfied with the federal government's recent regulations and will continue its challenge against the Affordable Care Act's contraception mandate, the Catholic long-term care provider stated in a legal brief filed Monday.

Genesis nursing home agrees to $75,000 settlement over charges of discriminating against a deaf worker

A New Jersey nursing home has agreed to a $75,000 settlement to resolve charges that it discriminated against a potential employee because of his deafness, federal authorities announced Monday.

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

DOJ launches elder abuse website with resources for working with victims ... CNA and her daughter stole $60,000 from nursing home resident, authorities charge

Today's the day: McKnight's Fall Online Expo offers 3 free CE webcasts

Today's the day: McKnight's Fall Online Expo offers 3 free CE webcasts

McKnight's second Fall Online Expo takes place today, bringing long-term care professionals three free webcasts for continuing education credit. Experts will discuss regulatory compliance, strategies for working with difficult families and residents, and tips for managed care success.

CMS should publicly push Congress to reform therapy payment system, long-term care provider association urges

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services should openly urge Congress to change the way therapy services are reimbursed, the nation's largest long-term care provider association stated in recent written comments to CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner.

Long-term care facilities could collect residents' unused prescription drugs under new federal regulation to combat abuse

Long-term care facilities will have a role to play in a new prescription drug take-back effort aimed at curbing addiction and abuse, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced Monday.

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

Nearly 50% of older adults need help with daily activities and long-term care system is falling short, analysis finds ... Single-dose flu drug safely alleviates symptoms in clinical trials ... Trial in nursing home case involving IL gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner set for Sept. 22 ... Nursing home owner tells jury he paid former CT governor through shady arrangement

$3.8 million settlement shows nursing homes must oversee their therapy providers, feds say

Two long-term care companies have agreed to a $3.75 million settlement over charges that they failed to sufficiently control an outside therapy provider's billing and care practices, the Department of Justice announced Friday.

One day to go: McKnight's Fall Online Expo returns with 3 free CE webcasts

One day to go: McKnight's Fall Online Expo returns with 3 free CE webcasts

McKnight's second Fall Online Expo will take place tomorrow, featuring three free webcasts on pressing long-term care issues. Attendees can earn continuing education credit while learning about regulatory compliance, strategies for handling difficult families and residents, and tips for finding success with managed care.

The government plans a 'computer matching program' to combat improper Medicare, Medicaid payments

The government plans to start a "computer matching program" to reduce improper payments from government health programs to providers and other entities, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced in a memorandum Friday.

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

CMS issues memo on therapy coding changes ... Home care workers join strikes for a higher minimum wage ... National Assisted Living Week kicks off

SNFs may not be able to take on hospital patient overflow during disasters, report on Katrina and Midwest floods shows

SNFs may not be able to take on hospital patient overflow during disasters, report on Katrina and Midwest floods shows

Disaster preparation plans should not necessarily count on skilled nursing facilities to handle additional patients that hospitals cannot accommodate, according to newly published findings.

Massive HIPAA breach linked to Heartbleed bug highlights huge security risk facing healthcare sector, expert says

A historically large data breach at Community Health Systems has been linked to the infamous Heartbleed bug, which could lead to a "tipping point" in how healthcare providers approach data storage and security, according to Forbes contributor Dan Munro.

LTC nurse could face 4 years in prison for alleged morphine mistake, cover-up

A nurse has been indicted for allegedly administering morphine to a nursing home resident by mistake and covering up her error while the resident experienced a health emergency, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced Thursday.

Also in the news for September 5, 2014 . . .

Research breakthrough suggests new therapy for diabetic wounds ... Growing ranks of female researchers put the focus on why Alzheimer's attacks women, Washington Post reports ... 3 former nursing home workers face multiple abuse and neglect charges

Nursing homes face federal False Claims Act charges for allegedly overmedicating residents with antipsychotics, other drugs

Nursing homes face federal False Claims Act charges for allegedly overmedicating residents with antipsychotics, other drugs

Two California nursing homes routinely overmedicated residents with antipsychotics and other drugs "for the convenience of management," according to federal charges announced Wednesday by the Office of Inspector General.

Federal judge blocks new RAC contracts

Adding to the ongoing controversy around Medicare's Recovery Audit Contractor program, a judge has ruled that the government cannot award new RAC contracts until disputed payment terms are resolved.

Expenditures on nursing home, CCRC care projected to rise 69% over next decade

Spending on nursing care and continuing care retirement communities is expected to roughly keep pace with total U.S. healthcare spending during the next decade, according to a government report released Wednesday.

Also in the news for September 4, 2014 . . .

State AG seeks dismissal of charges that a health inspector drove nursing home residents to revolt ... Nursing home lawsuit over active shooter drill is part of a larger pattern, WSJ reports ... Google, AbbVie to tackle age-related diseases ... Antimicrobial lock solutions reduce catheter-associated infections by 70%

CMS offers a deal to hospitals to cut Medicare appeals backlog

CMS offers a deal to hospitals to cut Medicare appeals backlog

In an effort to trim the huge backlog of Medicare claims appeals that has stymied long-term care and other providers, the government is offering a new way to settle some cases. Hospitals could receive a partial payment if they withdraw appeals related to inpatient status, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced in an email Friday.

Long-term care financing is especially hard for older people who rent their homes, and that number is rising: Harvard/AARP report

Younger baby boomers might have particularly difficult problems paying for long-term care because they have lower rates of homeownership than previous generations, according to a report released Monday by the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies and the AARP.

NJ physicians to face charges that they kept people as inpatients to qualify them for SNF coverage, judge rules

A whistleblower can continue to pursue charges that a number of New Jersey physicians improperly designated Medicare beneficiaries as inpatients and sometimes prolonged their hospital stay to qualify them for skilled nursing care, a federal judge recently ruled.

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

Scientists develop 'e-nose' for sniffing out C. diff ... MDS data aligns well with Medicare claims, research confirms ... Seniors might improve immune response by popping an ibuprofen

CMS updates coding instructions for hospice site of service, principal diagnosis

CMS updates coding instructions for hospice site of service, principal diagnosis

A new Medicare hospice manual update includes instructions for which principal diagnosis codes are acceptable, and clarifies which codes should be used for services in a skilled versus non-skilled nursing facility. Billing staffs should be aware of these changes, which go into effect Oct. 1, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services stated in an educational memorandum sent Friday via email.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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