Therapy providers should review therapy cap denials for 2013 and refund any beneficiary payments for these services, according to a Medicare newsletter released Thursday.
A $5.75 million verdict will stand and there will be no new trial in the case against officers and board members of a former Pennsylvania nursing home, a federal judge recently ruled.
McKnight's Long-Term Care News will observe Memorial Day on Monday, May 27. There will not be a Daily Update on Monday and the office will be closed. The Daily Update will resume on Tuesday, May 28.
Long-term care pharmacy Omnicare will not face charges that it engaged in "nationwide" Medicare fraud for off-label antipsychotics prescriptions, a federal judge recently ruled. However, the pharmacy still faces more limited False Claims Act charges over billing for antipsychotic drugs allegedly used for dementia care.
Healthcare providers have already exceeded the government's 2013 adoption goals for electronic health records, the Department of Health and Human Services announced Wednesday.
Patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease flare-ups do better with a shorter round of prednisone, researchers have found.
U.S. lawmakers heard mixed messages at a hearing Tuesday on how proposed Medicare cost-sharing reforms would impact long-term care. The House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health focused in particular on three measures in the White House's proposed 2014 budget.
One day after a powerful tornado destroyed a hospital and devastated an Oklahoma town, long-term care stakeholders gathered at a disaster preparedness conference organized by the Center for Preparedness Education, a joint endeavor of the Creighton University School of Medicine and the University of Nebraska Medical Center.
The top professional association of long-term care physicians and medical directors has reiterated its commitment to reducing the use of antipsychotics for dementia care. It did so Tuesday, in response to a recent report that criticized prescribing practices.
The federal government's Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan will reduce its payments to skilled nursing facilities by 50% as of June 15, according to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. The PCIP program received a budget of $5 billion in ACA funding, and CMS fears it will run out of money prior to 2014 given the current rate of pay-outs.
Emeritus Senior Living has engaged high-profile attorneys in its bid to overturn the verdict handed down by a jury in March, under which Emeritus would have to pay nearly $23 million in punitive damages related to the death of a resident who had pressure wounds.
Injecting a plasma protein called plasminogen around chronic diabetic wounds can lead to complete healing, according to new research from Umea University in Sweden.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has revised the provider certification manual for hospitals, giving more in-depth guidelines around discharge planning. The goal is for hospitals to reduce readmissions by partnering with post-acute providers.
Lawmakers in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives have introduced a bill that would require employers to make reasonable job modifications for pregnant women. The lawmakers were motivated in part by the case of Victoria Serednyj, a nursing home activity director who lost her job while pregnant.
Post-stroke treatments can benefit older people as much as younger ones, according to recently published research from the University of Georgia.
The federal government is ramping up efforts to reduce the number of disabled people in nursing homes through interagency initiatives. While many disabled people have already been moved out of nursing homes, a sharper focus is needed because the aging of the baby boom generation will increase the number of seniors with disabilities, the Education Department said in a Federal Register article.
An optometrist in Kentucky defrauded Medicare and Medicaid by filing claims for nursing home care that was unnecessary or not provided, alleges a False Claims Act lawsuit recently brought by the federal government.
The Food and Drug Administration is moving to tighten regulations around fecal transplants, which research has shown to be an effective treatment for Clostridium difficile infection.
Marilyn Tavenner has become the first confirmed head of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services in seven years. Advocates in the long-term care sector welcomed the news.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has updated the online Medicare Provider Reimbursement Manual, modifying instructions related to the 2% reimbursement reductions resulting from sequestration.
The second round of the Health Care Innovation Awards is now underway, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced Wednesday. CMS will distribute up to $1 billion to fund projects that aim to improve care while cutting costs for the Medicare and Medicaid programs.
Medicare rates for physician visits to nursing homes should be frozen for 10 years as the government replaces the Sustainable Growth Rate system, a Medicare Payment Advisory Commission official advised the Senate Finance Committee.
The federal government could distribute Medicaid dollars to states more effectively by looking at data that better reflects the needs of nursing home residents and workers, according to a new report from the Government Accountability Office.
The Hastings Center has updated its "Guidelines for Decisions on Life-Sustaining Treatment and Care Near the End of Life." The original 1987 guidelines were influential.
Long-term care organizations have responded to a report that physicians are prescribing antipsychotic medications for seniors without proper oversight from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. This is hampering efforts to reduce off-label antipsychotic use for dementia care in nursing homes, according to ProPublica, which compiled the report based on a review of Medicare Part D claims.
The leaders of the Senate Finance Committee have called for healthcare providers to weigh in on possible changes to the Medicare physician payment system.
Seniors who have insomnia are more likely to be admitted to a nursing home than those who experience quality sleep, according to a recently published study.
The House of Representatives has passed the "Working Families Flexibility Act." The bill, H.R. 1406, would allow employers to offer paid time off in place of overtime pay, and has put healthcare providers at odds with workers' unions.
The Food and Drug Administration has officially approved Breo Ellipta, a much-anticipated new treatment for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
The Department of Labor has dismissed a whistleblower lawsuit filed by Laurie Bebo against the company she used to lead, Assisted Living Concepts, according to ALC's recently filed quarterly results.
Providers will see fewer Additional Document Requests starting in June, as the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services transitions to new Recovery Audit Program contracts. CMS has started the contract procurement process by issuing a request for quotes through the General Services Administration, according to a Medicare newsletter released Thursday.
A U.S. District Court judge has brought a definitive end to a large, long-running class action case involving nursing home residents with developmental and intellectual disabilities.
Extendicare Inc., which operates more than 240 senior care centers, will be splitting up its U.S. and Canadian businesses, the company announced Thursday.
A recent Centers for Medicare & Medicaid memorandum provides some clarity regarding new therapy cap notification rules, but providers still need guidance on other aspects of therapy reimbursement, according to Cynthia Morton, executive vice president of the National Association for the Support of Long-Term Care.
Post-acute care was the fastest growing major healthcare spending category for government programs between 1994-2009, according to recently released research. The results support large-scale bundled payments as a way to control costs, the researchers argued.
People who are depressed or lonely are at increased risk of Clostridium difficile infection, according to recently published research.
Skilled nursing providers should ratchet up Medicare Part A compliance initiatives to meet the increasingly intense scrutiny of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, a compliance expert said in a McKnight's Super Tuesday webcast. "CMS is serious about this," said Leah Klusch, executive director of The Alliance Training Center.
Nursing homes can now refer to newly updated government guidelines on hiring or contracting with people excluded from participating in federal health programs.
A government lawsuit and a memorandum from the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General raise questions about the two most expensive types of hospice care.
Post-acute providers have improved across a broad range of quality measures, according to a comprehensive report released by the Alliance for Quality Nursing Home Care. Providers improved outcomes in 13 of 15 measures — such as pain, pressure ulcers and pneumonia vaccination — between 2011 and the second quarter of 2012.
Skilled nursing providers fell well short of reaching a 15% reduction in off-label antipsychotic use by the end of 2012, the American Health Care Association announced Monday.
The Minimum Data Set manual will be revised to reflect a new correction policy, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services recently announced.
Submissions are now being accepted for the second annual McKnight's Excellence in Technology Awards. The awards are open to skilled nursing and assisted living facilities, and continuing care retirement communities. Any technology-related initiative will be considered by the contest's independent judges.
Government lawyers and opponents of Medicare's "observation stay loophole" squared off in court on Friday, when a federal judge convened the first hearing in the Bagnall vs. Sebelius case.
Hands-only cardiopulmonary resuscitation is recommended by the American Heart Association, but it may not be the best way to save lives if more sophisticated medical care is slow in coming, according to a review of recent research.
McKnight's Long-Term Care News has earned the Gold Award for Best News Coverage for the fifth straight year. McKnight's also earned Gold for its Daily Update newsletter and three other honors in the national ASHPE Awards program.
Long-term care administrators and directors should have an antibiotic stewardship program that takes the entire facility into account, an infection control expert said Thursday.
Skilled nursing facilities that delay joining an Accountable Care Organization will likely be losers in the healthcare marketplace, according to John Durso, a partner at the law firm of Ungaretti & Harris LLP. Durso recently offered tips for nursing homes that are negotiating to join an integrated care network.
Total Medicare reimbursements to skilled nursing facilities would increase by $500 million in 2014 under the new payment rate proposed by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. The agency is also proposing a new Minimum Data Set item related to therapy.
Prominent real estate investment trusts are worried about the fiscal challenges facing skilled nursing homes, and some are looking to get out of the sector, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Potential Medicare cuts called for by the Affordable Care Act will not occur, a chief government actuary has announced. Long-term care organizations said the news comes as a relief for providers who have weathered a series of recent payment reductions.
Hospices will reap a 1.1% increase in Medicare payments in fiscal year 2014, according to a proposed rule issued by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
Long-term care providers might want to pay special attention to residents with certain recently identified risk factors for Clostridium difficile. These factors are chronic dialysis, recent hospitalization and use of corticosteroids such as prednisone.
The housing and care of Alzheimer's disease and dementia patients has been on a roll. The recent progression of designs and elements has led to improvements for residents and the staff who care for them.
Of the many remarkable moments in Aysha Kuhlor's life, one of the biggest arrived in 1994. She went to a party in New York City a week before she was planning to go back to London, where she had a job and was in nursing school. She met a man named Francis. They were married six weeks later. As to why she agreed to stay in the United States and get married, "I think it was all the promises," Kuhlor says, laughing.
Most long-term care nursing assistants would agree that giving residents baths or showers is one of the most difficult aspects of caregiving. It also can be tough on residents, particularly those with dementia — who may become combative during the bathing process — as well as those who are obese, inflexible or fragile, who might find the whole experience exhausting.
These are the initial posts of the popular new McKnights.com blog "The World According to Dr. El." See more from her at McKnights.com.
There has been a trend of late to refer to specialized care of individuals with dementia as "memory care." I understand the need for a quick, catchy title for a new product or service line in long-term care, but I worry about the message this one may send and the mindset it might create in management, families and employees. Here's why.
I'm sure you remember the old joke: "Why are nursing homes so noisy? Because we forget people actually live there." Oh sorry, that's not a joke. My mistake.
I'm not going to worry too much about the Second Annual McKnight's Technology Awards program, which kicks off this month. The first one last year was a smashing success. I have no reason to believe there are any fewer proud and successful programs out there this year.
Long-term care operators are understandably giddy about the sudden prospect of immigration reform. Such a change holds the promise of a larger labor pool at a time of rampant worker shortages. Add in the possibility that a new labor law might also drive down wages and undermine union strength, and it's not hard to see why many operators are amped up.At press time, lawmakers in both Congressional chambers were getting ready to roll out legislation. Senators have reportedly agreed to a 13-year path to citizenship. Under their proposal, undocumented workers would get a green card after 10 years, and would need another three to gain citizenship. In the House, a three-pronged approach was being considered.
The primary document governing investment decision making by fiduciaries is the investment policy statement (IPS). The fiduciaries are the board and finance committee members, as well as senior management.
A recipe for a complicated nursing home renovation: Take one facility that hasn't been updated in 45 years, add a strict budget and keep residents on site throughout the project. Columbia Health Care Center in Wyocena, WI, recently completed exactly this type of complex renovation. The 124-bed facility, located about 30 miles north of Madison, had not been significantly renovated since opening in 1966. The facility needed upgrades for compliance and to enhance quality of life elements, such as adding more dining areas and private bathrooms.
FHA-backed mortgages are becoming popular with long-term care facilities as conventional banks are increasingly uncertain about the impact healthcare reform and financing will have on providers' stability. That doesn't mean Federal Housing Administration loans are a slam dunk. Do your homework, watch your bottom line and understand the potential pitfalls, experts advise.
Pfizer must pay $142 million for the marketing and prescribing of epilepsy drug Neurontin for unapproved uses, a federal appeals court has ruled. The justices refused to overturn a jury's previous verdict. The jury determined Pfizer marketed Neurontin for bipolar disorder, migraines and neuropathic pain. The Food and Drug Administration had not approved the medicine for any of those uses.
The approval of Biogen Idec's MS therapy Tecfidera follows months of breathless Wall Street hype, and it looks like doctors are psyched for the drug, too. In a MedLIVE PULSE survey conducted by WorldOne Interactive, 40% of U.S neurologists polled said they're currently warehousing patients in anticipation of the new multiple sclerosis drug.
Even if county nursing home workers provide poor care, the county is not liable unless the inadequate care results directly from an official policy or custom, a federal judge has ruled.
A whistleblower lawsuit involving a nursing home chain and therapy providers in Missouri can move forward, a federal judge has ruled. The False Claims Act case originated with allegations that a therapy company received more than $10 million in kickbacks as part of a scheme to overbill Medicare and Medicaid.
A growing number of healthcare providers are adopting mobile technologies, a new study by IT trade organization CompTIA has found. A survey of 375 healthcare providers reveals that 60% of respondents currently use smartphones and more than 50% say their staff members currently use tablet computers. Of the survey respondents who have a mobile device capable of supporting applications, one in five use health- or medical-related apps daily.
Thanks to McKesson's Six Sigma team, Allcare Pharmacy was able to make several workflow and process improvements, says Allcare Pharmacy COO Stephen Carroll.
Information technology adoption and exchange of health information across the long-term care and post-acute continuum "has not yet reached broad scale adoption," but "promising" IT potential exists for providers to improve care while reducing costs, say new report findings from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology.
Benedictine Health System President and CEO Dale M. Thompson will retire in December. Thompson is a former president of the American Health Care Association.
Advocat Inc., which operates 48 skilled nursing centers, changed its name to Diversicare Healthcare Services as of March 15. Its facilities already operated under the Diversicare name, and President and CEO Kelly J. Gill said the name change is to unify branding.
Aviv REIT Inc. netted nearly $279 million in an initial public offering of common stock. The Chicago-based company first tried to go public in 2008 but was stopped by the economic crisis, and a 2009 attempt was met with investor resistance.
Skilled nursing operators now have greater flexibility in allowing non-physicians to do certain tasks. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services clarified what may be delegated in an April 3 brief.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has issued a fact sheet, that clarifies the conditions the terms under which "maintenance therapy" will be covered by Medicare.
I have been in my director of nursing position at my new job for about three months now and I find that our turnover rate is outrageous. I interview and hire but after orientation, it is hard to keep our new hires. Any suggestions on how to improve retention?
Meditation can make people more compassionate, according to a new study. Researchers from Harvard University and Northeastern University looked at whether meditating could lead to more compassionate behavior. Meditation participants did eight-week trainings, and then were given a test.
I recently read an article addressing the movement of patients while in bed. It was conducted in the United Kingdom and contains valuable information.
Researchers recently identified a molecular "switch" mechanism that takes place during successful wound care healing. The discovery is likely to aid in the understanding of how wounds get better, and fuel preventive treatments.
What do a nursing home resident's skin and a fruit fly's exoskeleton have in common? At first glance, not much. But it turns out that both are essentially a mesh of macromolecules that share similar signaling traits.
Our facility tracks facility-acquired pressure ulcers, but I would also like to report pressure ulcer prevalence among the residents. I am not clear about the terms, definitions or correct process to calculate prevalence of pressure ulcers.
Stomach acid is often treated with medications such as Pepcid, but that could put long-term care residents or hospitalized patients at risk for Clostridium difficile, according to a new analysis.
In another boost for fish oil, a study has found it enhances the function of B cells, which can benefit immunocompromised individuals.
The number of people dying in hospitals decreased 8% from 2000 to 2010 even as overall hospitalizations rose, suggesting nursing homes, hospices and home health providers are playing larger roles in end-of-life care. These numbers appeared in a recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services will change some nursing home survey procedures in response to budget cuts from sequestration, according to memos released April 9. The CMS Survey & Certification budget has been reduced 5% from 2012, the agency announced.
Diabetics are at risk of developing dementia earlier and dying sooner, according to research in the American Journal of Epidemiology.
Elderly people with type 2 diabetes should not take aspirin to prevent cardiovascular disease, according to draft guidelines from the American Geriatrics Society. This reverses its previous recommendation.
Providers should be taking most of their dementia residents off antipsychotics — and can generally do so without fear of relapse to dementia-related behaviors — researchers say.
Long-term care providers have been able to sustain modest room-rate hikes, according to the 10th annual Cost of Care Survey from insurance company Genworth.
Skilled nursing facilities are expected to have missed their overall goal of reducing off-label use of antipsychotics by 15% for 2012, but they should continue to push for reductions, provider leaders said.
President Obama's proposed budget is dead in the water as long-term care providers see it. They stand to lose $81 billion over 10 years if the measure is approved.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has proposed changing the way hospital readmission penalties are calculated as part of its 2014 Medicare rate update. Potential readmissions penalties for long-term care providers — such as those recently floated by the White House — would likely be based on the established CMS formula for hospitals.
Long-term care operators should be aware of potential defects affecting certain fire alarms manufactured by Honeywell, the American Health Care Association stated Monday.
The government of Japan will fund the development of four different kinds of robots that could perform essential tasks in nursing homes, the Japan Daily Press reported Monday.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services could take a variety of steps to make audits less burdensome, healthcare providers stated in white papers submitted to members of the Senate Finance Committee. The committee released a report Thursday, summarizing stakeholders' input and recommendations for improving the audit process.
A controversial "accounting of disclosures" provision of the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act will probably not be finalized before the scheduled Jan. 1, 2014, deadline for compliance, according to a senior Department of Health and Human Services official.
A real estate investment trust that allegedly engaged in questionable sales transactions with nonprofit operators recently settled with the state of Tennessee, which will lead to a $40 million payday for charities in the state.
The Department of Health and Human Services is trying to encourage Medicare fraud whistleblowers by substantially increasing their potential reward. The current maximum award of $1,000 would go up to $9.9 million per whistleblower if a recently proposed rule takes effect.
Nursing homes that dispute a deficiency citation without Immediate Jeopardy and want it stricken from public record should consider withholding a plan of correction (POC), according to a recent federal court ruling.