December 2012 Issue of McKnight's Long Term Care News

December 2012 Issue of McKnight's Long Term Care News

The top stories from McKnight's Long-Term Care News, November 2012


Few signs of a deal as fiscal cliff nears

Winning candidates had little time to enjoy November election victories, thanks to a looming $600 billion fiscal cliff.

SNF upcoding rampant: OIG

Nursing homes are overcharging Medicare around $1.5 billion annually, a federal report released in mid-November asserts.

Private rooms now top $90k

The national average annual charge for a private nursing home room rose to $90,520 this year, while semi-private rooms climbed to $81,030 and assisted living ...

MedPAC: Cut therapy caps 33%, hike audits

The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission has recommended that Congress drop the annual allowable limits for Medicare Outpatient Part B payments by one-third. It would mean ...

Reform now likely here to stay

With the November elections over, and with them the possibility of the Affordable Care Act's demise, providers likely are girding for more fights over reimbursement ...

Study: Keep Risperdal use

Nursing home residents with dementia may benefit by staying on the antipsychotic drug Risperdal, a study finds.

AHCA sends strong message as fiscal cliff cuts get closer

As lawmakers try to get "on message" about the looming fiscal cliff, the American Health Care Association sent a message of its own.

RAC audits often inaccurate, group claims

A major hospital group has called for a federal investigation into mistakes made by recovery audit contractors.

State News

New York, New Jersey facilities struggle to recover after Hurricane Sandy and winter snowstorm

It could be months before New York and New Jersey long-term care facilities and their residents fully recover from the double whammy of Hurricane Sandy ...


Germs put on notice

As the threat of infectious diseases continues to permeate the long-term care environment, facilities need to use the best tools and resources at their disposal.

Rally the troops

Acquiring new information technology systems is one thing. Making them work well among facility staff is another; experts give recommendations.

60 Seconds with...

60 Seconds with... Cheryl Phillips, M.D. Senior VP, Public Policy and Advocacy, LeadingAge

Q: CMS wants nursing homes to reduce antipsychotic use by 15% by the end of 2012. How's it looking?

Ask the care expert

Ask the resident care expert: Should I have been surprised about a tetanus vaccination for a resident with a sacral stage 4 ulcer?

No, you should not be surprised at all. Tetanus is caused by the bacteria Clostridium tetani.

Resident care

Tool determines readmission risk for heart attack patients

A new tool can allow physicians to predict which heart attack patients will likely end up back in the hospital.

Ask the treatment expert

Ask the treatment expert: What is the best way to treat a yeast infection?

This is a question that often surfaces, so it may be useful to review the definition, causes, recognition and treatment of "yeast infections."

Wound care

Hospital-acquired bedsores challenge patients and SNFs

Investigators have found that people who develop bedsores in a hospital were more likely to be readmitted within 30 days, stay at the hospital longer ...

Diabetes-foot ulcer combo fatal: study

Diabetes sufferers who also develop foot ulcers appear more likely to die prematurely, a new study warns. Investigators believe the findings highlight a potential need ...

Ask the nursing expert

Ask the nursing expert: How do I reduce turnover in my new facility?

I just took a position as director of nursing in a large facility with a high turnover of staff in the nursing department. Where would ...


Longer nursing shifts cause dropouts, unhappy patients

Nurses who work long shifts are more likely to leave the profession, and also have dissatisfied patients, a new study has discovered.

Federal grant puts APRNs into facilities

A $15 million grant from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services will allow more advance practice registered nurses to be in skilled nursing facilities ...

Ask the payment expert

Ask the payment expert: How can I make sure that my Medicare claims are correct?

I recommend every facility that gets reimbursement from Medicare complete a Medicare audit annually. You want to look at yourself the same way the government ...

Payment & policy

Medicare coverage to extend for some with chronic ills

The Obama administration settled a lawsuit in November that opens the door for expanded skilled nursing care and rehab therapy for some individuals with chronic ...

MFP program struggling

The government's so-called "Money Follows the Person" program has had a disappointing start, officials announced recently.

Ask the legal expert

Is it ever OK to hire someone with a criminal record?

We try to check out employee candidates as thoroughly as possible but the staffing environment around here is tough.

Legal Matters

Facility should have used a lift to move resident: court

A nursing home resident who suffered a broken leg while being helped out of bed has presented sufficient evidence of negligence to earn another chance ...

Appeals court upholds sexual abuse F-Tag

A federal appeals court has upheld the government's leveling of Immediate Jeopardy level penalties at a Kentucky nursing home over allegations of resident sexual abuse.

Pursuing excellence

State of senior living

There is some good news about the state of the senior living business: Senior living providers are operating with more strength financially than in recent ...


One sweet 'Onion'

With open but secure spaces designed to heighten the senses, a new senior care community promotes dignity in memory care.

How to do it…

How to do it... Integrating beds into design

Beds are literally the biggest, and often most significant, item in a resident room. Consequently, integrating beds into room spaces requires a keen eye toward ...

I couldn't live without...

I couldn't live without... Care2Learn

Online learning has become particularly valuable for people like Sherry Johnson, RN, director of clinical development for UHS Pruitt.


Tech driving improvements, as well as workflow changes

Technology payoffs such as automation and electronic health records are allowing healthcare providers to better manage care and information.


Things I think: Windmills of change

I've driven up and down Oregon's Columbia River Gorge roughly 486 times, give or take a thousand, for the past three decades.

Resident care

Keys to schizophrenic longevity found

People with schizophrenia are likely to live a longer life if they take antipsychotic drugs on schedule, avoid high doses, and see a mental health ...

Company news

Despite payment challenges, companies charging ahead

Even with Medicare and Medicaid payment pressures, Kindred Healthcare's RehabCare contract therapy division is holding steady, the company announced at the end of October.

The big picture

These 3 will perk you up

I probably shouldn't admit this. But my job is loaded with perks.

Editor’s desk

Where did 2012 go? It's really quite simple to see

By the time December rolls around, it's safe to say many thoughts are toward finishing the year on a high note. Or for pragmatists and ...


Profile: Roxanne Galloway, Chairwoman, American College of Health Care Administrators

As a first-year social worker, Roxanne Galloway often lay awake worrying about her future.