SNF will pay $28 million to settle fraud, neglect lawsuits

SNF will pay $28 million to settle fraud, neglect lawsuits

A New York skilled nursing facility has agreed to pay $28 million and implement reforms to settle a lawsuit alleging fraud, neglect and criminal conduct from the facility's owners and staff.

Gawande: Good palliative care blocked by quality measures, lack of communication

The quality measures currently in place in skilled nursing facilities and hospice settings are too focused on safety and health to promote effective palliative care, physician Atul Gawande, M.D., MPH, told lawmakers on Thursday.

Nasal mist flu vaccine ineffective, shouldn't be used next flu season, CDC says

A popular form of flu vaccine has been deemed ineffective by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Also in the News for Friday, June 24

Care coordination lacking for seniors with multiple conditions ... Alzheimer's detected through retina scans ... GOP healthcare blueprint calls for vast Medicaid reform, ACA repeal

Post-acute providers among 301 nabbed in record Medicare fraud sweep

Post-acute providers among 301 nabbed in record Medicare fraud sweep

The largest-ever healthcare fraud takedown has resulted in charges against hundreds of people involved in schemes totaling $900 million, government officials announced Wednesday.

Flu, falls drove SNF occupancy in early 2016, report shows

Skilled nursing facilities enjoyed increased occupancy rates in the first quarter of 2016, likely spurred by winter-related causes, according to a new report.

Kindred hospice wins against whistleblower in False Claims case

A Kindred Healthcare hospice affiliate won big this week in a False Claims Act case brought by a former employee.

Also in the News for Thursday, June 23

Resident charged with arson, assault in setting SNF fire ... Medicare funds to run out two years earlier than projected, feds say ... One-third of Medicare beneficiaries prescribed opioids

Hospital association sounds off on SNF prospective payment proposal

Hospital association sounds off on SNF prospective payment proposal

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services should consider skilled nursing payment proposals that could benefit the "unique" characteristics hospital-based facilities, the nation's largest hospital association said on Monday.

llinois providers file lawsuits to stop competitor's expansion

Three Illinois nursing homes have taken legal action in an attempt slow the expansion of a transitional care-focused competitor in Chicago's western suburbs.

Diabetes drugs could be used to treat Alzheimer's, and vice versa, study finds

Drugs used to treat diabetes also could alleviate the symptoms and progression of Alzheimer's disease, a new study finds.

Also in the News for Wednesday, June 22

ACOs bring modest savings in care for patients with comorbidities, study says ... Provider sentenced to 8 years in prison in $9 million hospice scheme ... CMS releases final rule on Medicare payments for clinical lab tests

McKnight's earns APEX Grand Award, 7 honors overall

McKnight's Long-Term Healthcare News earned a Grand Award and four Awards of Excellence at the 28th annual Awards for Publication Excellence contest.

CMS proposes tightening Medicaid improper payment program

The program that measures Medicaid improper payments and eligibility could be getting tougher in the future under new a new rule proposed by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services on Monday.

Fire that forced evacuation at SNF started by resident, authorities say

A fire at a Connecticut rehabilitation facility that sent five residents to the hospital on Saturday was set by another resident who wanted to leave the place, according to police.

CMS says updated fire codes effective July 5

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is gearing up to enact its recently finalized fire safety updates for long-term care facilities.

Also in the News for Tuesday, June 21

Study: Polypharmacy doesn't impact mortality in nursing home residents ... Parkinson's rates on the rise in American men ... Kansas Medicaid backlog four times worse than originally thought

Senate committee-approved spending bill would eliminate Medicare assistance program

Senate committee-approved spending bill would eliminate Medicare assistance program

A federal program that provides seniors with advice for the Medicare program is one of 18 groups on the chopping block under a spending bill approved by a Senate committee last week.

Jury sides with facility in SNF wrongful death case

A jury ruled in favor of a New Hampshire nursing home on Thursday, finding the facility did not act improperly in the 2011 death of a resident.

Medicare ACO savings plummet after first year, study finds

The first full year of contracts for accountable care organizations in the Medicare Shared Savings Program led to reductions in spending, but those cuts dropped significantly in the second cohort, a new study shows.

Also in the News for Monday, June 20

Long-acting opioids found to increase risk of death by 90% ... Exercise can help seniors' muscles repair themselves, study says ... Report to predict Medicare's solvency to be released Wednesday

Supreme Court upholds controversial False Claims liability theory

Supreme Court upholds controversial False Claims liability theory

The Supreme Court on Thursday upheld a controversial legal theory that could increase False Claims Act scrutiny against healthcare providers.

AHCA: Unified payment plan 'viable' but 3-day stay part needs work

Recommendations to Congress concerning a unified, site-neutral payment system for post-acute care are viable, a leading provider group said Wednesday.

X-ray company owner gets 10 years in prison for nursing home resident's death

The owner of a mobile diagnostic imaging company has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for healthcare fraud that lead to the death of two patients.

Also in the News for Friday, June 17

Hospital deaths more costly than those in nursing homes, hospice ... HHS: Integrated dual eligibles program decreased hospitalizations, ED visits ... Many post-surgery readmissions due to mental health, lack of social support

Unified post-acute payment system within reach, MedPAC tells Congress

Unified post-acute payment system within reach, MedPAC tells Congress

A unified, site-neutral payment system for post-acute care is well within reach, the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission said Wednesday in a report to Congress.

Abuse of nursing home residents on social media the focus of new AHCA guide

Nursing homes are receiving new instructions on how to prevent employees from abusing residents on social media.

MACPAC: Medicaid spending for long-term care 'disproportionate'

Medicaid spending on long-term care is disproportionate compared to the number of beneficiaries requiring it, the Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commision said Wednesday.

Also in the News for Thursday, June 16

Patient advocates raise questions about CMS's antipsychotic reduction report ... For-profit hospices have higher hospitalization rates ... DOL cracks down on sex discrimination rules for federal contractors

One in five SNF residents experience abuse from other residents, study finds

One in five SNF residents experience abuse from other residents, study finds

At least one in five seniors living in nursing homes has experienced some sort of resident-on-resident abuse, a new study finds.

New program will target fraud in Medicare, Medicaid, officials say

The federal government will soon unveil a new contractor program aimed at fraud in both the Medicare and Medicaid programs, according to an official with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

CMS proposal would change Medicare, Medicaid eligibility

Infection prevention, more protections against patient discrimination and readmission data are among the areas up for changes in a proposal the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services has made for hospitals that want to be eligible for Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements.

Also in the News for Wednesday, June 15

Nearly 15% of Medicare beneficiaries leave hospital with new opioid prescription ... American Medical Association creates new guidelines for telemedicine ... Sleepiness, fatigue linked to brain atrophy in otherwise healthy seniors

Senators introduce second resolution to kill DOL 'persuader' rule

Senators introduce second resolution to kill DOL 'persuader' rule

Additional lawmakers are taking steps to quash a controversial Department of Labor rule that requires employers to report any relations they have with anti-union "persuaders."

Paramedics often obstructed, left out of the loop on nursing home calls

Paramedics often receive little direction from nurses or medical records when handling end-of-life situations at nursing homes, a new survey finds.

Rutgers launches nursing program focusing on LTC, non-hospital care

Nursing students will be encouraged to work in non-hospital settings through a new, first-of-its-kind residency program at Rutgers University.

Also in the News for Tuesday, June 14

Personalized diabetes management plan cuts Medicare costs by 14% ... CMS pledges $10 million to help physicians switch to alternative payment models ... Seniors with diabetes living longer with fewer disabilities

GAO: Attempts at easing Medicare appeals backlog not working fast enough

GAO: Attempts at easing Medicare appeals backlog not working fast enough

Administrative law judges had a 936% increase in Medicare claims between fiscal years 2010 and 2014, a new government report finds.

FDA drug guidance may threaten compliance for 'literally every LTC facility,' pharmacy group says

New repackaging guidelines from the Food and Drug Administration could place "literally every LTC facility and associated pharmacy in America" at risk of failing to meet Medicare and Medicaid regulatory requirements, a senior care executive said last week.

Lawsuit against Preferred Care Partners will continue, judge rules

A lawsuit alleging inadequate care from one of the nation's largest skilled nursing providers will proceed as planned, a New Mexico district judge ruled last week.

Also in the News for Monday, June 13

HHS appropriations bill heads to full Senate for consideration ... Healthcare workers twice as likely to follow hand hygiene guidelines when they know they're being watched ... Women have 23% higher risk of stroke hospitalization than men, study finds

SNF can't force arbitration with agreement signed by legal custodian, high court rules

SNF can't force arbitration with agreement signed by legal custodian, high court rules

An Arkansas nursing home can't enforce an arbitration agreement that was signed by a resident's emergency legal custodian, the state Supreme Court has ruled.

UTI policies inconsistent across nursing homes, study finds

A new study of nursing homes has found little consistency among them regarding policies used to prevent urinary tract infections.

Woman charged with stealing identities to work at nursing homes

An Indiana woman has been arrested for allegedly stealing two other nurses' license numbers and using them to apply for jobs at healthcare facilities.

Also in the News for Friday, June 10

Judge dismisses CA 'patient dumping' lawsuit ... House holds hearing on bills to eliminate 3-day stay requirement, suspend CJR pilot ... LTC facilities most common location of Legionnaires' outbreaks

IMPACT Act aspects to 'trickle down' to Medicaid, expert predicts

Skilled nursing facilities should be on the lookout for aspects of the Improving Medicare Post-Acute Care Transformation Act of 2014 to trickle into the Medicaid world, one expert advised on Wednesday.

Providers applaud passage of rural healthcare technology bill

After months of intense lobbying, long-term care providers are celebrating the Senate's passage of the Rural Health Care Connectivity Act of 2015. The measure opens up Federal Commerce Commission funds that can help rural operators gain better broadband and telecom technology.

Senate committee advances health spending bill with funds for Medicare appeals

A massive $161.9 billion health and education appropriations bill approved by a Senate subcommittee yesterday includes $112.4 million in funds to help address the backlog of Medicare claims appeals.

Also in the News for Thursday, June 9

DMEPOS update has no negative impact on nursing home residents, CMS says ... Breath analysis may help reduce unnecessary antibiotic use ... CMS taking nominations for expert panel on pressure ulcer quality measure

OIG to tackle skilled nursing payments, avoidable hospitalizations in FY 2016

OIG to tackle skilled nursing payments, avoidable hospitalizations in FY 2016

The Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General will dig into Medicare requirements for skilled nursing care coverage during the remainder of fiscal year 2016, according to a new report.

Former CNA pleads guilty in plot to plan, film resident sexual assaults

A former certified nursing assistant could receive 15 years in jail after pleading guilty to allegations he planned to film long-term care residents being sexually assaulted.

CMS report: Antipsychotic use in nursing homes drops 27%

The use of antipsychotic medications in nursing homes has declined 27% since the implementation of a federal initiative to improve dementia care, a recent report shows.

Also in the News for Wednesday, June 8

Medicare finalizes rule for regional-based ACO evaluations ... State gives grant to fund dementia care training for nursing home workers ... NY attorney general steps in to stop sale of nursing homes to troubled company

CMS report shows Great Recession led to less nursing home oversight

The Great Recession led to a notable drop in nursing home enforcement actions over a five-year period, according to a new report from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

Traditional Medicare beneficiaries sicker at end of life than MA patients, analysis shows

Traditional Medicare patients are less healthy than Medicare Advantage patients at end of life, a new analysis finds.

Call for additional patient testing in ManorCare hepatitis C lawsuit

Attorneys representing the victims of the largest hepatitis C outbreak in recent history have asked for judge-ordered testing to find additional people who may have been infected.

Also in the News for Tuesday, June 7

Former SNF worker sues for retaliation after reporting residents being secretly filmed ... Video conferencing between hospitals, SNF staff helps reduce antipsychotic use ... Strokes may be more severe for shift workers

I couldn't live without ... WoundRounds

I couldn't live without ... WoundRounds

Over the course of a decade using WoundRounds, Burgess Square Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center in Westmont, IL, has seen enormous value, its chief executive officer says.

Video chats trim aggression for residents with dementia

Video chats trim aggression for residents with dementia

Video chatting with relatives over the internet may reduce the risk of nursing home residents with dementia becoming agitated or aggressive, according to research out of Monash University in Australia.

ABILITY Network buys CareWatch maker

ABILITY® Network, which has a presence in the hospital, home health and skilled nursing industry, announced in April it had bought software company eHealth Data Solutions LLC. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Vendors help providers prep for staff-reporting regulation

Vendors help providers prep for staff-reporting regulation

As the Payroll-Based Journal reporting deadline looms, many vendors have spent the spring selling new solutions.

Ask the Treatment Expert about ... improve wound documentation

Ask the Treatment Expert about ... improve wound documentation

Information sharing is essential to promote quality wound care. Although there are no national, state or local regulations related to wound care documentation, individual skilled nursing facilities must have well thought-out and written policies and procedures.

EHRs show promise for palliative ulcers

Electronic health records may help palliative care providers better manage pressure ulcers within their facility, according to a new review in Wounds UK.

Attitude affects survival in foot ulcer patients: study

Attitude affects survival in foot ulcer patients: study

Attitudes and beliefs about diabetic foot ulcers can have a significant impact on the survival of patients, according to new research.

GAO: More workplace protection needed

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration should do more to protect healthcare employees from workplace violence, according to a federal report.

Shift work exacting a heavy toll on women, study reveals

Shift work exacting a heavy toll on women, study reveals

Shift work could negatively affect women more than men, suggests a British study comparing performance after 28-hour schedules that delayed sleep-wake cycles.

Ask the Nursing Expert about ... DON responsibilities

Ask the Nursing Expert about ... DON responsibilities

I'm new to long-term care as a director of nursing. I love the residents that we care for, but it's so hard to manage the surveys, ombudsman, Department of Health, etc. The hours are more than a normal job. How do I keep going?

High court to rule on damaging lawyer ads

The Georgia Supreme Court is considering whether to uphold a ban on ads that a prominent Southeast nursing home provider says violated the Georgia Deceptive False Practices Act.

PharMerica asks SCOTUS for relief in False Claims case

PharMerica asks SCOTUS for relief in False Claims case

PharMerica has petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to reconsider a 2015 decision that the long-term care pharmacy giant says opens the door to "copycat" lawsuits.

Ask the Legal Expert about ... candidates' credit reports

Ask the Legal Expert about ... candidates' credit reports

Can I factor a credit report check on a potential director of nursing into our hiring decision?

How to do it ... better med management

Adverse medication events continue to be numerous and problematic, not only for residents' health but also for financial and legal reasons. Providers continue to thirst for good ideas and best practices. Here are some recommendations from leading experts.

Targeting a silent killer

Targeting a silent killer

Infections may be causing up to 300,000 resident deaths in facilities each year. A new federal program hopes to improve assessments and caregiving practices.

Broken skin

Broken skin

Liability threats of non-healing pressure ulcers put providers on the hotseat

Design Decisions: Focus on resident privacy

Design Decisions: Focus on resident privacy

Sunny Hill Nursing Home responds to calls for more privacy with single-occupancy rooms. It's a matter of keeping up with the times.

PA provider OKs $15 wage

A Pennsylvania long-term care provider has agreed to a new contract that will pay most certified nursing assistants $15 an hour within five years.

For-profit shortfalls deserve additional safeguards: report

For-profit shortfalls deserve additional safeguards: report

A study in PLOS Medicine argues that previous research pointing to allegedly inferior care in for-profit skilled nursing facilities should drive the development of ways to protect vulnerable residents.

Day in the Life: Composing a memorable winner

Day in the Life: Composing a memorable winner

It all started with a suggestion from a resident in the memory care wing at Mercy Retirement & Care Center in Oakland, CA.

Reader Poll: What other department would you like to try working in for a day?

"Dining services. It's a big component that residents focus on. It would be fun to cook in the kitchen and talk to the seniors in the dining room and see their reactions."

A call for openness as sales of facilities churn

A call for openness as sales of facilities churn

Nursing home chain executives might have been wincing when they saw news of yet another study apparently finding that they're doing a poor job.

Affordable analytics

Affordable analytics

Current use, and perhaps misuse, of Five-Star Nursing Home Ratings place significant emphasis on achieving a three-star overall rating, which requires stable performance in survey, staffing and quality. How can providers maximize their investment dollars to achieve this?

State News for June 2016

State News for June 2016

NEW YORK — A scathing indictment of the state's system for licensing, monitoring and disciplining nurses has caught the attention of key officials in Albany following an investigation by a group of independent journalists earlier this year.

When failure is a virtue

When failure is a virtue

In "My Losing Season," Pat Conroy's moving memoir notes how championship teams keep the good times going. They jump up and down when the game ends. They party and have victory dinners afterward. Years later, they are still reuniting and staying in touch to reminisce.

Antidepressants carry much higher fall risk than antipsychotics, study finds

Antidepressants carry much higher fall risk than antipsychotics, study finds

Nursing home residents with dementia who take antidepressants are at significantly higher risk of falls and fractures than those on antipsychotics, new research shows.

Nurses charged with ignoring bleeding SNF resident after fall

Two nurses were indicted Thursday morning after allegedly ignoring a bleeding patient for more than 10 minutes after he fell and suffered a head wound.

Feds sue provider that suspended employee who declined flu shot due to religious beliefs

A Massachusetts hospital has been hit with a lawsuit from a federal agency after it allegedly suspended and fired an employee who refused a flu vaccination because of her faith.

Also in the News for Monday, June 6

Former hospice CEO pleads guilty to admitting non-terminally ill patients ... Two SNF residents arrested for failing to register as sex offenders ... Dietary fiber cuts risk of disease, disability in old age

Waiting for a pellet

Waiting for a pellet

From now on when I ponder the future of long-term care, I'll think about Uncle Jimmy.

Ask the Care Expert about ... being proactive for the safety of residents and staff members

Ask the Care Expert about ... being proactive for the safety of residents and staff members

I hear that many long-term care nurses are addicted to drugs and alcohol. Is there a way to be proactive for the safety of my residents and other staff members?

Loneliness increases readmission rates

In addition to frailty, living alone and feelings of loneliness made elderly patients in a British study more likely to be readmitted to a hospital.

Rosacea patients likely will have higher risk of dementia

Rosacea patients likely will have higher risk of dementia

A Danish study found an increased risk of dementia, especially Alzheimer's disease, in patients who have rosacea.

Profile: Betty Frandsen

Profile: Betty Frandsen

While many in the long-term care nursing profession know of Betty Frandsen's long career, they may not know she wakes up early each day to attend to her "horse nursing home."

More MDS tweaks coming

Providers must ensure accuracy of their own internal databases before the latest iteration of the minimum data set, or MDS 3.0, becomes effective October 1, a prominent coding consultant emphasizes.

Ask the Payment Expert about ... the new Payroll-Based Journal system

Ask the Payment Expert about ... the new Payroll-Based Journal system

Can you explain the new Payroll-Based Journal system?

Insurers rattled by Medicaid managed care's big changes

Insurers rattled by Medicaid managed care's big changes

The government's first major overhaul of the Medicaid Managed Care program in 14 years is unlikely to affect provider reimbursements, but insurers continue to take exception with one provision allowing beneficiaries to switch plans if their providers are dropped.

Pay proposal could deliver unintended consequences

Pay proposal could deliver unintended consequences

Providers are pleased with a federal proposal to increase skilled nursing payments by 2.1% but remain wary about the four new quality measures that are attached.

60 Seconds with...Christy Tosh Crider

60 Seconds with...Christy Tosh Crider

What are some practical ways to make telemedicine work in a facility? With head of Baker Donelson's Long Term Care Group, Christy Tosh Crider.

McKnight's earns accolades

The McKnight's Long-Term Care News editorial staff kept up a streak, earning seven national awards in the month of May.

CMS has cooked up new fire safety rules

CMS has cooked up new fire safety rules

The finalized rules relax some operational and construction requirements in order to give providers more flexibility and make the atmosphere more homelike, CMS officials said.

Study supports 'family' dining

Study supports 'family' dining

Eating meals family-style can boost nutrition, hydration and quality of life for people with dementia, scientists have found.

PAD diagnoses infections fast

Massachusetts General Hospital investigators have created a point-of-care diagnosis system for healthcare-associated infection

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