Medicaid growth expected to slow, Medicare to accelerate

Medicaid growth expected to slow, Medicare to accelerate

Medicaid is projected to grow at a 5.8% rate through 2026, slower than previous years, according to Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Office of Actuary data released Wednesday.

Cardinal Health, McKesson facing hundreds of opioid lawsuits

Settlement talks for about 300 opioid lawsuits against Cardinal Health are ongoing, according to local reports.

Researchers show how hand-washing protocols help decrease nursing home deaths, antibiotic use

Nursing homes have long been a bastion of infections, experts note. But a new study finds that — by harnessing hand hygiene methods already popular in hospitals — such a notion could become a thing of the past.

Also in the News for Thursday, Feb. 15

Virginia passes Medicaid-work requirement bill ... New Florida nursing home generator rules in limbo .. US can sue UnitedHealth in massive Medicare case, court rules

Skilled nursing providers would lose out under Trump's revised payment system

Skilled nursing providers would lose out under Trump's revised payment system

A plan to lump together payments to all post-acute providers would be a budget cut dressed up as reform, providers said after reviewing the Department of Health and Human Services budget proposal.

Some veterans who want aid-in-dying will have to move first

Though terminally ill California residents can legally take lethal drugs to end their lives, the state's Veterans Homes have announced they will move any residents who want to try.

Argentum conference will highlight innovative practices that span industries

Featuring a main stage with eight speakers, this year's Argentum Senior Living Executive Conference will feature leading experts on workforce development, gerontology, resident programming, branding, building design, artificial intelligence and technology.

Also in the News for Wednesday, Feb. 14

Video of veteran's final journey through nursing home draws 6 million views ... COPD patients using inhaled meds more prone to fractures ... Patients on rheumatoid drugs cut Alzheimer's risk by half

Providers critical of Trump budget, which would cut Medicare, kill AHRQ, slash IT agency

Providers critical of Trump budget, which would cut Medicare, kill AHRQ, slash IT agency

President Donald Trump has unveiled his spending priorities for 2019, releasing a budget that would eliminate 22 programs and agencies — including the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality — and dramatically reduce funding for others.

Advisory panel targets 'outsized profits' for pharmacy benefit managers

A new federal report examining ways to drive down drug pricing drew praise Monday from industry observers for criticizing a "lack of transparency" among the pharmacy benefit managers dominating senior care distribution.

CDC monitoring new superbug with certain hot spots

A fungal superbug only recently reported in the U.S. has gotten a foothold, according to data published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Patients in frail health, especially those in hospitals and long-term care facilities, are especially vulnerable.

Also in the News for Tuesday, Feb. 13

Psychiatrists, marketer pushed patients to home health company for kickbacks, feds say ... More Wisconsin nursing homes closing due to low reimbursement, advocates say ... Families of skilled nursing residents less satisfied with hospice than those with in-home service

$1.96 billion nursing homes cut will force hard look at regulation, payment, experts say

$1.96 billion nursing homes cut will force hard look at regulation, payment, experts say

The federal budget deal struck last week will squeeze nursing homes tighter than ever, advocates said as they began strategizing about how to stem the damage.

Residents, nearby college placed on lockdown after shooting outside Georgia nursing home

A nursing home employee was killed in the building's parking lot Friday morning, authorities said.

Hospice accused of treating ineligible patients agrees to $1.2M False Claims settlement

A for-profit hospice company and its owner agreed to pay $1.2 million to resolve allegations that the company fraudulently billed Medicare and Medicaid for hospice services.

Also in the News for Monday, Feb. 12

New flu treatments may be here in time for next flu season ... Maryland representative pushes bill for bed rails in nursing homes, despite federal regulations against them ... Simple physical performance test can measure fall risk and prevent injuries

Top expert will highlight Expo

Top expert will highlight Expo

Providers have long struggled with offering telehealth due to reimbursement limitations. But the landscape is changing.

Providers accused of profit-hiding schemes

Providers accused of profit-hiding schemes

Nursing home critics are driving for deeper investigation into how operators "reward" themselves with lucrative self-dealing contracts while allegedly keeping staffing levels low.

Less heads in the beds: NIC

How low can it go? That's a question many operators are ask- ing in the wake of a report by the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care that reveals declining census numbers.

Anxiety is tied to Alzheimer's

Anxiety symptoms that increase over time have been linked to elevated amyloid beta levels and the early signs of Alzheimer's, according to Brigham and Women's Hospital researchers.

An ER visit can signal decline

An ER visit can signal decline

Visiting the emergency room can signal the beginning of serious health challenges for an older person even when he or she is not admitted, researchers from the Yale University School of Medicine contend.

Industry push to end therapy cap limits has come up short

Providers and Medicare Part B beneficiaries were hoping for a reprieve at press time from therapy caps that kicked into full effect when Congress failed to repeal them or extend a broad exceptions process by Jan. 1.

Federal budget deal could slash $2 billion from skilled nursing facilities

Federal budget deal could slash $2 billion from skilled nursing facilities

In very early morning voting, the House and Senate both passed the massive spending package described here. President Trump was expected to sign it into law before noon Eastern Time and end a brief government shutdown.

Nursing home fined for not reporting fall that led to death of a facility founder, expects restitution from staffing company

A Massachusetts nursing home where a resident fell and was shuffled back to bed without an official report was issued a $140,000 fine following the man's death. The facility says it expects to be reimbursed by a staffing company that sent a nurse who apparently didn't follow protocols.

CDC endorses new shingles vaccine for people over 50

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has endorsed a new recombinant zoster vaccine for shingles prevention in those over 50, saying it is more effective than a live attenuated version.

Also in the News for Friday, Feb. 9

Harris Poll finds most Americans don't support expanded moral protections for healthcare workers ... Independent Payment Advisory Board expected to be dismantled by budget bill ... GAO report says modernizing cost-sharing in fee-for-service plans would come with tradeoffs

E-prescribing grows up

E-prescribing grows up

Accountability and better, user-friendly systems encourage a new wave of e-prescribing adoptions among long-term care providers, despite old challenges

Rehabbing rehab

Rehabbing rehab

With the RCS-1 model focused on eliminating minutes and putting pressure on operators, providers brace for evolutionary change in therapy payment rules

Keely Macmillan, BPCI General Manager, Archway Health

Keely Macmillan, BPCI General Manager, Archway Health

Q: The new federal Bundled Payments for Care Improvement Advanced program precludes long-term care post-acute care providers [LTPACs] from owning the bundles. What should we know?

Ask the Care Expert about ... limiting visits during flu season

Ask the Care Expert about ... limiting visits during flu season

We are trying to meet with our families and staff about visiting our facility when they don't feel well or someone in your family has the flu. Are there any guidelines/info you can pass along?

Hoist sling materials can reduce pressure ulcer risk

Hoist sling materials can reduce pressure ulcer risk

Staff often leave patients who use wheelchairs seated on the hoist slings required to get them there.

Polyfoam dressing curbs PU incidence

An adhesive, polyurethane foam dressing can help prevent the onset of pressure ulcers at the sacrum of elderly patients with hip fracture, an Italian study shows.

Ask the Treatment Expert about ... benchmarking data for a pressure injury program

Ask the Treatment Expert about ... benchmarking data for a pressure injury program

How can I use benchmarking data to improve my pressure injury program?

Ask the Nursing Expert about ... documentation for new survey regulations

Ask the Nursing Expert about ... documentation for new survey regulations

For years I have referred to the State Operations Manual (SOM) Appendix P for guidance on the survey process. But the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services recently announced that Appendix P will be archived and not updated with the new survey process instructions. Where is the most relevant documentation that explains the new survey regulations and process?

Study: RNs better trained to identify high-risk Rx errors

Study: RNs better trained to identify high-risk Rx errors

Registered nurses may be more likely than licensed practical nurses to identify high-risk medication errors in nursing homes, new research suggests.

Training feasible even when cash is tight

Videoconferencing is one of the best ways to make ongoing education for geriatric workers more feasible, a study at a for-profit skilled nursing facility in Chicago shows.

Ask the Payment Expert about ... new and old survey processes

Ask the Payment Expert about ... new and old survey processes

With the new survey process, does that mean other survey types have gone away?

New bundled pay model puts new limits on PAC providers

New bundled pay model puts new limits on PAC providers

Long-term care providers have had their wings clipped under terms of a new voluntary bundled pay model unveiled in mid-January.

Ask the Legal Expert about... taking pictures of staff

Ask the Legal Expert about... taking pictures of staff

Can a client or patient take pictures of staff sleeping or relaxing on the job, or of his personal belongings?

Improved fall monitoring system to debut

A new system for preventing falls is coming this month from a long-time industry veteran.

Managing airborne bugs

With so much attention paid to cleaning and disinfecting surfaces and items like linens, infection control-minded facilities often over- look the source of more than one-third of nosocomial infections — the air. Long-established airborne precautions are rarely used in long-term care facilities, according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Experts advise how to reverse that.

A Day In the Life: Taking a walk on the virtual side

A Day In the Life: Taking a walk on the virtual side

As the leaves were falling outside Ebenezer Minneapolis last fall, a new reality was taking hold inside.

Southminster

Southminster

Since winning bronze from the McKnight's Tech Awards in 2014 for its use of an in-room communication system, Southminster in Charlotte, NC, has embraced increased uses of technology.

IT Update - February 2018

Seniors take center stage at this year's electronics show

Seniors take center stage at this year's electronics show

Using wearable technology to serve an aging population safely and efficiently appeared to be one of the running themes at the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show Jan. 9-12 in Las Vegas.

Things I Think: Getting good reception

Things I Think: Getting good reception

Like Stonehenge or the concept of truth, I'm an ancient relic of another time, so I clearly remember my family's first primitive television.

Collaborative helps prevent catheter-related infections

Collaborative helps prevent catheter-related infections

A national preventive program that promotes evidence-based infection prevention and control practices can curb the risk of infection by streamlining the dissemination of information to nursing home staff.

Nurses modify meds as 'necessary evil'

A study of geriatric care nurses found that many still crush medications, split doses or otherwise modify orally administered medicines — a practice they see as helping patients with swallowing difficulties, dementia or other conditions.

SNF scolded for rescue

A Syracuse, NY, nursing facility was called out by state surveyors after five nurses failed to consult a resident's chart, which contained a do-not-resuscitate order, and saved her life by using CPR and other measures.

Judge relieves Consulate of $350M FCA verdict penalty

Judge relieves Consulate of $350M FCA verdict penalty

A federal judge erased a $347 million False Claims Act verdict against a rehab provider because the judge felt it was unlikely that government would have withheld payments even if it was aware of billing violations.

These 3 won't happen

These 3 won't happen

There's nothing quite like a new calendar to get media types acting like story forecasters. What might be more helpful is a brief list of things that won't be taking place.

LTC makes the Top 10, and figures to stay there

LTC makes the Top 10, and figures to stay there

Recently, we were all inundated with lists of things to look for in 2018, not to mention "best of" 2017 compilations.

Profile: Sharon McDermond

Profile: Sharon McDermond

Sharon McDermond had just started a new job as director of continuing care at Ann's Choice, an Erickson Living community, when she received devastating news.

OSHA fines nursing home for failing to protect staff from violent residents

OSHA fines nursing home for failing to protect staff from violent residents

A federal investigation has found a Colorado nursing home failed to adequately protect staff from residents who grabbed, kicked, bit and punched at them, causing cuts and bruises.

Feds want Alaska to ditch law requiring healthcare providers to prove need before expanding

Staff from the Federal Trade Commission have recommended Alaska repeal its certificate-of-need laws, which require healthcare providers to get state approval before they can expand by opening new locations, adding services or making some kinds of capital investment.

Death leads to edict: Facility must mitigate the risk of falls — on its roof

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has given a skilled nursing facility in Ohio until Friday to remedy roof safety issues after a telecommunications worker fell to his death.

Also in the News for Thursday, Feb. 8

AHCA/NCAL and ACHCA partner to offer new administrator credentialing ... Humana boosts profits by increasing senior-focused physicians to grow Medicare Advantage sales ... Being bilingual may help brain protect itself against Alzheimer's

GOP floats spending bill with therapy cap repeal, other health funding elements

GOP floats spending bill with therapy cap repeal, other health funding elements

A bill that would permanently repeal Medicare Part B therapy caps is alive, but its hopes for passage this week remain dim.

12 years and counting: McKnight's Online Expo returns March 14-15

Set a reminder: McKnight's Spring Online Expo, where participants can earn up to five free continuing education credits, is scheduled for March 14 and 15.

Kindred Healthcare urges shareholders to approve its sale, notes more challenges ahead

Kindred Healthcare this week urged stockholders to back a $4.1 billion sale to Humana and two private equity firms.

Also in the News for Wednesday, Feb. 7

Reports: Trump administration considering lifetime cap on Medicaid coverage ... CNA and mother-in-law charged with stealing $34K from resident under his care ... Hospital location often dictates LTAC placement when skilled nursing would fit better

Withering report on misuse of antipsychotics in nursing homes overlooks industry efforts to improve, advocates say

Withering report on misuse of antipsychotics in nursing homes overlooks industry efforts to improve, advocates say

Those who care for the nation's seniors have been leaders in reducing the inappropriate use of antipsychotic medications in skilled nursing settings, advocates said Monday in response to a scathing Human Rights Watch report on the drugs' misuse.

Lawsuit seeks $50 million from nursing home, police who blinded Alzheimer's resident with pepper-spray

The estate of an Alzheimer's patient who was pepper-sprayed, arrested and hospitalized after a wandering incident is suing his nursing home and the local police department for $50 million.

Memphis rehabilitation center to pay $500K for providing 'worthless' services

Spring Gate Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center in Memphis will pay $500,000 to federal authorities and Tennessee to resolve false claims allegations.

Also in the News for Tuesday, Feb. 6

NY Times draws new attention to role immigrants play in elder care ... Federal watchdog says patchwork of regulation jeopardizing assisted living residents ... Facing lawsuit, VA extends home healthcare for Oregon vet with ALS

Witnesses say some Hollywood Hills victims could have been saved after Hurricane Irma

Witnesses say some Hollywood Hills victims could have been saved after Hurricane Irma

Several medical experts told a Florida judge this week some residents who died of heat stroke at the Hollywood Hills Rehabilitation Center could have been saved, if the nursing home had acted sooner and done more.

EEOC sues nursing home that fired worker with anxiety

A Tennessee nursing home fired a laundry technician rather than accommodate her request for time off to cope with an anxiety disorder, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission charges in a new lawsuit.

CMS proposes Medicare Advantage and Part D updates, including 1.84% payment increase

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has issued Medicare Advantage and Part D updates that include an average payment increase of 1.84% and policy changes that include new supplemental benefits for services that improve health and quality of life.

Also in the News for Monday, Feb. 5

Bipartisan group asks Trump to boost Alzheimer's research funding ... Partnerships between healthcare and community-based organizations reduce readmissions ... Illinois facility fined $25K after fall that triggered cognitive decline

Push for therapy caps' elimination takes on new urgency

Push for therapy caps' elimination takes on new urgency

Several therapy associations Thursday called on Congress to permanently end Medicare Part B caps on physical, speech and occupational therapy by adding language to a funding measure expected next week.

Dialysis provider Fresenius hit with $3.5 million HIPAA fine

Fresenius Medical Care, a nationwide dialysis provider that also runs labs, urgent care centers and post-acute practices, has agreed to pay $3.5 million to settle patient privacy allegations made by the Department of Health and Human Services.

Molina Healthcare sues over loss of New Mexico Medicaid contract

A New Mexico-based healthcare company said this week it is challenging its loss of a state Medicaid contract, alleging unfair competition from a company that helped evaluate bids.

Also in the News for Friday, Feb. 2

Seniors housing and care transaction volume declined in 2017 ... Brooklyn home health company settles Medicaid false claims case for $6.4 million ... New group aims to improve diagnosis of muscle-sapping sarcopenia

Oxycodone dose 20 times too strong kills nursing home resident

Oxycodone dose 20 times too strong kills nursing home resident

A Minnesota nurse accidentally gave a resident a dose of oxycodone 20 times too strong, killing him within a few hours last year, according to a state investigation.

Japanese test could ID Alzheimer's earlier, spur new treatment pathways

A blood test that looks for biomarkers tied to Alzheimer's disease could be the screening tool needed to identify patients earlier and get them into critical trials.

Employees hid residents' drugs, stole them from nursing home

Police in Oklahoma said they busted two nursing home employees for prescription drug theft after stopping one of them in connection with an undercover gun buy and finding pilfered pill bottles in the car he was driving.

Also in the News for Thursday, Feb. 1

HCR ManorCare edging closer to receivership? ... Survey says: Pneumococcal vaccination guidelines need clarification ... New Minnesota health commissioner vows to make elder abuse reform a top priority

CNA 'accidentally' posts partial nude resident pic, nets facility $25K fine

CNA 'accidentally' posts partial nude resident pic, nets facility $25K fine

An Illinois rehabilitation and skilled nursing center has been fined $25,000 after a certified nurse aide admitted to posting a partially nude photo of a resident on social media.

THC-laced munchies land in Indiana nursing home

THC-laced munchies land in Indiana nursing home

Police in LaPorte, IN, are investigating how an elderly nursing home resident got his hands on Oreo cookies tainted with THC, the active ingredient in marijuana.

State task force calls for tougher penalties following abuse case backlog

A system meant to protect Minnesota seniors from abuse and violence in formal care setting settings must be repaired by providing more thorough oversight and tougher penalties, a work group headed by AARP Minnesota announced Monday.

Also in the News for Wednesday, Jan. 31

Residents forced out by Texas floods return to nursing home 5 months later ... First trial of brain implant slows decline in some Alzheimer's patients ... Balance training, on Nintendo Wii or with a professional, decreases falls in diabetics

Nursing home where 12 residents died after Hurricane Irma fighting for its license at hearing

Nursing home where 12 residents died after Hurricane Irma fighting for its license at hearing

The Hollywood, FL, nursing home where a dozen residents died from heat exposure last September is arguing this week for the chance to keep its operating license.

Illinois nursing home cited in strangulation death

A nursing home resident who was strangled by his own nightgown — and whose roommate's calls for help went ignored — will cost the facility $50,000.

Nursing homes pay less for nurses

The nurses who staff nursing homes earn less than their peers in assisted living and continuing care retirement communities, according to a new survey.

Also in the News for Tuesday, Jan. 30

Washington considers payroll deduction to fund long-term care insurance ... Citing high risk of fraud, Medicare extends ban on new home health agencies in six states ... Review shows aerobic exercise can delay Alzheimer's symptoms

Ruling opens door to punitive damages in Pennsylvania malpractice case

Ruling opens door to punitive damages in Pennsylvania malpractice case

A federal judge is allowing punitive damage claims to proceed against a Pennsylvania nursing home where lawyers say a woman fell seven times before being transferred with a dislocated hip.

Critics say Texas-based nursing home operator using bankruptcy to hide from dozens of lawsuits

Preferred Care of Plano filed for bankruptcy in November claiming in court that more than 160 lawsuits led to its financial demise.

Disabled vet suing Veterans Administration over forced move to nursing home

An Oregon veteran with Lou Gehrig's disease who relies on 24-hour care is suing the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs because officials are forcing him to move to an out-of-state nursing home.

Also in the News for Monday, Jan. 29

The anti- antipsychotics message might not be getting through to LTC nurses ... New research solidifies connection between high-sugar diet and cognitive decline ... Aid-in-dying movement pushes into new states

Former business manager gets year in prison for embezzling from fund meant for nursing home outings

Former business manager gets year in prison for embezzling from fund meant for nursing home outings

A former business office employee at a West Virginia nursing home has been sentenced to 13 months in federal prison for embezzling more than $80,000, the U. S. Attorney's Office announced this week.