Resident care would suffer and providers would shoulder a larger burden if Congress acts on the latest recommendations from the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission, advocates for the long-term care sector say.
With its report due by the end of September, the Congressional Long-Term Care Commission is setting its sights on what can be accomplished in an "extraordinarily short time-frame," according to member Judith Stein, executive director of the Center for Medicare Advocacy.
The Department of Health and Human Services' Administration on Aging has proposed a rule to create federal guidelines for long-term care ombudsman programs, to create more uniformity and address questions around ombudsman responsibilities, information disclosure, complaint resolution and conflicts of interest.
Two research organizations are teaming up for a major study to reduce the number of fall-related injuries among seniors. Provider input is requested.
Most nursing home medication errors involve analgesics and sedatives, and these drugs are likely to account for errors regardless of how frequently they are administered, according to recently published research.
Prompted by a hearing of the House Ways & Means Committee, the American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living has reiterated a call for bipartisan action to reform Medicare without further steep reimbursement cuts.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services still cannot say when an official regulation will be established for the Quality Assessment and Performance Initiative, but that's not stopping the agency from moving forward with QAPI initiatives. Providers should feel confident they will be well prepared for QAPI by following the recommendations in recently posted online materials, said CMS project officer Deborah Lyons, RN.
Nursing home operators may soon be able to closely track resident movements using relatively few cameras, according to researchers at Carnegie Mellon University.
The National Association for the Support of Long-Term Care has registered strong support for lawmakers who say the government should put the brakes on a Medicare competitive bidding program for durable medical equipment, prosthetics, orthotics and supplies.
Clostridium difficile poses a serious public health threat and potential treatments should be fast-tracked, the Food and Drug Administration stated in a newly proposed regulation.
Certain widely prescribed medications can trigger or slow the progress of Alzheimer's disease, according to recently published research.
A superior court judge has upheld a $23 million verdict against Emeritus Senior Living and ordered the company to pay an additional $4.3 million in fees and costs to the plaintiffs' lawyers, citing evidence that a former resident received abysmal care.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services should move faster to make changes based on Medicare audits and should have more direct oversight over Medicaid, according to bipartisan legislation introduced Tuesday. "The Preventing and Reducing Improper Medicare and Medicaid Expenditures Act of 2013" proposes a variety of reforms to cut down on waste, fraud and abuse. The PRIME Act was introduced by Sens. Tom Carper (D-DE) and Tom Coburn (R-OK), and Reps. John Carney (D-DE) and Peter Roskam (R-IL).
An improving economy, an aging nation and enhanced funding sources are fueling growth in the senior living sector, according to a leading industry analyst.
Nursing home operators can now access a Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services webpage dedicated to the Quality Assurance and Performance Improvement initiative.
Finding and training qualified nurses remains one of the field's top challenges, the head of a top senior care nurses' group said Monday.
A facility with a history of safety deficiencies must exhaust its administrative options before seeking relief in the courtroom, a district court judge ruled. Moreover, the requested temporary injunction would probably fail to prevent a shutdown even if the operator had followed protocol, the court ruled.
Senate lawmakers recently re-introduced legislation that would upgrade mental health services for seniors in community-based care settings. Provider and consumer groups quickly touted the measure, better known as the Postive Aging Act.
A Food and Drug Administration advisory panel has voted to ease measures that limit patient access to the diabetes pill Avandia. Many panelists, however, said precautions are still needed.
Requiring employees to receive flu shots is not a primary source of them quitting their job, a four-year analysis finds.
Dual eligible managed care plans involved in an upcoming Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services demonstration project will need to submit data in a variety of areas, the agency explained in a draft statement last week.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has removed 14,663 healthcare providers and suppliers from the Medicare program in the last two years, the agency announced Thursday. The figure more than doubles the number of removals from the prior two-year period. The statistics do not break down removals by provider type, but they support long-term care stakeholders who have noted increased enforcement actions.
Nursing home management agreements may run afoul of federal law, but it's hard to argue that having a third-party manager hurts resident care. That was the message from Judge Jon S. Tigar, who recently dismissed a complaint brought by nonprofit resident rights group California Advocates for Nursing Home Care.
Housing providers using government funds should consider the needs of individuals transitioning out of nursing homes and other institutional settings, according to recently released guidance from the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
An advocacy group for independent Medicare auditors has sharply criticized two bills that would put new controls on Recovery Audit Contractors. The Medicare Audit Improvement Act of 2013 was introduced in the House of Representatives in March. A Senate version of the bill was introduced last month. The bill would rein in auditors and improve transparency, which have been provider concerns.
Providers can now access a training video on discharge assessments and how to properly code using dashes in the Minimum Data Set, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced Thursday.
The occupancy rate for nursing homes was steady at 82% between 2000 and 2011, according to the most recent national health report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The number of Medicare-certified SNFs increased between 2000 and 2010.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission has merged two petitions calling for a total ban on adult bed rails and will accept comments on the matter through Aug. 5, according to an entry in Tuesday's Federal Register. The requests cite CPSC data showing 155 bed rail-related fatalities between 2003 and 2012, which occurred in private homes, nursing homes, assisted living facilities and hospices.
A federal jury recently convicted a Philadelphia physician of receiving kickbacks from a hospice provider in exchange for referring Medicare and Medicaid patients. Eugene Goldman, M.D., will be sentenced in September, and faces up to 25 years in prison.
Personal care aide is the fastest growing occupation in the United States, yet training standards for PCAs are lax and inconsistent, according to a new report from the Paraprofessional Healthcare Institute.
Providers will focus on promoting solutions to the "doc fix," bad debt and the observation stay loophole during visits with their Congressional representatives Tuesday. And they shouldn't forget the power of offering solutions to lawmakers who are constantly contending with gridlock, the head of the American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living said at the group's spring "fly-in" gathering.
Long-term care providers should be cautious adopters as Medicaid managed care programs grow in scope and number, according to a new report and toolkit from the American Health Care Association. Advisory documents for providers are attached as Appendix B and Appendix D to the toolkit.
States around the Gulf of Mexico and in the Rust Belt face the highest post-acute care costs in the nation, according to Medicare data released Monday by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
Government officials released good news about the long-term solvency of the Medicare program Friday. The projections were based in large measure on lower projected reimbursements for skilled nursing facilities.
A Texas nursing home recently won a legal battle challenging an Immediate Jeopardy citation for serving undercooked eggs to residents.
Long-term care facilities dealing with an outbreak of Clostridium difficile have a good chance of reducing symptoms of the infection by administering probiotics, according to a recently released comprehensive review of randomized trials.
Q: Some major REITs are trying to unload their skilled nursing homes, the Wall Street Journal recently reported. What's Sabra's position on SNFs?
Government lawyers and opponents of Medicare's "observation stay loophole" recently squared off in federal court, when a judge convened the first hearing in the Bagnall vs. Sebelius case. Richard Bagnall and other seniors denied Medicare coverage for skilled nursing care brought the case in 2011.
Because Medicare's growth rate will not eclipse a certain threshold, the program will be spared from potential Medicare cuts called for in the healthcare reform law, a top government official said.
For the fourth straight year, McKnight's Long-Term Care News was named the Gold Award winner for Best News Coverage in the annual ASHPE Awards. McKnight's also earned Gold for its Daily Update e-newsletter.
Depressed or lonely people are at increased risk of Clostridium difficile infection, according to research in BMC Medicine.
Women over age 65 are being over-diagnosed with and over- treated for urinary tract infections, according to a new study. Rhode Island Hospital researchers examined medical records of women over 65 who were diagnosed with a UTI during an ER visit.
Skilled nursing providers fell short of reaching a 15% reduction in off-label antipsychotic use by the end of 2012, the American Health Care Association formally announced last month. However, AHCA did renew the goal for 2013, and members also performed better in the reductions than nursing providers overall.
Here's the good news for providers dealing with Recovery Audit Program contractors: The federal government will make fewer additional document requests, starting this month. Now the not-so-good news: The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services will not slow down other components of the auditing program.
By negotiating now, a nursing home can have a strong voice in an Accountable Care Organization. Otherwise, ACOs will come to nursing homes in two or three years with a "take it or leave it" proposition, according to John Durso, a partner at the law firm of Ungaretti & Harris LLP and a McKnight's Expert columnist.
The nation's skilled nursing facilities can expect an aggregate $500 million boost in Medicare payments next year — $320 million less than the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services proposed.
Skilled nursing facility administrators need to do a complete review of antibiotics to better combat multi-drug resistant organisms, an infection control expert said in May.
EHR problems are "worse than we know," a new report from the ECRI Institute contends. Transitioning from paper to electronic health records is creating problems, and "we're only now beginning to understand the extent," says ECRI's Karen Zimmer. "Mistakes are bound to go unnoticed for months or even years." The ECRI report documented 171 health IT problems that caused or could have caused patient harm.
For a man who describes himself as a "shy nerd" drawn to data and analytics, Christopher E. Laxton has mastered the role of leader.
Cerner's CareTracker has allowed Presbyterian Manors of Mid-America facilities to provide better resident-centered care, according to director of clinical information Jeanne Gerstenkorn, RN, BSN, MSN.
If you hear jazz while you're at the Newark Extended Care Facility, it's probably coming from the room shared by John Griggs and John Lott.
Social media, email and other forms of communication technology offer senior citizens a virtual world of information, entertainment and correspondence with friends and family. Yet these can be strange, unfamiliar formats for many older people.
Extendicare Health Services recently completed a $37.7 million portfolio refinancing of six SNFs in the Midwest. Ziegler Financing Corporation closed the transaction.
Providers keep up the good fight as they close care gaps on multi-drug resistant organism-infected wounds by seeking out the right treatment and product.
Large real estate investment trusts are looking to get out of the skilled nursing sector, according to the Wall Street Journal.
A turbulent spring at AdCare Health Systems Inc. included ongoing fallout from accounting errors that led to the appointment of a new chief financial officer, as well as a potential change in majority control of the company.
Pondering difficult end-of-life situations made me think, naturally, of Chevy Chase.
How can the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services correlate quality of care and reimbursement? You always need to remember that Medicare is an insurance plan. As such, Medicare has rules, just like your insurance company. Two of those rules are that we must provide care according to an individualized care plan for each resident and that we provide appropriate discharge planning.
If you hang around long enough, you learn there are only two things long-term care providers fear after Republicans and Democrats. That would be hospitals and doctors.
Our office has been one joyful place lately. Colleagues are excited, and the collective bliss has had nothing to do with an early start on happy hour.
Large-scale bundling of government reimbursements is needed, say researchers who have studied the topic. Post-acute care was the fastest growing major healthcare spending category for government programs between 1994-2009, according to Harvard University researcher Amitabh Chandra, Ph.D., and co-authors.
Hospitals are penalized for high readmission rates, but you know that. Today's hospital penalty is determined by looking at Medicare beneficiaries leaving an acute care stay with a hospital DRG of heart failure, heart attack or pneumonia. But you know that, too.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has increased its scrutiny of Medicare Part A filings recently and as a result, has reclaimed more funds than ever from providers, a long-term care compliance expert noted at a recent McKnight's Super Tuesday webcast.
After seven years, Greenfields of Geneva becomes a reality for Illinois seniors, featuring a luxurious setting overlooking a golf course.
I feel that much is missed when hands-on assessments are missed at the beginning of each nurse's shift. What do you think? I strongly feel that patient assessments for baseline information at the beginning of each shift cannot be safely omitted.
Cognitive impairment can result when older adults are taking or given medications with strong anticholinergic effects, a new study has found.
There's good news for long-term care facilities trying to hire staff with more education: More than 1 in 10 members of Generation X are taking classes to continue their formal education, according to a new study.
The proliferation of managed care is introducing a host of new challenges for long-term care providers. Pressures have never been greater to increase quality and lower costs. Successful strategies entail excellent drug utilization and avoiding undue waste. Experts advise here how to do it best.
» Status Solutions has expanded the alerting components of its Situational Awareness and Response Assistant (SARA) to include mobile dashboards, the company announced. SARA's eMessenger can deliver detailed alerts to virtually any screen, according to Status Solutions President Mike MacLeod. New features also include two-way talk, persistent or passive user interface, and mobile dashboards that can receive color-coded text.
Lilly is upping its bet on Alzheimer's. The Indianapolis-based drug maker announced it has licensed experimental tracers that can hone in on and mark tau tangles that are believed to be a cause of the brain-degenerating disease.
How do you deal with the age-old question "Is it a pressure ulcer or not?" Many healthcare professionals are frequently faced with the dilemma of how to document a reddened area on the buttocks, peri-rectal area or perineal area. Is this a pressure ulcer or is the underlying etiology totally different?
Two years ago, Silverchair Learning Systems, Upstairs Solutions and Care2Learn operated as three separate e-learning firms. But they are all now part of the same company, thanks to another acquisition that dramatically consolidates the sector.
Pure gold nanoparticles found in everyday items such as personal care products can slow wound healing and accelerate skin aging, according to new research results.
A resident smuggles a gun into our facility and shoots a worker who, she says, has been treating her harshly or disrespectfully. What's our recourse?
Eight genes that have been overlooked in the past appear to play a role in the healing of pressure ulcers and other wounds, according to biologists from the University of California at San Diego.
A $90 million penalty will stand in a case involving resident neglect and understaffing at an HCR ManorCare facility, a judge in West Virginia ruled.
What is the Morse Fall Scale, and how it is different from others? Nursing fall-risk assessment, diagnoses and interventions are based on use of the Morse Fall Scale. The MFS requires systematic, reliable assessment of a patient's fall risk factors upon admission and upon falls, change in status and discharge or transfer to a new setting.
Nursing homes that dispute a deficiency citation without Immediate Jeopardy and want it stricken from the public record should consider withholding a plan of correction, a recent court ruling suggests.
While exercise has been shown to boost mental health among fit seniors and younger adults, a study out of the United Kingdom indicates mild exercise is not effective in reducing depression among nursing home residents.
A bill requiring nursing home workers to report elder abuse cleared both houses of the legislature and was sent to Gov. John Hickenlooper (D). SB 111 was developed by an elder abuse task force convened in 2012 and sponsored by Sen. Evie Hudak (D-Westminster). Colorado is currently one of three states that do not have an elder abuse reporting requirement for senior care professionals.
New strains of drug-resistant pathogens are targets of more scrutiny among infection control professionals employed in long-term care environments.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has updated survey guidelines regarding nursing homes' use of antipsychotic medications for dementia care. The 59-page interim guidance revises Appendix P and Appendix PP of the State Operations Manual.
With income margins decimated by Medicare and Medicaid cuts and access to capital strangled, skilled nursing facilities will be unable to care for the nation's booming senior population unless changes are made, according to a new report from the Alliance for Quality Nursing Home Care.
A long-criticized project to improve the healthcare delivery and payment system for people eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid has again been under fire in recent days, prompting government officials to defend the slow pace of implementation.
To combat fraud and abuse, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services plans to make provider-specific Minimum Data Set information available to health plans, according to a notice in Wednesday's Federal Register. The MDS is one of 23 records systems that would be affected by the new "routine use" defined by CMS.
Providers in areas with low average Medicare costs are not delivering care more efficiently than providers in high-cost areas, according to a new study. Prior studies said Medicare spending could be reduced by nearly a third if all providers adopted the practices of those in low-cost areas.
Stakeholders in Medicaid managed care programs feel prepared for the enrollment surge that will follow the full implementation of the Affordable Care Act, but there are ongoing concerns related to long-term care and provider capacity, according to a new report.
While many details of the merger of the American Health Care Association and the Alliance for Quality Nursing Home Care are still being sorted out, one thing is clear: The agreement of nursing home giant HCR ManorCare and regional provider Medical Facilities of America (MFA) to join AHCA sealed the deal.
A nursing and rehabilitation center violated federal law by asking for workers' family medical history, a government lawsuit alleges. The suit is one of the first of its kind.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services specified four provider responsibilities for expedited review of Medicare service terminations in a recent claims manual update.
The nation's two strongest long-term care provider lobbying groups are uniting to form a singular, more powerful voice, the pair announced Tuesday morning.
Comments made during a therapy provider's public conference call in 2006 aroused the suspicion of a listener, who went on to file a whistleblower lawsuit. This was disclosed in a recent court filing in the case, which pits the whistleblower and the U.S. government against RehabCare, the provider that hosted the 2006 call.
A new Senate bill addresses provider concerns over the Medicare audit process, including the role of Recovery Audit Contractors. The House is also considering a version of the "Medicare Audit Improvement Act of 2013," which lawmakers originally introduced in October 2012 and reintroduced in March.
A "breakthrough" Alzheimer's drug now looks much less promising after follow-up experiments failed to reproduce successful results, scientists recently announced. Non-standard use of the drug should be halted, they say.
Senate lawmakers are seeking to strengthen and expand the long-term care ombudsman program and boost the eldercare workforce through a bill to reauthorize the Older Americans Act of 1965. The measure was unveiled Thursday by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), and is co-sponsored by 14 Democratic senators.
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.