Feds join False Claims Act suit against hospital chain

Feds join False Claims Act suit against hospital chain

The U.S. Justice Department joined a False Claims Act lawsuit on Thursday that alleges a California-based hospital chain submitted more than $50 million in false Medicare claims and improperly admitted beneficiaries

Report: Chronic diseases to drive growth in skilled nursing market

An increasing number of people with chronic diseases is expected to create a major boost to the global skilled nursing care market, according to a recent report.

Nursing home CNA arrested on certificate forgery charges

A certified nursing assistant was arrested this week for allegedly forging a certification that would allow her to work in New Jersey long-term care facilities.

Also in the News for Friday, May 27

Whistleblower case against Medtronic rolls on ... Massachusetts tops list of states with healthiest seniors, Mississippi ranks as worst ... Research advises against urine tests to measure dehydration in seniors

CMS wants 12% decrease in hospital readmissions by 2019

CMS wants 12% decrease in hospital readmissions by 2019

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is seeking to cut the number of 30-day hospital readmissions by 12% over the next three years under a hospital improvement plan announced Wednesday.

OIG: Most states not screening Medicaid providers properly

A majority of states have failed to implement risk-based screenings for Medicaid providers, according to a recent report by the Office of Inspector General.

AHCA hits goal for 30% antipsychotic reduction

The American Health Care Association has met its goal of reducing antipsychotic use in its member facilities by 30% — and it's done it more than six months ahead of schedule, the group announced Wednesday.

Also in the News for Thursday, May 26

AG investigating alleged mistreatment at veterans nursing home ... SNF resident wins $2.3 million in fall lawsuit ... Body's response to infections may contribute to Alzheimer's

Lawmakers, federal reports target 'high-error' Medicare program

Lawmakers, federal reports target 'high-error' Medicare program

Medicare's high rate of improper payments and problems weeding out ineligible providers came under fire Tuesday via federal reports and a House committee.

AHCA leader: Providers warned of potential lame-duck session

In an atypical twist on the normal, the annual American Health Care Association's congressional briefing on Tuesday did not feature an array of dire, sky-is-falling speakers. But it was punctuated with concern for an upcoming lame-duck session of Congress after the November election.

Court: SNF won't have to bargain after threat-filled union election

A skilled nursing facility won the right to refuse bargaining with its union after a court ruled employees made credible threats of violence during the 2013 union election.

Also in the News for Wednesday, May 25

Drunk man arrested for brandishing gun in CT nursing home ... CMS data may open nursing homes up to whistleblower suits ... Exec turnover in nonprofit organizations leaves "significant challenges" in its wake

CMS nursing home 'action plan' targets enforcement, consumer awareness

CMS nursing home 'action plan' targets enforcement, consumer awareness

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services FY 2016 to 2017 Nursing Home Action Plan laid out five strategies that will "guide" the CMS' Division of Nursing Homes in improving safety and quality throughout the nursing home industry. The plan was released Friday.

AHCA refutes recommendations that most stroke patients should skip nursing homes

Long-term care's largest provider group is firing back over a "frustrating" recommendation that the majority of stroke patients should be treated in an inpatient rehabilitation facility rather than a nursing home.

Lawsuit claims HCP, ManorCare misled investors

HCP ignored billing fraud and misled investors about the performance of ManorCare, its skilled nursing portfolio, according to a class action lawsuit filed against the real estate giant earlier this month.

Also in the News for Tuesday, May 24

End-of-life discussions growing in wake of Medicare coverage ... Flu vaccine may lower dementia risk, hospitalizations in people with heart failure ... Arkansas governor signs Medicaid savings plan for nursing homes

More than one-third of Americans think Medicare will cover their LTC needs

More than one-third of Americans think Medicare will cover their LTC needs

Many Americans anticipate Medicare to cover their long-term care needs, including extended nursing home stays, according to the results of a survey released Thursday.

House committee approves resolution to nullify union 'persuader' rule

A resolution to withdraw the Department of Labor's controversial anti-union "persuader" rule was approved by a House committee last week, despite its slim chances of making it to President Barack Obama's desk.

'Intensive' blood pressure treatment benefits seniors, won't increase fall risk

Increasing the level of blood pressure therapy for older adults can reduce their risk of heart disease without raising fall risk, a new study has found.

Also in the News for Monday, May 23

CA court clears up liability issue with state's elder abuse law ... Man arrested after woman taken from nursing home found safe ... More than 200 hospitals file lawsuit protesting two-midnight rule rate cut

More individuals could be blocked from Medicare, Medicaid under new bill

Individuals affiliated with fraudulent healthcare companies would face tougher government scrutiny under a bill introduced in the House on Tuesday.

Legislation takes aim at socioeconomic factors behind hospital readmissions

Medicare's hospital readmission penalties could see changes based on socioeconomic factors under a bill proposed in the House on Wednesday.

Report: SNFs' failure to accept transgender residents a 'national problem'

Skilled nursing facilities' reluctance to admit transgender residents is poised to become a "national problem," according to a report published Thursday.

Also in the News for Friday, May 20

Arrest warrant issued in search for woman taken from nursing home ... Medical equipment suppliers contest CMS data on bidding program ... Research finds increased heart attack risk among antipsychotic users

Providers worried with DOL making 4.2 million more workers eligible for overtime pay

Providers worried with DOL making 4.2 million more workers eligible for overtime pay

The first updates to overtime pay regulations in 12 years will more than double the current salary threshold for overtime exemptions, the Department of Labor announced on Wednesday.

Nearly 9,000 SNFs expected to train on new healthcare non-discrimination rule, feds say

An estimated 8,600 skilled nursing facilities will participate in training for a non-discrimination rule finalized by the Department of Health and Human Services last week.

CNA faces up to 4-year sentence for spending $5k on resident's credit cards

A former certified nursing assistant at a New York nursing home pleaded guilty on Tuesday to stealing a resident's credit cards and going on a $5,000 shopping spree.

Also in the News for Thursday, May 19

LA bill to bring nursing homes into managed care dies in committee ... Seniors with 'packed' schedules less likely to have memory issues ... Doctors', families' expectations differ during end-of-life discussions

Jury awards family $5.5 million in 'record-setting' wrongful death suit

Jury awards family $5.5 million in 'record-setting' wrongful death suit

The family of a 77-year-old resident who died while living at a Colorado nursing home received $5.5 million in damages on Friday, in what was believed to be a record-setting verdict.

Depression treatments may increase risk of falls in SNF residents, study shows

Nursing home residents receiving psychosocial treatments for depression have almost six times the risk of falling compared to residents not receiving treatment, according to a new study.

EEOC issues final rules on workplace wellness programs

Employers may offer employees and their spouses incentives for joining workplace wellness programs up to 30% of their individual "self-only" health coverage, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said in final rules released Monday.

Also in the News for Wednesday, May 18

Oklahoma mulls Medicaid expansion in surprising twist ... ACHCA releases award winner list ... Tai chi may work better at reducing knee pain than physical therapy

Few ACOs interested in 3-day stay waiver for skilled nursing, experts say

Few ACOs interested in 3-day stay waiver for skilled nursing, experts say

Few accountable care organizations are lining up to waive the three-day stay requirement for skilled nursing facilities, causing some healthcare experts to wonder if the waiver is still relevant.

CMS temporarily stops two-midnight audits

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has temporarily halted audits of short-term hospitals admissions under the controversial two-midnight rule.

LPN arrested for falsifying test records about resident's fall death

A former licensed practical nurse at a Louisiana veterans nursing home was arrested Monday on charges that she falsified records about a resident's death following a fall.

Also in the News for Tuesday, May 17

Billing investigations, Medicare Advantage prodding REITs' skilled nursing spinoffs ... Supreme Court returns contraceptive mandate case to lower courts for 'compromise' ... SNF resident falls out of second-story window, dies

OIG slams insufficient Medicare documentation, especially from nursing homes

OIG slams insufficient Medicare documentation, especially from nursing homes

The reported error rate for Medicare Fee-for-Service in fiscal year 2015 was 12.09%, well above the compliance threshold of 10%, a new government report finds.

MACRA regs challenging for elderly patients, advocates say

Regulations under the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act could create more challenges for long-term or terminally ill patients, eldercare advocates said last week.

Resident charged with arson in nursing home fire

An independent living resident became angry at staff and set the skilled nursing wing of her facility on fire, according to Illinois State Police.

Also in the News for Monday, May 16

Comprehensive Opioid Abuse Reduction Act passes House ... Breast cancer drug found in study to reduce seizures ... Mayor's aide allegedly knew about nursing home deal

Group urges Congress to dump 'unfair' union persuader rule

Group urges Congress to dump 'unfair' union persuader rule

A recently passed labor rule aimed at making employers' disclose their use of anti-union "persuaders" is "unfair and unlawful" and should be nullified, a leading labor coalition said this week.

Transcription error leads to resident death, citation for MN nursing home

A transcription error at a Minnesota Golden Living facility led to a resident going without a blood-thinning medication for nine days and subsequently dying from a stroke, a state report finds.

Fire, explosion that destroyed Texas SNF ruled an arson

A 2013 fire at a Texas fertilizer plant that nearly destroyed a nearby skilled nursing facility and killed a resident has been ruled an arson, federal officials announced Wednesday.

Also in the News for Friday, May 13

CCRC will pay $132,500 settlement for pregnancy discrimination case ... Stroke hospitalization rates for elderly see steep decline ... Judge halts shutdown of facility operated by troubled TN-based provider

OSHA releases new workplace injury and illness reporting requirement

OSHA releases new workplace injury and illness reporting requirement

Skilled nursing facilities will be required to electronically submit their workplace injury and illness data under a new final rule released Wednesday by the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Former SNF office manager sentenced to 5 years in prison for stealing from resident accounts

The former office manager and bookkeeper of a Missouri skilled nursing facility was sentenced to five years in prison on Tuesday for forging checks and stealing nearly $2,000 from resident trust funds.

Court shuts down provider's counterclaim against FCA whistleblower

A federal court dismissed a healthcare company's counterclaim against a former employee and False Claims Act whistleblower on Monday. The judge ruled that the whistleblower's disclosure of HIPAA-protected information was justified in filing his claim.

Also in the News for Thursday, May 12

Yoga, meditation can help decrease dementia-related problems ... GAO: Improvements needed for veterans' Medicare Advantage payments ... Medical data called more valuable to hackers than credit cards

GAO: 'Fragmented' data scuttles Medicaid managed care provider screenings

GAO: 'Fragmented' data scuttles Medicaid managed care provider screenings

Fragmented databases are preventing states and Medicaid managed care plans from properly screening eligible providers, according to a new report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office. The result is inconsistencies that allow providers ineligible to receive payments in some states receiving it in others, the report says.

Cost of private nursing home rooms grows to $7,700 per month, Genworth survey shows

The costs of semi-private and private nursing home rooms continued to climb from last year, insurance provider Genworth Financial said in a report released Tuesday, with a private room costing almost $8,000 a month.

Obscure rule could double fraud penalties for healthcare providers, experts say

A rule recently released by a little-known federal agency could set the stage for fraud penalties against healthcare providers to rise dramatically, according to some law experts.

Also in the News for Wednesday, May 11

Telemedicine use up among rural Medicare beneficiaries, study finds ... NY lawmaker returns campaign funds received from nursing home provider ... Electronic monitoring boosts healthcare worker hand washing compliance

Experts warn of skilled nursing market changes, researchers offer strategies to avert havoc

Preliminary results of a survey of 36 large skilled nursing company CEOs paint a challenging picture for operators, who will either rise profitably from already strong positions, improve with proper initiatives or fail resoundingly, researchers said Monday.

HCP to spin off troubled HCR ManorCare

HCP to spin off troubled HCR ManorCare

HCP Inc. will spin off HCR ManorCare, its skilled nursing and assisted living portfolio, into an independent real estate investment trust, the company announced Monday.

CMS update lets auditors request more documents

Recovery audit contractors would be allowed to request additional documents from providers with high Medicare claim denial rates, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services said last week.

Shirtless man in SNF billboard campaign draws eyeballs

In today's social media-minded culture, any advertiser worth their salt knows going viral equals gold. One Connecticut provider achieved that landmark thanks to a sexy billboard for its new all-female skilled nursing wing.

Also in the News for Tuesday, May 10

CMS' efforts to recover improper Medicare Advantage payments need improvement, GAO says ... Medicare Part D increases medication adherence, lowers blood pressure risk ... HHS announces contest to overhaul medical billing system

Nursing homes accused of 'dumping' less lucrative residents

Nursing homes accused of 'dumping' less lucrative residents

Complaints of nursing homes discharging residents who require higher levels of care in favor of less labor-intensive, more lucrative patients are on the rise, according to a new report published Friday by the Associated Press.

Aide intending to sue SNF hit with abuse charges

A former aide at a Pennsylvania nursing home charged with abuse last week had begun filing a defamation suit against the facility and its parent company in March, according to her attorney.

Doctors convicted in $8.8 million Medicare hospice fraud

Two California doctors were convicted Thursday of lying about patients' terminally ill status in order to refer them to a hospice facility and submit roughly $8.8 million in fraudulent Medicare and Medi-Cal claims.

Also in the News for Monday, May 9

TN law allows medication aides to administer controlled substances ... CMS publishes final managed Medicaid overhaul rule ... Healthcare workers wash hands less than half of the times they should, CDC says

Hospice use does not raise care costs in long-stay SNF residents' final months of life, study finds

Hospice use does not raise care costs in long-stay SNF residents' final months of life, study finds

The use of hospice services doesn't increase care costs for long-stay nursing home residents in their last six months of life, according to a new analysis.

Michigan House approves plan to send frail prisoners to nursing homes

More than 100 frail prisoners would be released into Michigan's nursing homes annually under a bill passed by the state House on Wednesday.

Elderly women 23% more likely than men to be overprescribed drugs

Women over age 65 have a higher chance of being overprescribed medication than elderly men, according to a new study published Thursday.

Also in the News for Friday, May 6

Report: Healthcare quality on the rise, but care coordination, patient safety need improvements ... CMS mulls changes to controversial Part B drug rule ... Long-term warfarin use may up dementia risk in people with atrial fibrillation

Most stroke patients should go to inpatient rehab facilities, not nursing homes, heart/stroke association says

Most stroke patients should go to inpatient rehab facilities, not nursing homes, heart/stroke association says

The majority of people recuperating from a stroke should be treated in an inpatient rehabilitation facility, rather than a nursing home, according to new recommendations from the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association.

One-third of antibiotic prescriptions unnecessary, CDC says

Close to 30% of antibiotics prescribed in the United States aren't necessary, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Tuesday.

Adult day center settles Medicaid false claims allegations for more than $385,000

A Virginia adult day center has agreed to pay $385,917 to settle allegations that it billed the state's Medicaid program for transportation services that were never provided, the U.S. Department of Justice announced Tuesday.

Also in the News for Thursday, May 5

Medical errors rank as third-leading cause of U.S. deaths ... Colleagues' opinions, belief in efficacy influence healthcare workers' flu vaccine decisions ... Surgeon General calls for more physician training for opioid prescriptions

Hospital admits pose a higher ulcer risk

Nursing home residents who are admitted from hospitals have a higher risk of developing pressure ulcers than those who were transferred from the community, a new study confirms.

Nurses aren't documenting all ulcer interventions: study

Nurses aren't documenting all ulcer interventions: study

Documentation of pressure ulcer prevention measures by nursing home staff may be lacking, and not match the actual preventative measures taken, a new study suggests.

Ask the Treatment Expert about ... surgical incisions

Ask the Treatment Expert about ... surgical incisions

I recently admitted my first resident with a surgical incision with staples intact in a hip wound. Do you have tips on how to care for this wound?

New SaaS management system launched

A new platform seeks to link home care providers with senior living partners.

Braden pressure ulcer tool added to wound care system

Braden pressure ulcer tool added to wound care system

WoundRounds now allows wound care clinicians to use a built-in tool for scheduling Braden Risk Assessments as part of efforts to prevent pressure ulcers.

Still a perfect couple

Still a perfect couple

Hard as it seems to believe after 17 years of vocationally wedded bliss, there was a time when long-term care and I weren't together. It's sobering to consider.

I couldn't live without ... CareClips TV

I couldn't live without ... CareClips TV

As administrator George "Andy" Barker, MHA, trains new staff at Edgewood Summit in Charleston, WV, he has a secret weapon: CareClips TV.

Twitter can help smokers kick the habit, make more friends

Twitter can help smokers kick the habit, make more friends

Kicking a smoking habit can feel like a lonely endeavor, but researchers in California have found Twitter's social media platform can help build a community of successful quitters.

State News for May 2016

State News for May 2016

KANSAS — Kansas nursing home operators will receive help paying for residents whose Medicaid applications or renewals are stuck in processing limbo, state agencies announced in late March.

Ask the Care Expert about ... nutrition for residents with wounds

We are having an increase in the number of residents coming from the hospital with weight loss and wounds. We are doing our best to heal the wounds, but is there a calorie count recommended for residents with wounds?

Computers, games might help cognition

Computer use and social activities like game-playing and crafting could help older adults reduce their risk of developing memory and thinking problems, according to a new Mayo Clinic study.

Hospital patients arriving at SNFs with dangerous germs

Hospital patients arriving at SNFs with dangerous germs

Nearly a quarter of hospital patients entered post-acute care facilities with a multi-drug-resistant organism on their hands, finds a study in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Profile: Ruta Kadonoff

Profile: Ruta Kadonoff

Studying Lithuanian was a large part of Ruta Kadonoff's Saturday mornings while growing up in Connecticut. One of three girls born to native Lithuanians, her parents left the country during World War II and immigrated to the U.S. from London in 1960.

'Illusion' can raise costs

In an effort to improve the use of medical treatments, a University of Pennsylvania Medical School professor is calling for more research to help doctors recognize and manage what some call a "therapeutic illusion."

Analysis: PAC crucial to joint replacement bundled success

Analysis: PAC crucial to joint replacement bundled success

Hospitals participating in a new Medicare bundled payment program for hip and knee replacements should partner with high quality post-acute care providers like nursing homes within the first 90 days following surgeries, a recent analysis by Avalere Health finds.

Ask the Payment Expert about ... the new MDS Section

Ask the Payment Expert about ... the new MDS Section

Can you explain the new MDS Section and assessment?

60 Seconds with ... Kristin Walter

60 Seconds with ... Kristin Walter

How are Recovery Audit Contractors misunderstood? With Kristin Walter, spokeswoman for Council for Medicare Integrity.

DOL finalizes anti-union 'persuader' rule

Employers will be required to report any anti-union and collective bargaining activity to employees under the final version of a "persuader" rule issued by the Department of Labor in late March.

Operators need to make case on managed care, CEO says

Operators need to make case on managed care, CEO says

Providers should be prepared for states with managed care programs to hit their Medicare Part A mix, a long-term care expert warned in April.

Broader HIPAA audits underway

New HIPAA audits are focusing on healthcare providers as well as their business associates, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Civil Rights.

New DOJ task forces targeting worst SNFs

New DOJ task forces targeting worst SNFs

The Department of Justice is forming 10 regional task forces to expose and improve nursing homes that are found to provide "grossly substandard" care.

Dementia spur: lost body heat

Dementia spur: lost body heat

A drop in body temperature may aggravate Alzheimer's symptoms, according to a new study.

FDA warning about opioids

Labels for certain opioid pain medications will soon be required to carry a warning about the drugs' risks of misuse and death, the Food and Drug Administration said in March.

CMS: Provider results rising

A new release of data by federal regulators shows nursing home operators are improving.

Providers get new pay model for readmits

Providers get new pay model for readmits

Skilled nursing facilities moving into a new Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services model will need to reduce avoidable hospitalizations through intensive staff training and new treatments.

Groups rating SNFs differently

Groups rating SNFs differently

The government's ratings for nursing homes diverge wildly from consumers' personal ratings, new study results show.

Critical observations

Answer the following question: Have you spent more time today thinking about your legacy, or things that need to get done before quitting time? Be honest.

Ask the Nursing Expert about ... discharge planning

Ask the Nursing Expert about ... discharge planning

I've been hired at a long-term care facility as a care manager, and my entire background has been in case management from the acute care side. What in particular should I know about discharge planning?

Hospice nurses told to overdose patients?

The owner of a Texas hospice company is being investigated for allegedly encouraging employees to overdose patients and hasten their death to avoid the federal reimbursement cap for hospice stays.

New nursing services group promises a 'proactive' voice

New nursing services group promises a 'proactive' voice

A new, post-acute care nursing organization looks to bring a "fresh and proactive" approach to the field, its leader says.

Ask the Legal Expert about ... transgender employees

Ask the Legal Expert about ... transgender employees

There's a CNA in our building who is transitioning from male to female. We suspect this will make some residents uncomfortable. What should we do?

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