CMS final nursing home rule bans pre-dispute arbitration agreements

CMS final nursing home rule bans pre-dispute arbitration agreements

Binding pre-dispute arbitration agreements have been prohibited under the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' final rule for long-term care facilities that was released late Wednesday. Long-term care lobbyists have opposed such a move.

Post-acute unified pay could come 'sooner than anticipated,' MedPAC officials say

A unified Medicare payment system for post-acute care could be implemented sooner than currently expected, MedPAC officials said in a blog post published Wednesday.

Tackle Medicare fraud with data, not 'pay-and-chase,' lawmakers urge CMS

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' reported that methods of detecting and preventing healthcare fraud are "not reassuring" as the threat of healthcare fraud continues to grow, House lawmakers said during a hearing Wednesday .

Also in the News for Thursday, September 29

Long-term care provider settles False Claims Act suit for $32.7 million ... Researchers testing whether stronger flu shots can prevent heart attack, stroke ... Teens charged with stealing nursing home therapy goat

White House finishes review of nursing home final rule

White House finishes review of nursing home final rule

The massive final rule for nursing homes — including possible new regulations on arbitration — is on its way.

Report: HHS needs to improve security, oversight of electronic health information

The Department of Health and Human Services' current guidelines for securing health information aren't comprehensive enough to help providers adequately protect themselves from the growing threat of cyber-based threats, according to a new federal report.

Nursing homes 'unlikely' to completely eliminate MRSA, study finds

While long-term care providers can strive to reduce the prevalence of MRSA in their facilities, achieving complete elimination of the infections is unlikely, a new study suggests.

Also in the News for Wednesday, September 28

Jury awards family $900,000 in negligence lawsuit against SNF ... Federal workers push for delay in LTC insurance price hike ... EEOC files lawsuit against hospital that fired workers for not getting flu shots

Feds release guide for providers on negotiating EHR contracts

Feds release guide for providers on negotiating EHR contracts

Healthcare providers in the market for an electronic health record system can prepare and plan for their purchase with a new guide released Monday by federal health officials.

Worker outcry: Governor plans to divert new SNF funding to managers' salaries, not all baseline workers

A recent $35.5 million pledge from Massachusetts lawmakers to boost wages in nursing homes may not apply to all nursing home workers, a possibility that's raising concerns among the officials and advocates who pushed for the additional funds.

ACO bill's telehealth, skilled nursing provisions a 'positive step,' groups say

A bill aimed at improving Medicare's accountable care organizations shows promise for its inclusion of pro-telehealth provisions, according to two healthcare groups.

Also in the News for Tuesday, September 27

Nursing home worker accused of killing residents sent "morbid texts" about the deaths ... Former HHS, CMS advisers among Clinton, Trump's reported healthcare policy teams ... Diet high in zinc may raise C. diff risk

Judge shuts down whistleblower hospice suit due to unspecific claims

Judge shuts down whistleblower hospice suit due to unspecific claims

A former employee's allegations of fraud against a Florida-based hospice chain lack the specificity to prove the company was in violation of the False Claims Act, a federal court ruled Thursday.

One in 9 physicians think ACOs will help quality and costs, survey finds

Few physicians believe Accountable Care Organizations will live up to their expectations of increasing quality and cutting costs, a survey published Wednesday shows.

OIG report addresses concerns over Medicare billing for ventilators

The growing number of Medicare claims submitted for ventilators is likely being driven by three suppliers, the Department of Health and Humans Services' Office of Inspector General said in a data brief released Thursday.

Also in the News for Monday, September 26

Malnutrition related to chronic diseases costs $15.5B yearly, hits elderly the hardest ... ACA sparked Medicare Advantage "resurgence," officials say ... CDC releases cybersecurity guide for healthcare organizations

Life Care Centers, feds settle False Claims Act statistical sampling case

Life Care Centers, feds settle False Claims Act statistical sampling case

A high-profile court case involving one of the nation's largest skilled nursing providers and the controversial topic of statistical sampling will end in a settlement, according to a brief filed Thursday.

Judge dismisses federal lawsuit accusing Florida of 'warehousing' kids in SNFs

A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit against Florida health officials alleging that they unnecessarily housed hundreds of disabled children in nursing homes across the state.

Falls the leading cause of injury, death for seniors, CDC says

Older adults suffered an estimated 29 million falls in 2014 alone, making it the top cause of injury and death for the age group, according to new data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Also in the News for Friday, September 23

State Supreme Court shuts down nursing home's arbitration request ... Attorney general urges NY governor to veto nursing home prescription bill ... States, U.S. Chamber of Commerce file lawsuits challenging overtime rule

TODAY'S THE DAY: McKnight's Fall Online Expo is back

TODAY'S THE DAY: McKnight's Fall Online Expo is back

The fourth annual McKnight's Fall Online Expo takes place today, with educational sessions kicking off at 11 a.m. ET.

Feds sue nursing home, chief executive for diverting millions in retirement funds

The U.S. Department of Labor is suing a Connecticut nursing home and its chief financial officer, alleging that they funneled $4 million from the facility's retirement plan to themselves and a religious organization.

SNF owner billed Medicaid $2 million for unallowable, personal expenses, audit finds

A Tennessee nursing home owner allegedly billed Medicaid more than $2 million in non-allowable expenses, including hundreds of thousands of dollars on personal shopping trips and entertainment.

Also in the News for Thursday, Sept. 22

ACLU sends warnings to Nebraska nursing homes that refused to treat man with HIV ... Three CNAs fired for filming "inappropriate" dance video in resident's room ... Former SNF aide faces possible 20-year prison sentence for hitting resident

ONE DAY TO GO: Payment, Quality, Tech info — and free CE credits — at tomorrow's Fall Online Expo

ONE DAY TO GO: Payment, Quality, Tech info — and free CE credits — at tomorrow's Fall Online Expo

Providers will get a chance to learn from top long-term care experts and earn up to three free continuing education credits tomorrow at McKnight's Fall Online Expo — all without leaving their home or office.

Kindred hit with record-setting $3 million penalty for failing to comply with OIG agreement

The nation's largest post-acute care provider has paid more than $3 million in penalties after failing to comply with a federal corporate integrity agreement, authorities announced Tuesday.

Court: HHS can't delay Medicare appeals backlog case

The Department of Health and Human Services won't be able to push off litigation over its overwhelming backlog of Medicare appeals, a federal court ruled on Monday.

Also in the News for Wednesday, September 21

Palliative care consultations cut hospitalizations in SNF residents ... Former hospice exec sentenced to 15 months for fraud ... Readmission risks higher for total joint arthroplasty patients sent to SNFs

North American Health Care to pay $28.5 million in false claims settlement

North American Health Care to pay $28.5 million in false claims settlement

North American Health Care Inc. has agreed to pay $28.5 million to settle allegations that it submitted claims for medically unnecessary rehabilitation services, the Department of Justice announced Monday.

Bundled payments significantly cut SNF lengths of stay and use, report shows

The average length of skilled nursing facility stay dropped 1.3 days for patients who underwent orthopedic surgery through the Bundled Payments for Care Improvement initiative, according to a new federal report.

Prevalence of mental disorders in seniors higher than thought

More seniors are affected by mental disorders than previous studies have suggested, according to new research in the British Journal of Psychiatry.

Also in the News for Tuesday, September 20

OIG proposes updates to State Medicaid Fraud Control Units ... Reducing readmissions will become harder for providers, experts suggest ... Combo of laughter, exercise said to improve mental health for seniors

McKnight's Fall Online Expo kicks off in three days

McKnight's Fall Online Expo kicks off in three days

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will pledge $87 million in funding to improve information technology in health centers in every state, the agency announced Thursday.

Four nursing home aides arrested for taking 'undignified' photos, videos of residents

Four former nursing home aides were arrested and charged Tuesday with taking photos and videos of residents in "undignified" situations, according to New York authorities.

Feds to tackle nursing home workforce development in FY 2017

Two federal agencies are planning to collaborate in the next fiscal year to address long-term care workforce issues in nursing home settings, according to a report released Thursday.

Also in the News for Monday, September 19

Intensive treatment to lower blood pressure could save 100,000 lives per year ... Proposed bill would give states funds to combat Medicaid fraud ... Physicians "frequently inaccurate" when predicting how long terminally ill patients will live

Provider groups call for big changes to value-based purchasing bill

Provider groups call for big changes to value-based purchasing bill

A House bill that would establish a value-based purchasing program for post-acute care needs major revisions before it earns providers' support, several industry groups told lawmakers in a letter Thursday.

OIG: Hospices need to better certify terminally ill patients to avert fraud

Hospice providers need to ensure their physicians have properly certified that a Medicare beneficiary is appropriate for hospice care, federal officials urged in a report released Thursday.

Yelp isn't liable for negative reviews, court rules

Online review website Yelp can't be held responsible for negative feedback consumers post about businesses, a federal appeals court has ruled.

Also in the News for Friday, September 16

Race, geographic location play a role in stroke treatment ... SNF cited for not supervising resident who choked to death ... Hearing loss "nearly universal" among older adults

CMS: 30-day hospital readmission rates fall in 49 states

CMS: 30-day hospital readmission rates fall in 49 states

Thirty-day hospital readmission rates dropped in all states except one between 2010 and 2015, according to new data from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

Skilled care occupancy rates down in second quarter: NIC

Skilled care occupancy rates down in second quarter: NIC

Second-quarter occupancy rates in skilled care facilities fell to 82.2%, or their lowest level since figures started being tracked in 2011, according to a new National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care report.

Medicaid anti-fraud efforts recovered $25 million from SNFs in 2015

Federal authorities recovered roughly $25 million from skilled nursing facilities during criminal and civil investigations in fiscal year 2015, a new report from the Department of Health & Human Services Office of Inspector General shows.

Also in the News for Thursday, September 15

Fitch: Value-based care makes for "turbulent" time in PAC ... Study suggests link between Alzheimer's, air pollution ... Losing teeth may put seniors at higher risk for mental, physical disabilities

Learn about health claims data at McKnight's Online Expo

Learn about health claims data at McKnight's Online Expo

Roughly 5 million Medicare beneficiaries in the United States don't take their blood pressure medication properly, according to a Vital Signs report released Tuesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

SNF loses Medicare, Medicaid eligibility after not providing enough food to residents

A Missouri nursing home is no longer eligible for federal funding after an inspection this summer found the facility did not provide enough food for its residents, and appears scheduled to close.

CMS resumes two-midnight rule audits

Quality Improvement Organizations have resumed audits of short-stay hospital admissions under the two-midnight rule, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced Monday.

Also in the News for Wednesday, September 14

FTC backs telemedicine provider in battle with medical board ... CMS rejects Ohio's plan to create new Medicaid fees, penalties ... Nursing home sued after resident allegedly assaulted by security guard

Republican lawmakers accuse CMS of focusing on recovering, not preventing, improper payments

Republican lawmakers accuse CMS of focusing on recovering, not preventing, improper payments

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services relies too much on investigating improper Medicare payments after they're made instead of preventing them to begin with, Republican lawmakers said Monday.

Nursing home to pay $3.5 million to settle illegal patient transfer allegations

A California nursing home and two physicians who worked at the facility will pay more than $3.5 million to resolve allegations that they took part in an illegal patient transfer scheme, authorities announced on Friday.

Genesis sued for allegedly administering drugs to resident without consent

The family of a former resident of a Genesis Healthcare facility is suing the company, the facility and its medical director for allegedly administering risky medications to the resident without her consent.

Also in the News for Tuesday, September 13

GAO: Medicaid spending caps could bump up Medicare costs ... Man arrested for leaving bomb in employee's car outside CCRC ... Medicare Shared Savings ACOs generated "modest" savings in second year, Harvard study finds

Emergency power systems a must for nursing homes under CMS final rule

Emergency power systems a must for nursing homes under CMS final rule

Long-term care providers will be required to install and maintain emergency power systems and strengthen resident elopement procedures under a final emergency preparedness rule released by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Thursday.

MedPAC to tackle preventable hospitalizations, quality measures in coming year

Reducing hospital admissions among long-stay nursing home residents is high on the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission's agenda in 2017, the group said during a meeting Thursday.

Genesis, university team up to reduce hospital readmissions

Genesis HealthCare and the University of New Mexico Health System are partnering to improve care access and reduce hospital readmissions among nursing facility residents, the university announced on Friday.

Also in the News for Monday, September 12

CMS posts guidance on providers' MDS 3.0 concerns ... Statin risks "exaggerated," major review finds ... Physicians spend nearly twice as much time on EHR work than with patients, study finds

Post-acute care providers call for regulatory relief during House hearing

Post-acute care providers call for regulatory relief during House hearing

Medicare Part A providers urged lawmakers to grant them relief at a time of "breathtaking" regulatory changes on Wednesday during a hearing of the House Ways and Means health subcommittee.

Psychologists plead guilty in $25 million SNF fraud scheme

Two psychologists pleaded guilty on Wednesday to charges that they billed Medicare millions of dollars for psychological tests unnecessarily administered to nursing home residents.

CMS updates survey procedure for civil rights requirements

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services will require Medicare providers to electronically submit proof of compliance with civil rights requirements, according to a memo sent last week.

Also in the News for Friday, September 9

Older, sicker patients may bring penalties in bundled payment programs ... Company that stopped employees from joining together in legal actions asks Supreme Court for review ... Most seniors unlikely to fully recover from hip fractures

DOJ files false claims case against nursing home chain, director of operations

DOJ files false claims case against nursing home chain, director of operations

A Tennessee-based skilled nursing provider is facing a False Claims Act complaint after it allegedly submitted claims for services that were "grossly substandard" or not provided at all over a five-year span, federal officials announced Wednesday.

Innovative payment model shows early progress, CMS says

A federal initiative to transform healthcare delivery and payment at the state levels has shown "promising progress," according to a report released Wednesday.

House committee slams Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation's lack of savings, 'unelected' officials

The Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation has spent almost $6.1 billion on demonstration projects without showing any tangible savings, say Republican lawmakers.

Also in the News for Thursday, September 8

Review: ACA has made "significant progress" in improving access to care ... Dementia patients in hospice prescribed lower doses of pain meds ... Stroke survivors at eight times higher risk for depression

Report: Demand, vacancies for SNF nursing assistants on the rise

Report: Demand, vacancies for SNF nursing assistants on the rise

The number of nursing assistant positions is expected to skyrocket by 2024, making up at least 39% of employment growth in the nursing home industry, according to a new report.

Group urges Congress to create 'overdue' definition of LTC pharmacy

Differing definitions of long-term care pharmacies used by government agencies may threaten seniors' care and disrupt care coordination, according to a leading long-term care pharmacy group.

Weekly sex doubles the risk of heart attack for older men, study shows

Older men who have sex at least once a week may have a higher risk of suffering cardiovascular events than those who are sexually inactive, according to a new study.

Also in the News for Wednesday, September 7

Joint Commission accredited SNFs show higher quality ratings ... Despite federal efforts, gaps still remain in care transitions ... Electric fans may harm seniors during extreme heat, study finds

Save the date: McKnight's Fall Online Expo is back Sept. 22

Save the date: McKnight's Fall Online Expo is back Sept. 22

It's back and better than ever: McKnight's is proud to announce its Fall Online Expo will return for a fourth year on Sept. 22.

CMS releases final rule to increase civil monetary penalties

Maximum civil monetary penalties for skilled nursing providers will more than double under a final rule released Friday by the Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

SNF accused of 'downplaying' fatal injuries of resident beaten by fellow resident

A New York nursing home has come under fire for allegedly understating the severity of fatal injuries one resident sustained after she was beaten by another resident.

Also in the News for Tuesday, September 6

Sophisticated IT boosts quality in nursing homes, study finds ... Lack of sleep, untreated depression may raise Alzheimer's risk ... Senate Aging Committee to hold hearing on $7.7 trillion gap in retirement savings

Reprogrammed cells hold key to healing

Returning cells to their earliest embryonic state may offer a "potent" resource for healing diabetic foot ulcers, according to a team of Boston-based researchers.

Umbilical cord is shown to help chronic wounds heal

Umbilical cord is shown to help chronic wounds heal

Cryopreserved umbilical cord, or cUC, allografts healed nearly 80% of chronic wounds in a retrospective review of a Texas veterans clinic.

Ask the Treatment Expert about ... eschar

Ask the Treatment Expert about ... eschar

When eschar is present, what are the best practices for treating pressure injuries that occur on the heel?

New watch may lead to faster response

New watch may lead to faster response

A smartwatch app under development may allow certified nursing assistants to respond to alerts faster, Binghamton University researchers say.

Medical plastics viewed as the next frontier for recycling

Medical plastics viewed as the next frontier for recycling

Healthcare facilities turn out nearly 30 pounds of waste per day per staffed bed. What if that trash could be made into something beautiful?

The magic of music

The magic of music

Corn loves classical music. It's all ears for the stuff.

FDA won't regulate fitness trackers and wellness apps

FDA won't regulate fitness trackers and wellness apps

FitBit and other fitness and sleep tracker developers are breathing a sigh of relief after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration released final guidance in July proclaiming a hands-off approach by the agency when it comes to low-risk devices for general wellness. Through this new policy, the FDA says it hopes to foster the development of low-risk products intended to promote a healthy lifestyle.

State News for September 2016

State News for September 2016

State officials should crack down on minimum staffing requirements for nursing homes, according to a new report.

VA facilities at least equal to others: study

The quality of care provided in healthcare facilities managed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is comparable to the quality of community-based facilities, according to a recent research review.

Study: Antibiotics may slow progression of Alzheimer's

Study: Antibiotics may slow progression of Alzheimer's

Long-term treatment with antibiotics could help decrease levels of amyloid plaques, a telltale sign of Alzheimer's disease, according to recent study results.

Ask the Care Expert about ... preparing for time off

Ask the Care Expert about ... preparing for time off

I love going to conferences and I learn a lot, but it seems like they always put me in a hole at work, both before and after. What can I do?

Profile: Beth Burnham Mace

Profile: Beth Burnham Mace

As Beth Mace has moved along her path with the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care, the journey has become personal.

Court: Racial taunts? Tough

A patient making threats about being cared for by someone of a race he or she doesn't like is not a valid reason for a provider to assign staffing by race, a court has ruled.

Study casts doubt on future of value-based purchasing

Study casts doubt on future of value-based purchasing

Even as some experts were predicting that value-based purchasing initiatives would be expanding in the near future, researchers from a handful of universities were casting doubts on the success of a VBP demo project.

Ask the Payment Expert about ... Medicare data

Ask the Payment Expert about ... Medicare data

It seems like Medicare always has so much information about us. How can we access that data?

Settlements in four DOJ investigations to cost Genesis $52.7 million

Genesis Healthcare will pay $52.7 million under an agreement to settle four separate Department of Justice investigations, the nation's largest long-term care company said.

Quality measurements are a 'game changer,' expert notes

Quality measurements are a 'game changer,' expert notes

Skilled nursing facilities failing to submit data for new quality measures will suffer a 2-percentage point reduction starting with 2018, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services warned in the recent release of its final rule.

60 Seconds with ... Robin P. Bonifas

60 Seconds with ... Robin P. Bonifas

Q: Why are residents with dementia common targets of bullies?

CMS to inspect SNFs' social media policies

CMS to inspect SNFs' social media policies

Surveyors have begun reviewing nursing homes' policies for addressing employee abuse of residents on social media platforms.

Arbitration battle heating up

More groups are urging the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to ban pre-dispute arbitration clauses as the publication of the agency's final rule for nursing homes draws near.

Naps may help night nurses

Naps may help night nurses

Napping on the job may be beneficial for nurses working night shifts, according to a new study.

Helping others boosts health

Volunteering after age 40 provides more mental health benefits than serving when younger, according to a new analysis from British researchers.

Admins, DONs see pay jumps

Salaries for nursing home administrators spiked 3.8% this year, when comparing facilities taking part in the nation's biggest survey in both 2015 and 2016.

Providers to receive 2.4% raise next year

Providers to receive 2.4% raise next year

While providers cheered an estimated $920 million payment increase for fiscal 2017, they also resigned themselves to preparing for four new quality measures.

Fall Expo back for fourth year

Fall Expo back for fourth year

Long-term care providers can get up to date with the latest challenges, barriers and safe practices for health information technology when McKnight's Fall Online Expo returns for its fourth year.

We need to have a talk

We need to have a talk

Some necessary conversations tend to be awkward and uncomfortable.

Nurses with a say are more likely to stay

Maintaining a low turnover rate among nursing staff during a time of high demand for positions may relate to autonomy of the job.

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