Signature HealthCARE to pay $30 million to resolve false claims allegations

Signature HealthCARE to pay $30 million to resolve false claims allegations

Signature HealthCARE, the owner of 115 skilled nursing facilities, has agreed to pay $30 million to resolve allegations that it routinely placed residents at higher therapy levels to increase claims.

Nursing home owners face felony charges after quality declines at former county-owned facility

In 2014, the Ostego County nursing home had 298 employees. By 2016 — under new, private ownership — that number was down to 225, despite immediate jeopardy findings and plenty of other regulatory and staff warnings about quality of care.

Muslim ex-employee sues nursing home over hijab restriction

A Muslim woman is suing a nursing home where she once worked, alleging a supervisor ordered her to remove her hijab, forcing her to choose between her job and her religion.

Also in the News for Monday, June 11

Researcher: More staff, training could reduce resident-on-resident deaths among dementia patients ... NY-based Centers Health Care makes new push into Midwest ... Nursing home residents with dementia choose fewer life-extending interventions after using planning video

Waste watching: When it comes to infection control measures in long-term care, medical waste disposal can't be taken lightly. But providers might actually be overdoing it.

Waste watching: When it comes to infection control measures in long-term care, medical waste disposal can't be taken lightly. But providers might actually be overdoing it.

The business of waste — specifically, the business of off-site management of hazardous and non-hazardous medical waste — is big.

Ask the Treatment Expert about ... DTI treatment

Ask the Treatment Expert about ... DTI treatment

We have a resident with a deep tissue injury (DTI) on the sacrum and now the center has an open area. Should we measure and describe just the open area?

Ask the Nursing Expert about ... culturally competent care requirements

Ask the Nursing Expert about ... culturally competent care requirements

I thought culturally competent care requirements weren't effective until Nov. 28, 2019, the Phase 3 deadline. Why are facilities getting cited now?

Ask the Payment Expert about ... Phase 3

Ask the Payment Expert about ... Phase 3

I recently attended a workshop that said that Phase 3 goes into effect this November. I thought it was November 2019. Which is right?

Ask the Legal Expert about ... Overtime laws

Ask the Legal Expert about ... Overtime laws

Some of our staff are super-diligent and work right through lunch breaks sometimes. Can we get in trouble with OSHA or other regulators if we stress to them to take their breaks but they still don't?

Upping the ante

Upping the ante

Harbour's Edge reinvests in property built in the 1980s to upgrade skilled nursing and rehabilitation segments.

How to do it ... Choosing sleep meds wisely

There is a dizzying array of over-the-counter and prescription-strength medications designed to encourage sleep. What many providers don't fully realize, however, is these drugs are not meant as a long-term or permanent solution to conditions such as insomnia. Experts chime in on the risks, as well as proven alternatives.

Ask the Care Expert about ... preparedness and supplies

Ask the Care Expert about ... preparedness and supplies

We have a group of residents we are taking to visit a large garden near our facility for the day. Two of the residents attending have colostomies. Besides an extra colostomy bag/appliance, should I take any other supplies along with us to be prepared for leaks?

Barbara Bush gives gift to providers in final hours

Barbara Bush gives gift to providers in final hours

Shortly after her death in mid-April, the tributes to former First Lady Barbara Bush washed over the media landscape for a few news cycles. Then, unfortunately, they faded.

Department of Justice agrees to Louisiana plan to reassess mental health patients in nursing homes

Department of Justice agrees to Louisiana plan to reassess mental health patients in nursing homes

The Louisiana Department of Health has agreed to create a new plan for community-based mental health services after the U.S. Department of Justice argued the state's use of nursing homes to treat those with serious mental illness is a Civil Rights violation.

Colorado builder wants long-term care at heart of mixed-housing community

After falling victim to the 2008 recession and watching housing trends shift over the last decade, a Colorado developer now wants to make long-term care a big part of his 27-acre project.

Campaign recruits millennials to take up long-term care torch

A national aging services organization on Thursday launched a new campaign aimed at bringing a new generation of caregiving advocates into the fold.

Also in the News for Friday, June 8

FDA warns against Zylast antiseptic products, seeks to stop sales ... Tennessee orders $8,923 resident refunds after nursing home wrongly bills for covered haircuts and shampoos, fails to keep records ... Researchers: Black and Hispanic stroke survivors more prone to second attack

Coalition analysis shows 1 in 5 nursing home residents still getting antipsychotics

Approximately 20% of nursing home residents — more than 250,000 nationwide — are still receiving antipsychotic drugs as part of their long-term care treatment, according to an analysis of federal data released this week by a consumer advocacy group.

Ventas execs: SNFs less than 1%, and we're not looking back

Between a 2015 spin off and the sale last year of almost all its remaining skilled nursing facilities, Ventas has just 1% of its business left in the segment.

New quality-improvement project focuses on measuring what matters to patients

Are people with diabetes more concerned with lowering their A1C levels or walking to the corner market? Would they rather see improvement in BMI or be able to spend more time with family members?

Also in the News for Thursday, June 7

Welltower defends keeping HCR ManorCare management team, arguing execs had 'one hand tied behind its back' ... Nursing home cited, could face fines or staff charges for resident transport death ... Deaf Louisiana woman sues nursing home for not providing ASL interpreter, argues English in written documents was second language

HHS chief pushes 'lowest-cost appropriate' settings in AHCA speech

HHS chief pushes 'lowest-cost appropriate' settings in AHCA speech

Human and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar on Tuesday outlined critical areas of focus his agency will pursue as it ushers in value-based transformation and a new wave of graying Baby Boomers approaches retirement.

Disruption as innovation: report encourages skilled nursing to capitalize on trends

Skilled nursing providers should capitalize on larger senior living trends — including emerging technologies, business partnerships and recruitment strategies — to ensure their share of the marketplace moving forward, finds a new white paper published by CliftonLarsonAllen.

Judge slashes nursing home's $1 million fire escape penalty by $974,000

An administrative law judge has reduced a $1 million fine against Philadelphia's Springs at Watermark to just over $26,000, deciding the nursing home took appropriate preventive measures within three days of a patient escape.

Also in the News for Wednesday, June 6

New Medicare scorecard compares state efforts, but still lacks detail ... GAO: Soon-to-expand private program for VA patients has left them waiting months for care ... Most Florida nursing homes unprepared for hurricane season

Medicare expands pre-approval program for power wheelchairs

A Medicare demonstration that requires healthcare providers to request pre-approval before prescribing medical devices such as powered wheelchairs will get new life this fall.

Nursing home owner investigated for $80K payout to legislator who moved to limit negligence claims

A judge has ordered the appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate an $80,000 wire transfer from a nursing home owner to a former state senator's construction company — money that allegedly moved just days after the lawmaker introduced an amendment to limit negligence claims in Arkansas.

Also in the News for Tuesday, June 5

Sabra wraps $174M in deals for 20 facilities in Indiana, New Hampshire and Florida ... Missed appeal could mean millions for nursing homes and a budget boondoggle for Rhode Island ... $17.5 million lawsuit alleges skilled nursing facility staff tied up, drugged resident ... Nursing home resident plummets to his death after escaping through unsecured window

Nursing home advocates say AGs' push for punitive enforcement won't improve quality

Nursing home advocates say AGs' push for punitive enforcement won't improve quality

The leading association for skilled nursing providers said Friday that a call by state officials to reinstate tough federal enforcement policies might undercut quality gains.

Louisiana, Missouri leaders wrestle with 'granny cam' laws

In-room nursing home cameras could soon be operating in a sixth state, thanks to the signature of Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D).

Senator says new 'right-to-try' law is meant to undercut FDA's authority

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) wants the Food and Drug Administration to get out of the way of a "right-to-try" signed into law by President Trump last week.

Also in the News for Monday, June 4

Second state adopts individual insurance mandate ... Kansas is last state in the nation to develop an Alzheimer's plan ... Most hospitals now require workers to get flu shots, but those treating vets lag

Factoring in hospital 'observation' stays erases gains in readmission rates, study finds

Factoring in hospital 'observation' stays erases gains in readmission rates, study finds

In a healthcare system that increasingly relies on hospital readmission rates as a quality indicator, a critical omission may be dramatically skewing the data, finds a study published Thursday in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Hospitals to share more risk with skilled nursing, other partners in pilot for elderly care

A new pilot being tested by the American Hospital Association in five U.S. health systems aims to create "age-friendly" care that focuses on safety, patient satisfaction and universal value.

Report finds web of related companies make Consulate-owned nursing homes appear 'cash-strapped'

A lengthy report by a Florida newspaper Thursday attempted to lift the veil on the inner workings of Consulate Health Care, the state's largest nursing home provider.

Also in the News for Friday, June 1

Preferred Care may settle False Claims cases to facilitate bankruptcy ... Ascension-owned St. Vincent's settles EEOC allegations after denying job transfer to worker who became disabled ... After years of trying, Virginia becomes 33rd state to expand Medicaid.

Federal judge dismisses therapy whistleblower case, allows wrongful firing claim to continue

Federal judge dismisses therapy whistleblower case, allows wrongful firing claim to continue

A federal judge has dismissed a nearly 3-year-old False Claims Act case against Trilogy Health Systems, but the whistleblower who made the original overbilling allegations will be allowed to pursue a related wrongful termination suit.

Senator calls for more opioid control in Medicare, Medicaid

U.S. Senator Pat Toomey (D-PA), this week criticized the limitations of a new Medicare and Medicaid opioid prescription-monitoring program set to start next year.

Budget woes force closure of long-term care psychiatric hospital with 14 remaining patients. Where will they go?

A state-owned psychiatric hospital will close its long-term unit this summer, forcing state health officials to find new beds for 14 geriatric or brain-injured residents with long-term needs.

Also in the News for Thursday, May 31

Local investigation finds majority of money-making nursing homes are poor in quality ... Hormone treatment may slow cognitive decline in post-menopausal women ... Study reveals small-scale dementia settings reduce burnout among nurses

Hospital system invests $3M to bring more skilled nursing beds onto campus

Three floors of a Georgia hospital will be transformed into an 80-bed skilled nursing facility under a nearly $3 million plan approved by its board.

Researchers I.D. barriers to care as Alzheimer's diagnoses in Latinos explode

It's no shock that Alzheimer's diagnoses are expected to rocket upward over the coming decades — but researchers say one group will bear an unfair share of the burden and may be the least prepared to cope.

Police: Family's camera caught contracted nurse practitioner molesting skilled nursing resident

A contracted nurse practitioner has been charged after allegedly being caught on camera while sexually assaulting a resident of the Massachusetts nursing home where he was working.

Also in the News for Wednesday, May 30

Veterans Affairs' medical foster program keeping some vets out of nursing home ... Unlicensed doc perpetrated $9 million home health scheme over 5 years ... As healthcare dominates election cycle, Medicare buy-in at 55 gets another Democratic supporter

'All hands on deck' as TB outbreak may have affected hundreds at LTC facility

It's "all hands on deck" in Delaware, with officials estimating that more than 600 individuals may have been exposed to tuberculosis at one local long-term care facility.

Judge: Doctor can't piggy-back on nursing home's arbitration in overfeeding death

An Arkansas judge has sided with a local nursing facility, which contends its former medical director may not piggy-back on the facility's ability to arbitrate legal claims.

CMS unveils new settlement option for clearing Medicare appeals

Starting next month, providers will have a quicker option for resolving Medicare appeals disputes. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services will begin offering streamlined settlements based on preliminary data.

Also in the News for Tuesday, May 29

Consumers join providers in ripping Pennsylvania's new long-term care program ... Court date set for woman who embezzled $300K from Texas skilled-care provider ... Kansas Medicaid contractor faces millions in potential fines.

VA healthcare bill aims to give vets more access to private long-term care services

Providers cheered the inclusion of long-term care and post-acute agreements in a major overhaul of veteran health care passed by the Senate this week.

Facility's non-compliant documentation practices lead to federal crackdown

Montana was hit with more than $277,000 in civil penalties after its Mental Health Nursing Care Center in Lewistown failed to meet federal documentation requirements related to mental illness care.

Poor seniors less likely to survive nursing home after ICU stay

Medicaid beneficiaries who receive ICU care while hospitalized are more likely to die in the year after discharge than their peers on private insurance — and the disparity is worst among those with a critical illness who are discharged to a nursing home.

Also in the News for Friday, May 25

Former nursing home employee and shooting survivor charged with stealing residents' opioids ... With death rate up, U.S. life expectancy likely down again for 2017 ... Study shows in-home therapy, telemedicine effective for stroke rehab

Powerful House subcommittee opens arms to nursing home providers' suggestions for cutting 'administrative burdens'

Powerful House subcommittee opens arms to nursing home providers' suggestions for cutting 'administrative burdens'

Long-term care professionals took full advantage of an invitation to tell House leaders Tuesday how they could cut Medicare red tape and improve resident care.

CMS allows Maryland to roll out innovative all-payer model worth $1 billion at nursing homes, other settings

The continuation of Maryland's all-payer model will allow the system to move beyond hospital walls to change the financial landscape of nursing homes, mental health facilities and other institutions.

Nursing home resident attacks staff member with spray meant for aggressive bears

Officials say a resident at a New Hampshire nursing home sent an employee to the hospital by spraying her with a product usually reserved for combative bears.

Also in the News for Thursday, May 24

Analysis: Reclassifying drugs led Medicare beneficiaries to pay more for generics ... Eight more patients sickened by recalled foaming wash alternative ... State report: Surveyors on scene the day of H.R. McMaster's fatal fall saw temporary nurses make errors

Lawmakers seek $250 million infusion for geriatric services

Lawmakers seek $250 million infusion for geriatric services

A bill introduced by Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) Tuesday seeks more than $50 million annually to address workforce training, clinical staffing and support service issues across the U.S., as the nation prepares for the long-awaited "Silver Tsunami."

Hospice provider settles massive case for $2.5 million, claiming documentation errors

Once accused of defrauding Medicare of $14 million in false claims in a single year, a Florida hospice provider has agreed to pay $2.5 million to resolve the allegations.

Union officials: Nursing home in bankruptcy raided by federal agents while residents watched

Residents of a Connecticut nursing home that is already facing bankruptcy watched Tuesday as federal agents raided the facility's administrative offices.

Also in the News for Wednesday, May 23

Lawsuit alleges nursing home responsible for resident's sun-exposure death ... California Attorney General appeals ruling overturning aid-in-dying law ... Efforts to improve troubled eldercare system left on the table

Supreme Court backs employers, arbitration over class-action claims

Supreme Court backs employers, arbitration over class-action claims

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday ruled that private-sector companies may force employees to individually arbitrate alleged violations of federal labor law, rather than allowing them to seek class-action remedies as a group.

Plaintiff attorneys claim CMS is blocking once-public nursing home info under Trump

Attorneys who investigate abuse and neglect at the nation's nursing homes say the Trump administration is blocking access to records and charging large fees when they do produce them, according to interviews, government correspondence and lawsuits cited by Law360.

Government watchdog says CMS should continue prior authorization projects

A report issued Monday by the Government Accountability Office says the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services should extend tests of a prior authorization program that have saved up to $1.9 billion.

Also in the News for Tuesday, May 22

Officials say headway made in extensive elder abuse investigation backlog ... Nursing home that had triple-murder reopens a year later ... Surgery causes hard-to-spot cognitive loss in some seniors

McKnight's Tech Awards double size, open for entries

McKnight's Tech Awards double size, open for entries

The 2018 McKnight's Excellence in Technology Awards, which is now open for entries, has doubled the number of award categories to better recognize organizations that harness technology to improve eldercare.

Employee compelled to testify in civil assault case against nursing home; leads to $7.5 million award

A Pennsylvania jury has awarded $7.5 million to the family of a dementia patient who was sexually assaulted by a fellow resident of her nursing home.

Investors sue Illinois rabbi for $24 million in alleged nursing home purchasing scheme

Two investors are suing an Illinois rabbi and investment firm head they say bilked them out of more than $20 million in a series of nursing home and retirement home deals.