CMS finalizes fire safety updates for long-term care facilities

CMS finalizes fire safety updates for long-term care facilities

Updated fire safety rules for long-term care facilities were released by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services on Tuesday, including provisions to "modernize" care environments and make them more welcoming to residents.

American Psychiatric Association calls for 'judicious' use of antipsychotics for people with dementia

Healthcare providers should focus on "judicious" use of antipsychotic medications when treating people with dementia, according to new guidelines from the American Psychiatric Association.

Raising Medicare eligibility age may boost overall healthcare spending, study finds

Raising a Medicare beneficiary's eligibility age to 67 may increase the nation's overall healthcare spending, according to a new study published Monday.

Also in the News for Wednesday, May 4

Officials call for transparency after 'violent' deaths in Canadian nursing homes ... Texas receives 15-month Medicaid waiver extension ... Eating chocolate every day linked to lower risk of heart disease, diabetes

Corporate ownership changes linked to poor nursing home quality

Corporate ownership changes linked to poor nursing home quality

Nursing homes that are bought and sold frequently by corporate chains tend to provide a lower quality of care, according to research from Harvard Medical School released on Monday.

DOJ report slams South Dakota's reliance on nursing homes to provide disability services

A new report from the U.S. Department of Justice asserts that South Dakota "unnecessarily" relies on nursing facilities to provide services and supports to people with disabilities, leaving them without home- or community-based care options.

Court upholds fine for SNF's botched hospice transfer

A federal appeals court has upheld a $68,950 fine against a Texas nursing home penalized for the way it handled a resident's transfer to hospice care.

Also in the News for Tuesday, May 3

FDA approves first drug to treat psychosis associated with Parkinson's ... Rule to update ACO benchmarks heads to White House for review ... Skilled nursing, senior living company hit with understaffing class action lawsuit

McKnight's honored again for news coverage, writing

McKnight's Long-Term Care News earned top honors in the news coverage, profile writing and special supplement categories in this year's American Society of Healthcare Publication Editors 2016 Awards, which were announced Friday.

Rural SNF technology bill not 'urgent' enough to pass?

A bill aiming at making rural skilled nursing facilities eligible for broadband funding may not be "urgent" enough to see passage into law this year, experts recently revealed.

Providers aim to cut nurse licensing requirements to encourage telemedicine growth

Some healthcare providers are pushing state lawmakers to relax rules requiring nurses to be licensed for each state they work in, claiming the laws are stunting telemedicine growth.

Also in the News for Monday, May 2

SNF aides get three-year probation for inappropriate Snapchat posts ... Women, white adults at highest fall risk in residential care facilities ... Lawmakers debate whistleblowers, self-disclosure during House FCA hearing

PBJ staffing data submission gaining steam, CMS officials say

PBJ staffing data submission gaining steam, CMS officials say

Nearly half of skilled nursing facilities have registered to voluntarily submit electronic staffing data, officials with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid said Thursday during an SNF Open Door Forum call.

SNF occupancy rates fall as discharges rise, CDC says

The number of nursing home discharges climbed while occupancy rates and number of facilities fell, according to a recently released federal "report card" on health.

Federal government sues provider after workers are fired for seeking religious exemption to flu shot

A North Carolina-based healthcare provider has been hit with a lawsuit from the federal government for allegedly firing three employees who asked for a religious exemption from the company's mandatory flu shot policy.

Also in the News for Friday, April 29

State investigating possible falsified records at troubled Massachusetts SNF ... Report: Strengthened Medicare provider screenings showing early success ... CMS proposes new merit-based physician payment system and Meaningful Use replacement

CMS makes it official: 6 new quality measures go live on Nursing Home Compare

CMS makes it official: 6 new quality measures go live on Nursing Home Compare

Six new quality measures were added to Nursing Home Compare on Wednesday, making for the largest addition of quality measures to the website since 2003.

State Supreme Court takes on law firm ads targeting nursing homes

Law firms running advertisements against specific nursing homes was debated in the Georgia Supreme Court Wednesday.

Virgin Islands nursing home fights CMS order to move residents to mainland U.S.

The only licensed nursing home in the U.S. Virgin Islands has filed a lawsuit against the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services as a last-ditch effort to prevent the agency from shuttering the facility and moving residents to mainland facilities.

Also in the News for Thursday, April 28

Flooding forces nursing home evacuation in Nebraska... Rosemary scent may help improve seniors' memory, mood ... Valeant was too aggressive in raising drug prices, CEO tells Senate

Final managed Medicaid rule brings LTC updates, 85% medical-loss ratio

The 1,425 page behemoth of a managed Medicaid overhaul released this week includes a controversial provision that would allow beneficiaries needing long-term care services to switch to a different plan if their provider is not in-network.

Aggressive advance care planning shown to cut SNF costs, hospitalizations

Nursing homes that implement advance care planning programs and train staff in palliative care may see lower costs and fewer hospitalizations, according to new research published on Tuesday.

PharMerica seeks Supreme Court review in False Claims case

Long-term care pharmacy services provider PharMerica is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to review its previous ruling on the "first-to-file" provision of the False Claims Act, claiming it paves the way for copycat lawsuits.

Also in the News for Wednesday, April 27

Heart disease risk higher among shift workers ... House to take on False Claims Act oversight during Thursday hearing ... Vaccinations more effective when administered in the morning

Supreme Court declines second Golden LivingCenters arbitration suit

Supreme Court declines second Golden LivingCenters arbitration suit

The U.S. Supreme Court chose not to review a nursing home arbitration case involving Golden LivingCenters on Monday, echoing a decision made on a similar case last month.

House lawmakers push CMS to collect Medicare beneficiaries' mental health data

More "robust" data on the mental and behavioral health of Medicare beneficiaries is needed in order to improve the program's outcomes, lawmakers said last week in a letter to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

SNF worker charged with stealing eight residents' identities

An Alabama nursing home employee was arrested late last week on charges that she stole the identities of hundreds of people — including eight residents of the facility where she worked.

Also in the News for Tuesday, April 26

CMS releases final managed Medicaid rule ... LTC overhaul estimated to save Wisconsin $300 million ... Hearing aid use may help postpone cognitive decline in seniors, study finds

Providers welcome proposed SNF pay hike, express concerns over quality measures

Providers welcome proposed SNF pay hike, express concerns over quality measures

Long-term care's biggest provider groups expressed relief last week over a proposal to increase skilled nursing payments by 2.1%, but remain wary about the four new quality measures that are attached.

Guest worker bill earns accolades for potential impact on nursing shortage

A recently proposed federal bill that would create a guest worker program has earned praise from the country's largest provider organization.

Fall-sustained head trauma doubles seniors' risk of emergency room visits

Minor head trauma sustained from a fall places older adults at a higher risk of returning to the emergency room than any other fall-related injury, according to a study published last week.

Also in the News for Monday, April 25

Lawsuit claims SNF had resident's insurance coverage terminated ... Suicide rates drop among seniors over age 75; surge for all other age groups ... Study finds frailty risk lower in widowed than married older women

SNFs get $800 million payment increase, new quality measures under proposed rule for FY 2017

SNFs get $800 million payment increase, new quality measures under proposed rule for FY 2017

Skilled nursing facilities will receive Medicare payment increases of $800 million in FY 2017, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced Thursday evening.

Average cost of nursing home care rises 2% annually, Lincoln report shows

The average national cost of both private and semi-private skilled nursing rooms increased a total of 2% over 2014, according to a new report from Lincoln Financial Group.

GAO calls for increased violence protection for healthcare workers

A new federal report is calling for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to step up its efforts to protect healthcare workers from workplace violence.

Evaluation of six-hour work days in Swedish SNF may end early due to lack of funds

A widely-publicized trial program evaluating six-hour work days in a Swedish nursing homes may end early next week due to lack of funds.

Also in the News for Friday, April 22

SNF asks workers to choose between health plan, pay raises ... OMB completes review of managed Medicaid overhaul rule; publication to come ... Study shows link between Alzheimer's, type 2 diabetes, turns previous research "on its head"

Supreme Court grapples with concept of 'implied' False Claims case

Supreme Court grapples with concept of 'implied' False Claims case

The nation's highest court struggled Tuesday during oral arguments in a controversial False Claims Act case to determine at what point a false claim truly is "false."

Hospital slams ManorCare hepatitis C lawsuit

"Simply untrue" is how defense attorneys described allegations in a lawsuit filed against a hospital by skilled nursing giant ManorCare and victims of the largest hepatitis C outbreak in recent history.

Study: Half of SNF residents end up in emergency room, regardless of cognitive status

Nearly half of long-stay nursing home residents will require transfer to an emergency department over the course of a year, regardless of their cognitive status, according to a recent study.

Also in the News for Thursday, April 21

Palliative care has bad reputation, researchers say ... CMS delays Medicare star ratings for hospitals ... First-ever report shows Medicare Advantage beneficiary data by race, ethnicity

Clinical competencies crucial to managed care success, experts say

Clinical competencies crucial to managed care success, experts say

Clinical competencies crucial to managed care success, experts say

CMS drops payment cut related to two-midnight rule

Faced with a legal challenge, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has killed a two-midnight inpatient payment cut to hospitals. The agency will not move forward with a 0.2% inpatient payment cut to hospitals under the "two-midnight" rule, giving a partial victory to the hospital industry Tuesday.

Hospice fraud in OIG crosshairs

Hospice fraud is an enforcement priority for the HHS Office of Inspector General, according to the head of the office.

Also in the News for Wednesday, April 20

Right-to-die advocate, wife dead in murder-suicide at Florida facility ... $30M Medicare fraud leads to 9 years in prison for Miami doc ... Louisiana expected to save $1 billion over next decade from Medicaid expansion

Study: Dramatic change in diet reversed type 2 diabetes

Results of a small British clinical study have raised hopes that type 2 diabetes is reversible in some people if they follow a stark new diet.

Accuracy key to staying ahead of changes to MDS 3.0, quality measures, experts say

Accuracy key to staying ahead of changes to MDS 3.0, quality measures, experts say

Providers should conduct accuracy reviews of their facility's data base in order to prepare for changes to the MDS 3.0 and the Five-Star Quality Measures slated for this year, experts emphasized on Monday.

Providers worried about extra provisions in new SNF payment rule

Three categories — rehospitalizations, quality measurements and interoperability — are expected to be major challenges for providers under a new Skilled Nursing Facility Prospective Payment System proposed rule, according to one long-term care expert.

CMS extends participation for bundled pay initiative

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services said awardees in the Bundled Payments for Care Improvement initiative can extend their participation for two more years.

Also in the News for Tuesday, April 19

Ohio plan would make Medicaid beneficiaries pay for part of care ... Pharma company Warner Chilcott to pay $125M for fraudulent drug promos ... OMB considering changes to Medicaid eligibility and improvement payment review

Largest Medicare ACO reflects mixed results in first year, data shows

Largest Medicare ACO reflects mixed results in first year, data shows

The data from Medicare's largest accountable care organization's first full year of operation is in and the results are mixed, according to a new report in the New England Journal of Medicine.

State bill would ban anonymous complaints against nursing homes

Anonymous complaints about Illinois' nursing homes would no longer be accepted or investigated under a bill currently up for debate in the state House of Representatives.

Authorities using data to file False Claims charges, take whistleblowers out of equation

Some states are turning to data mining, a method of finding patterns in large amounts of data, to prevent whistleblowers from swaying False Claims Act cases, one expert shared last week.

Also in the News for Monday, April 18

Regulators expand probe of embattled TN nursing home operator ... Survey reveals barriers to end-of-life, advance care planning discussions ... Half of patient-doctor interactions missing from electronic health records

CMS background checks missed some criminal providers, federal audit finds

CMS background checks missed some criminal providers, federal audit finds

Nearly 70 providers with criminal backgrounds enrolled in Medicare prior to the program strengthening its background checks, a federal audit found.

Minimal SNF construction forecasted through 2016, report says

Fewer new skilled nursing developments will crop up over the coming year, and those that do will focus on short-stay, post-acute rehabilitation services, according to a new report from real estate consulting firm Integra Realty Resources.

Massachusetts proposes $35.5 million boost for SNF worker pay, hires 19 new facility inspectors

Massachusetts lawmakers made moves this week to help increase wages and benefits for workers, as well as increasing oversight, in the states' 400-plus skilled nursing facilities.

Also in the News for Friday, April 15

Video chatting may help curb agitation in SNF residents with dementia ... Having good memory recall may help seniors recover from sad events ... Physician convicted in largest-ever home health fraud scheme

Report: OIG to tackle adverse events, therapy payments in nursing homes

Report: OIG to tackle adverse events, therapy payments in nursing homes

Federal regulators' investigative arm has set its sight on adverse events in nursing homes, and how Medicare pays for skilled nursing therapy, according to a report released Tuesday.

Good Samaritan pleads rural SNFs' case to House panel for 'critical' technology bill

Some of the nation's largest senior care organizations on Wednesday asked members of Congress to stop treating them as "second-class" care providers, especially when it comes to funding and technology. The nation's largest nonprofit provider chain put its support behind a bill that would boost broadband access for rural skilled nursing facilities during a House hearing.

Resident's wife arrested after bloodying administrator's mouth, police say

The wife of an Ohio nursing home resident was charged with assault on Monday after she allegedly punched and kicked the facility's executive director, according to local authorities.

Also in the News for Thursday, April 14

New antibiotic guidelines target C. diff, drug use in LTC facilities ... Nursing home workers in Massachusetts, Rhode Island rally for $15 minimum wage ... Increased oversight, payment tweaks could cut Medicare, Medicaid payouts, GAO says

Underpaid nursing home aides lead to poor care, group says

Underpaid nursing home aides lead to poor care, group says

Low pay and poor benefits for nursing assistants is resulting in a "crisis" of low quality care in nursing homes, according to a report released Tuesday by the Paraprofessional Healthcare Institute (PHI).

CMS' quality improvement program made antipsychotic reduction, drug safety strides in 2015

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services' Quality Innovation Networks showed significant success in reducing antipsychotic use, bolstering medication safety and improving care transitions in nursing homes, according to a 2015 progress report.

Seniors paying higher Medicare premiums, deductibles may rein in costs, experts say

Giving seniors responsibility for a greater share of their own healthcare bills could help keep Medicare spending under control, a new study from the National Center for Policy Analysis suggests.

Also in the News for Wednesday, April 13

Coordinated response could reduce superbug spread in nursing homes ... Parkinson's, Lewy body dementia severely underresearched, experts say ... Seniors make up Facebook's fastest growing demographic, study finds

McKnight's wins top publication, writing and blogging honors

McKnight's Long-Term Care News was honored with Platinum and Gold Awards for writing, blogging and overall publication in this year's Hermes Creative Awards.

Dual-eligibles demo failing to meet expectations, MedPAC says

A demonstration program aimed at improving care for beneficiaries eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid is showing lower enrollment than expected, according to a Medicare Payment Advisory Commission staff member.

Bill would give state elder abuse programs a federal funding boost

Legislation proposed in the Senate last week would authorize federal assistance to state programs that seek to prevent elder abuse, neglect and exploitation.

Also in the News for Tuesday, April 12

New CMS payment model would cover 25 million people, 20,000 physicians ... Alzheimer's impairs visual face perception, study finds ... Income and where you live impacts longevity

MedPAC provides roadmap for post-acute care overhaul

MedPAC provides roadmap for post-acute care overhaul

Medicare payments to skilled nursing facilities, home health, inpatient rehabilitation facilities and long-term care hospitals would change under a plan from the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission approved on Thursday.

OIG clears provider's irregular procurement of Hurricane Sandy disaster funds

A nursing home decimated by Hurricane Sandy was correct in using $2.8 million in federal disaster funds to repair its building, a government audit found.

Nursing Home Compare hurt by mistrust, unawareness, report finds

Consumers react positively to Nursing Home Compare, but they limit use based on lack of awareness and initial lack of trust in the data, according to a new analysis.

Also in the News for Monday, April 11

Parkinson's meds can lead to impulse control disorders ... LTC nursing leaders recognized ... Flu still virulent in Kentucky

Potentially fatal drug errors missed by electronic ordering systems, report finds

Potentially fatal drug errors missed by electronic ordering systems, report finds

Computerized physician order entry systems don't always catch potentially harmful or fatal medication errors, according to a report released Thursday.

SNF occupancy sees slight uptick

The occupancy rate for skilled nursing facilities increased 0.1 percentage point to reach 87.4% during the first quarter of 2016, according to new data from the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care.

New York's nurse vetting process 'deeply flawed,' watchdog asserts

New York's statewide system for vetting and overseeing nurses lacks the tools to weed out potentially irresponsible or criminal candidates, according to a new report from ProPublica.

Also in the News for Friday, April 8

Troubled MA nursing home hit with nearly $300,000 fine ... Nebraska ushers in whistleblower protections for nurses ... 700 million to have diabetes in next decade, study finds

Final SNF rule could arrive in September, experts forecast

Final SNF rule could arrive in September, experts forecast

The final version of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid's massive proposed rule for skilled nursing facilities is estimated to be released in September 2016, a long-term care policy expert shared on Wednesday.

Alleged $250 million overbilling charges in hospices disputed , experts say

A recent HHS Office of Inspector General report calling out hospices for billing $250 million inappropriately in 2012 doesn't tell the whole story, an attorney said this week.

Arkansas sets precedent for Medicaid negotiations

As states continue to grapple with whether and how to expand Medicaid, Arkansas' governor says he won't push for Medicaid managed care — yet.

Also in the News for Thursday, April 7

Transcription error blamed in SNF resident's 10x morphine overdose death ... Sale of NY nursing home investigated around lifting of deed restriction ... More Texas nurses leaving industry due to loss in Medicaid reimbursements, providers warn ... Juniper announces plans for raising living wage of workers

Rockefeller: Keep pushing for Medicare expansion into long-term care

Former U.S. Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) told Medicare advocates on Thursday that they should keep trying to expand Medicare to include long-term care and other needed benefits.

Managed care will hit SNFs relying on Part A payments, experts say

Skilled nursing providers should be prepared for managed care to drill down on Medicare Part A residents, creating the potential for major financial problems, a long-term care expert warned on Tuesday.

Study: Five-Star, consumer rankings agree 'minimally' on SNF quality

Study: Five-Star, consumer rankings agree 'minimally' on SNF quality

Current government ratings for nursing homes such as Nursing Home Compare differ so much from consumers' personal rankings, they could benefit from personalization, according to a new study.

Pharmacist on care team improves dementia care, reduces readmissions

Adding a pharmacist to healthcare teams may help improve care and cut down on drug-related hospital readmissions for seniors with dementia, new study results indicate.

Also in the News for Wednesday, April 6

CMS finalizes Medicare Advantage, drug policies for 2017 ... Former employees file whistleblower suit against FL nursing home operator Plaza Health Network ... 5,000 PA nursing home workers win $15 hourly wage in contract negotiations

Long-term care residents with dementia often overprescribed drugs, study finds

Long-term care residents with dementia often overprescribed drugs, study finds

Residents of long-term care facilities with dementia are often overprescribed drugs that can cancel out the effects of their dementia medications, according to a new study

Feds increase push to keep seniors out of nursing homes

The federal government is upping its efforts to keep more seniors out of nursing homes, and in home and community-based long-term care programs, according to a report published on Monday.

Former nursing home CNA charged with raping resident, other assaults suspected

A former certified nursing assistant at a North Carolina nursing home was charged last week for allegedly raping a resident.

Also in the News for Tuesday, April 5

SNF admin pleads guilty to stealing from resident's trust fund ... Smaller hospitals may reduce rehospitalizations for seniors with hip fractures ... CDC: Flu season remains in full swing for dozens of states

Ask the Treatment Expert about ... blisters

Ask the Treatment Expert about ... blisters

Are all blisters pressure ulcers and if they are, how should they be staged?

Providers benefit from 'simplified' NPWT

Simplified negative pressure wound therapy systems can provide healing results comparable to more complex systems, a new study shows.

Phototherapy works well with traditional ulcer treatments

Phototherapy works well with traditional ulcer treatments

Phototherapy, a type of non-invasive light therapy, may help speed up the healing rate of diabetic ulcers when combined with conventional podiatric interventions, according to new research.

Readmissions may drop with adjustment

A technology assessment tool may help non-medical workers identify who is at risk for readmissions, according to a new study.

Administrators gain control with new technology suite

Administrators gain control with new technology suite

A new product to track information technology infrastructure and see what assets are connected to a company network could help long-term care administrators increase patient privacy.

Reaction management

Reaction management

So, how should I react to what that back-stabbing little blankety-blank (fake name redacted for HIPAA compliance) said or did to me?

I couldn't live without ... Best Bath Systems

I couldn't live without ... Best Bath Systems

Before recently joining Homestead Village as its project manager, Rodney Fenstermacher spent a decade remodeling and renovating showers and tubs at roughly 15 Presbyterian Senior Living facilities.

CMS supports collection of sex orientation, gender data

CMS supports collection of sex orientation, gender data

Researchers believe collecting sexual orientation and gender identity data will improve care for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender residents.

State News for April 2016

State News for April 2016

NEW YORK — The New York State Department of Health has come under fire for its perceived soft enforcement of fines against nursing homes.

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