Medicare cuts, individual mandate repeal rolled into GOP tax bill

Medicare cuts, individual mandate repeal rolled into GOP tax bill

Republican Senators on Tuesday added a provision to their tax overhaul bill that would roll back the individual insurance mandate included in the Affordable Care Act.

AARP launches lawsuit against provider over alleged resident dumping

A California long-term care facility is on the receiving end of a first-of-its-kind lawsuit from AARP. The seniors advocacy organization has accused the provider of "dumping" residents who require the most care and staff time.

FDA approves digital antipsychotic pill to track patient data

A new type of antipsychotic pill approved by the Food and Drug Administration will be able to share information about when it was taken with patients and providers — but it comes with a warning for older patients with dementia.

Also in the News for Wednesday, Nov. 15

Provider win: Florida appeals court says generator rule remains invalid ... 97% of complaints against Minnesota nursing homes never investigated ... Majority of LTC facilities lacking data interoperability, market research firm says

Providers cautiously optimistic on new HHS head

Providers cautiously optimistic on new HHS head

The nation's largest long-term care provider associations expressed optimism Monday about their future collaborations with President Donald Trump's pick to lead the Department of Health and Human Services.

'Resident for a Day' program delivers insights, recommendations for LTC leaders

A program that placed administrators-in-training into the shoes of nursing home residents helped promote person-centered care, new research finds.

CMS' readmissions reduction program linked to higher death rates for heart failure patients

The results of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' program to reduce hospital readmissions are being called into question by two new studies — with one suggesting the initiative may have the "unintended consequence" of raising patient mortality rates.

Also in the News for Tuesday, Nov. 14

Bill would make it easier for rural areas to build veterans nursing homes ... Florida nursing homes criticized for withholding emergency prep plans ... Coffee may help reduce risk of heart failure, stroke

LTC clinical nurse specialists urged to weigh in on core competencies

Clinical nurse specialists in long-term care, and their managers, are encouraged to weigh in on what specific core competencies are needed for the job. The request comes from authors working on the National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists' 2017 Draft CNS Core Competencies.

Genesis expects to save $54 million after restructuring, but future unclear

Genesis expects to save $54 million after restructuring, but future unclear

Genesis HealthCare hopes to return to form after restructuring some of its leases, according to an investor conference call last week, but the company said in a government filing that bankruptcy is not off the table.

Azar named HHS Secretary

President Donald Trump nominated Alex Azar as HHS Secretary Monday morning, tweeting that he "will be a star for better healthcare and lower drug prices!"

Also in the News for Monday, Nov. 13

Ontario will spend $115M over three years for beds, increased staffing ... Sleep apnea, Alzheimer's linked ... Alabama CNA charged with sodomy of a resident

HCR ManorCare 'vindicated' as DOJ announces plan to drop lawsuit

HCR ManorCare 'vindicated' as DOJ announces plan to drop lawsuit

The Department of Justice on Wednesday filed a motion to drop a False Claims Act lawsuit it had joined against HCR ManorCare in 2015.

ACHCA names long-term care vet McGinley president and CEO

ACHCA names long-term care vet McGinley president and CEO

The American College of Health Care Administrators announced Wednesday that it has named Bill McGinley, CNHA, CALA, CAS, FACHCA, as its new president and CEO.

Employee injury rates up in state-run skilled nursing facilities

Nursing facilities ranked as the most injury- and illness-prone state-run workplace in 2016, according to data released Thursday by the Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Also in the News for Friday, Nov. 10

New York joins OIG's list of states that failed to verify corrections of some nursing home deficiencies ... Genesis announces restructuring deal, possibility of filing for bankruptcy protection ... Trump expected to name ex-pharma exec as HHS Secretary

Racial, gender disparities among direct care workers hurting recruitment, researchers say

Racial, gender disparities among direct care workers hurting recruitment, researchers say

Women of color working in direct care roles at nursing homes are more likely to live in poverty and rely on public assistance, posing a major challenge in recruitment, a new report suggests.

Public affairs firm sued for libel by hospital involved in nursing home Hep C outbreak

The North Dakota hospital wrapped in a legal battle over one of the largest hepatitis C outbreaks in United States history has sued a public affairs firm for making false statements about its involvement.

Genesis sued in resident sex assault case

The family of a resident who authorities say was sexually assaulted at her Rhode Island facility is suing Genesis Healthcare on the grounds it could have done more to prevent the crime.

Also in the News for Thursday, Nov. 9

Study suggests more effort needed to improve rehabilitation access for black seniors ... AHCA: Tax proposal's elimination of private activity bonds could threaten providers' investments ... Proposed 'bill of rights' for Florida LTC residents 'glaringly bad,' provider group says

Medicaid chief announces new 'vision' for program — and policies to reduce regulatory burden

Medicaid chief announces new 'vision' for program — and policies to reduce regulatory burden

The future of Medicaid will include a stronger focus on the relationship between the federal and state governments, as well fewer barriers to innovation within the program, the head of the program shared on Tuesday.

Provider loses appeal in $4 million overpayment case involving statistical sampling

An Oklahoma-based home healthcare provider will have to return millions in overpayments to Medicare after a judge upheld the use of the controversial statistical sampling method in the case against it.

Grosso leaving, ASCP begins search for new CEO and executive director

The American Society of Consultant Pharmacists will begin a search for a new executive director and CEO to lead the group beginning in 2018, current top executive Frank Grosso, RPh, has announced.

Also in the News for Wednesday, Nov. 8

Hospice workers lagging at completing their own advance directives ... Aging population drove up U.S. health spending by nearly 12% ... Pennsylvania to push back switch to managed Medicaid for LTC for 1 year

MedPAC suggests 2-year, incremental transition to new post-acute pay plan

MedPAC suggests 2-year, incremental transition to new post-acute pay plan

Long-term care providers could see changes to their payment system as early as 2019 under an incremental transition period being considered by the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission.

Life Care Centers to adopt service animal policy following ADA complaint

Life Care Centers of America will be implementing a new service animal policy across its more than 200 long-term care facilities following a settlement of service animal-related complaint, authorities announced Friday.

Fortune magazine to publish 'Best Workplaces in Aging Services' list

Top long-term care providers and other aging services entities will rise to new national prominence next September. That's when Fortune magazine will publish its first "Best Workplaces in Aging Services" list.

Also in the News for Tuesday, Nov. 7

Petition calls for probe into governor's handling of Hollywood Hills deaths ... GAO requests increased Medicare oversight to reduce opioid risks ... House subcommittee to hear provider perspective during hearing on value-based pay

Telescopic cells aid high-risk patients

Patients who spend more than eight hours a day in a wheelchair have a far lower incidence of pressure ulcers when it is equipped with a single-compartment or multi-compartment air cushion using telescopic cells.

Steady-release dressing has promise for chronic wounds

Steady-release dressing has promise for chronic wounds

A new, semi-occlusive wound dressing that provides continuous delivery of topical healing agents shows promise in the treatment of chronic wounds that need steady treatment.

Ask the Treatment Expert about ... skin integrity meetings

Ask the Treatment Expert about ... skin integrity meetings

How can we make our skin integrity meetings proactive and prevent pressure injuries?

New option for readmissions analytics

Medline Industries and Real Time Medical Systems announced a partnership in October geared to reducing hospital readmissions.

Expanded wound care line includes silver dressings

Expanded wound care line includes silver dressings

Dynarex, citing an increased demand from customers, has added new products to its Advanced Wound Care Line, including silver- and honey-based dressings.

When drones attack

When drones attack

It's your job to think about the future, so we definitely need to talk about drones in long-term care. Not the one who delivered that boring 100-slide PowerPoint at your last facility all-staff. I mean the kind that will soon fill the skies of the future like a swarm of ravenous grasshoppers.

Where Are They Now: Rosewood

Where Are They Now: Rosewood

The residents at Rosewood, a life plan community in Bakersfield, CA, break the stereotype that older adults aren't interested in technology — and they do it with an "incredible appetite" for learning new tech.

Telemanagement helps trim readmissions from facilities

Telemanagement helps trim readmissions from facilities

Heart failure patients whose conditions are monitored using a telemanagement system may be less likely to be readmitted to the hospital from a post-acute care facility, according to the results of a recent study.

State News for November 2017

State News for November 2017

LeadingAge Florida filed a legal challenge in late September over Gov. Rick Scott's (R) emergency mandate following Hurricane Irma. The provider organization is arguing the rule would "create an emergency rather than solve one."

Staff key to better resident oral health

Improved caregiver education can help residents maintain oral health over longer periods, according to research published in Community Dentistry and Oral Epidemiology in September.

Objective screenings tend to improve delirium diagnoses

Objective screenings tend to improve delirium diagnoses

Nurses and others who screen hospital patients for delirium tend to disagree on the diagnosis, according to a longitudinal study of three centers in the Netherlands.

Ask the Care Expert about ... fluids for UTIs

Ask the Care Expert about ... fluids for UTIs

Some of my nurses believe that one way to assist with some UTI treatments is to increase fluids. What is your thought on increasing them?

Data testing now a reality

Beta testing of standardized data elements for post-acute care will start this month in 14 geographic markets, according to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

CMS withdraws proposal to aid same-sex spouses in LTC

CMS withdraws proposal to aid same-sex spouses in LTC

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services withdrew a proposed rule in October originally aimed at ensuring rights for married same-sex couples in long-term care facilities.

Ask the Payment Expert about ... facility assessments

Ask the Payment Expert about ... facility assessments

Can you tell me more about the Facility Assessment that will be implemented in Phase 2 of the Rules of Participation?

Genworth: SNF room charges rise 5.5%

Annual nursing home charges have continued to rise at a healthy clip, fueled by higher labor costs and federal rules that drive sicker patients downstream quicker.

AHCA, LeadingAge push for lawmakers to delay Phase 2

AHCA, LeadingAge push for lawmakers to delay Phase 2

The American Health Care Association and LeadingAge both urged the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services this fall to push back the next phase of upcoming requirements of participation for long-term care providers. At production deadline it was unclear if they will have succeeded.

60 Seconds with ... Richard Juman

60 Seconds with ... Richard Juman

For providers that still have high rates of antipsychotics, there's a goal to decrease the rate by 15% by the end of 2019. Is this feasible?

RN, LPN salaries on the rise

Registered nurses and licensed practical nurses are seeing notable pay increases, but gender equity is lagging, according to a new survey.

Field for the new HHS chief includes celebs

Field for the new HHS chief includes celebs

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma and television personality Mehmet Oz, M.D., are rumored to be on a list of potential candidates to replace former Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, M.D.

Staff talk not a help for this

A program meant to improve communication among nursing home staff didn't help reduce falls in facilities, a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine showed.

Sleep meds linked to falls

Older people who take sleep medications for insomnia may be increasing their risk of falls, according to new research from Penn State investigators.

Goal: 15% drop in psych drugs

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is hoping that providers can add to their success when it comes to further lowering the use of antipsychotic medications in nursing homes.

Ready, set, go? LTC bracing for Phase 2

Ready, set, go? LTC bracing for Phase 2

Despite a push from the post-acute care industry to delay implementation of Phase 2 requirements of participation guidelines under the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, providers at press time were still planning to be ready to go with them on Nov. 28.

Hospitals slam MedPAC's plan

Hospitals slam MedPAC's plan

The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission's proposed unified post-acute payment system is "unworkable as a foundation," the American Hospital Association said in September.

Not the usual small talk

Not the usual small talk

Sabra Health Care REIT chairman and CEO Rick Matros recently tweaked more than a few noses when he made some rather disparaging remarks about the benefits of investing in large skilled-care companies. As he sees it, there pretty much are none.

Nurses need YouTube image help: study

The nursing profession could use an image boost, according to an analysis of videos in searches for "nurses" and "nursing" on the video-sharing website YouTube.

Disinfectant exposure may increase nurses' COPD risk

Disinfectant exposure may increase nurses' COPD risk

Nurses who regularly use bleach and other disinfectants on the job appear to have a higher risk of developing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), according to research presented in September at the European Respiratory Society International Congress.

Ask the Nursing Expert about ... staff competencies

Ask the Nursing Expert about ... staff competencies

Is it true that during new survey process, surveyors will ask staff nurses and nursing assistants about their competencies, with questions such as, "Do you receive periodic evaluations on your skills, knowledge, and abilities? If so, how often?" "In what areas have you been assessed?" "In what areas do you believe you need more assistance or training?"

SNF worker fired after Facebook request

A Florida nursing home fired one of its nursing assistants in September after she requested help for the facility on Facebook in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma.

Training clears facility, not aides, in heat-related death

Training clears facility, not aides, in heat-related death

Two former caretakers at an Illinois long-term care facility have been charged with Class 3 felony counts of criminal neglect in the death of a 69-year-old resident with developmental disabilities, who was left in a van for several hours with outside temperatures above 90 degrees.

Ask the Legal Expert about ... understaffing lawsuits

Ask the Legal Expert about ... understaffing lawsuits

I read about a state supreme court upholding class-action status for a lawsuit alleging "chronic understaffing." How do we insulate ourselves from such allegations?

How to do it ... Upward mobility plans

Upward mobility is a common interest among professionals, particularly in long-term care. How to achieve it, and market oneself properly for it, are important considerations that need a deft touch. Experts here offer advice on how long-term care pros can polish their resume and present themselves in the best light.

Feed the patient and starve the wound

Feed the patient and starve the wound

There's new thinking around the role that good nutrition plays in healing ulcers

Worth the risk

Worth the risk

Owners and operators of long-term care facilities can entice increasingly discerning financial partners into niche projects — if they go about it the right way

ManorCare CEO bows out

HCR ManorCare announced in late September that its long-time president and CEO, Paul Ormond, would step down after more than three decades at the company.

Sabra CEO: biggest providers simply 'can't do it anymore'

Sabra CEO: biggest providers simply 'can't do it anymore'

Instead of building mass by stringing together operators with national reach, skilled nursing operators and owners should instead concentrate on finding smaller, nimble partners.

Happy horses, happy residents

Happy horses, happy residents

An executive at Centers Health Care approached Gayle Kirschenbaum with an idea: Create a mini-horse therapy program in the company's long-term care facilities.

Don't look 'over there' to fix staffing over here

Don't look 'over there' to fix staffing over here

Whether you're Republican, Democrat or independent, you might do well to listen to Newt Gingrich, the former House Speaker.

Reader Poll: How do you make the holidays special for your residents?

"At Levindale, to celebrate the Jewish holiday of Chanukah, the eight-day Festival of Lights, we light the menorah, community choirs sing, and we have intergenerational programs. Our residents show off their talents by playing Chanukah songs on the piano or playing the bells in the Bell Tones choir. Of course, we also have a Chanukah party with potato latkes (pancakes), reminiscing and more singing!"

GOP tax cut plan could force providers to close up shop, group says

GOP tax cut plan could force providers to close up shop, group says

A tax cuts bill released Thursday by House lawmakers could be "devastating" for long-term care providers, according to the nation's largest nonprofit provider group.

Judge orders DOJ to pay legal fees for HCR ManorCare in rehab claims case

The Department of Justice will have to pay HCR ManorCare legal fees after a judge slammed its handling of a whistleblower case against the provider.

Family's appeal denied by court in resident wheelchair death case

A Mississippi appeals court on Tuesday upheld a decision to dismiss a case against a Biloxi nursing home accused of negligence when a resident fell out of a wheelchair.

Also in the News for Monday, Nov. 6

House votes to repeal Medicare payment panel ... RNs better than LPNs at identifying medication issues in nursing homes, study shows ... New Physician Fee Schedule will make it easier for ACOs to get 3-day skilled nursing waiver

CMS wants more comments on possible overhaul of therapy pay rules

CMS wants more comments on possible overhaul of therapy pay rules

Despite the closing of the official comment period, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services officials said Thursday they will still accept feedback from providers on a proposal to replace the current skilled nursing therapy reimbursement method.

Sabra's Matros: 'No qualms' about Signature and possible bankruptcy proceedings

The CEO and chairman of Sabra Health Care REIT, Rick Matros, said Thursday he would have no issue with going through bankruptcy proceedings for tenant Signature Healthcare as a way to "cleanse" its balance sheet.

4-in-1 flu vaccine to provide lifelong coverage?

New research shows a vaccine combining genes from four strains of influenza may one day prevail as a universal flu shot.

Also in the News for Friday, Nov. 3

Study finds no race-based differences in post-acute stroke rehab ... Embracing new images of seniors may help fight negative stereotypes, experts say ... Former SNF resident, 79, sentenced to 2 years in prison for sexual abuse against fellow resident

LTC workers do better at staying home when sick, government says

LTC workers do better at staying home when sick, government says

Employees in long-term care settings stay home while sick more often than their cohorts working in hospitals, but there's room for improvement across the healthcare industry, a new study finds.

Home care funding cuts could drive up SNF occupancy

Possible massive funding costs in the home healthcare sector could send more residents into institutional long-term care facilities — but that switch could mean higher costs for the Medicare program, experts warn.

HHS wants input on obstacles facing faith-based providers

The Department of Health and Human Services wants to hear from faith-based healthcare providers about any challenges or obstacles they face participating in federal healthcare programs, according to a recent notice.

Also in the News for Thursday, Nov. 2

Florida provider groups head back to court over generator rules ... Spirituality, personalized activities can boost residents' purpose in life, study finds... State attorneys to hit drugmakers over generic price fixing

Profile: Steve Fleming

Profile: Steve Fleming

While Steve Fleming refers to it as "a hobby that went out of control," he has no doubt that being a college football official has taught him great lessons.

Providers can't wait until discovery requests to understand EHRs, experts say

Providers can't wait until discovery requests to understand EHRs, experts say

NEW ORLEANS — With both electronic health record use and litigation on the rise in the long-term care space, providers need to understand how best to secure their data in order to avoid stepping into a "hornet's nest" of legal risk, experts stressed Tuesday.

DOL to appeal court's decision to dump overtime rule

President Donald Trump's administration will attempt to revisit an Obama-era law on overtime pay, the Department of Labor announced Monday.

Hospice provider to pay record-setting $75 million false claims settlement

The nation's largest for-profit hospice provider and its parent company have agreed to pay $75 million to settle allegations that it submitted false Medicare claims for hospice services, authorities said Monday.

Also in the News for Wednesday, Nov. 1

Person-centered care creates more satisfied residents, study asserts ... Researchers working to create 'real-world' advance care planning system for SNFs ... Fifteen percent of U.S. providers earn 'Best Nursing Home' distinction

New survey process has 'learning curve for everybody,' CMS official says

New survey process has 'learning curve for everybody,' CMS official says

NEW ORLEANS — The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' new survey process for nursing homes will challenge the sector with a "learning curve," but providers can stay on top of it by utilizing the agency's training resources, one CMS official advised on Monday.

Catholic Health System to pay $6 million to settle false rehab claims allegations

A New York-based healthcare system has agreed to pay $6 million to settle allegations that it submitted false Medicare and Medicaid claims for skilled nursing services, authorities announced on Friday.

Managers need better understanding of nurses' stress, burnout, study shows

Healthcare managers have a "big role" when it comes to the health and stress levels of the nurses they employ, according to the authors of a new study on stress in nursing. In particular, they lamented a lack of understanding or appreciation of burnout.

Also in the News for Tuesday, Oct. 31

CMS announces second initiative to combat regulatory burden ... SNF sued over death of resident who caught fire while smoking ... Nearly 30% of healthcare payments now tied to alternative pay models

Two dozen senators ask HHS for delay of requirements of participation

Two dozen senators ask HHS for delay of requirements of participation

With just over one month to go before the regulations kick in, a group of senators has sent a letter to federal health officials asking for a delay of Phase 2 of the requirements of participation.

Bundled payment participants wary of SNF 3-day stay waiver, report finds

Less than half of the providers eligible to use the three-day hospital stay waiver through the Bundled Payments for Care Improvement initiative actually utilize it, a new report shows.

Nursing home win: Florida judge nixes governor's emergency generator rule

Florida Gov. Rick Scott's (R) emergency mandates for generators in nursing homes and assisted living facilities was shut down Friday by an administrative law judge, who slammed the rules as "invalid exercises" of the governor's authority.

Also in the News for Monday, Oct. 30

CMS kicks off initiative to let providers focus on patients, not paperwork ... CMS releases clarifications on immediate imposition of remedies, nurse aide training waivers ... Administrator 'not shocked' that NY woman missing for 42 years was found at his MA facility

Employee mandatory flu shot policy provokes outrage — and a lawsuit

Employee mandatory flu shot policy provokes outrage — and a lawsuit

A Minnesota-based healthcare provider that operates long-term care facilities, hospitals and clinics is on the receiving end of a lawsuit slamming its mandatory influenza vaccination policy.

Post-acute providers putting billions into regulatory compliance, report finds

The healthcare industry spends roughly $39 billion annually on regulatory compliance efforts, with post-acute care providers bearing the brunt, a new report shows.

ACOs saved Medicare more than $700 million in 2016

Accountable care organizations participating in Medicare's Shared Savings and Pioneer models saved the program roughly $713 million last year — nearly double the amount of savings recorded in 2015.

Also in the News for Friday, Oct. 27

House passes budget resolution with $1.3 trillion in healthcare cuts ... Outpatient antibiotic use, ER visits may raise risk for C. diff ... Missed visits, neglect common among hospice patients, investigation finds

'Complete management failure' led to Hollywood Hills nursing home deaths, CMS official says

'Complete management failure' led to Hollywood Hills nursing home deaths, CMS official says

Recent hurricanes in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico have led to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services wanting to boost its emergency preparedness plans nationwide for future natural disasters, an official with the agency said Tuesday.

Veterans may have better access to LTC services under proposed bill

Legislation that would make it easier for long-term care providers to enter into care agreements with the Department of Veterans Affairs was introduced in the House on Tuesday.

Oklahoma budget shortfall could send 10,000 home care patients into nursing homes

Budget cuts in Oklahoma may kill a program aimed at keeping seniors in their homes, resulting in up to 10,000 home care patients needing to move into nursing homes, according to local reports.