Assisted living residents with dementia receiving too many antipsychotics, GAO says

Assisted living residents with dementia receiving too many antipsychotics, GAO says

Government investigators are calling for greater scrutiny of antipsychotics use among dementia patients in post-acute settings beyond nursing homes.

ArchCare to pay $3.5M to settle rehab billing complaint

A New York nursing home chain agreed Monday to pay $3.5 million to settle government allegations it failed to prevent a rehab subcontractor from overbilling Medicare for therapy.

OIG: Government should consider more drug substitution

Drug substitutions saved the government $13 million last year, but more drug substitutions under Medicare Part B would have saved an additional $6 million, the Office of Inspector General for Health and Human Services concluded in a recent report to Congress.

Also in the News for Tuesday, March 3

Blood thinners advised for everyone with atrial fibrillation over age 65 ... Family of assisted living resident files suit over allegations he was beaten to death by fellow resident ... Pennsylvania governor seeks to move 5,500 seniors out of nursing homes and into home-based services

Lowering rehospitalization rates a focus at Online Expo

Lowering rehospitalization rates a focus at Online Expo

While providers have made some progress with reducing rehospitalizations, the era of managed care organizations and better hospital partnerships means new strategies are needed. Attendees at the McKnight's Online Expo this month will learn nursing practices to reduce rehospitalizations and attract partners during the Quality session.

New Medicare ACO to be unveiled soon

The government's top health insurer has announced that providers could get a first look at a new type of Medicare accountable care organization this month. It has been modeled closely after a controversial managed care program and includes new waivers for skilled nursing facilities.

Controversial Medicare auditors group changes name, website

A Medicare payment watchdog group saddled with huge case backlogs and heavily criticized for causing delays in resolving reimbursement issues has changed its name and location on the web.

Fasting — with limits — may be linked to longer life, less disease, researchers say

Periods of fasting could be one way to sidestep some chronic illnesses such as diabetes, and add years to one's life. Meanwhile, consecutive daily fasting supplemented with antioxidants could actually hinder those perceived benefits, University of Florida researchers said Friday.

Also in the News for Monday, March 2

PA, doc arrested for allegations of $2.4M in Medicare, Medicaid fraud ... Extendicare closing headquarters; close to 300 jobs lost ... Wilkes law firm targets PA nursing home in ad

'Observation status' provision under further review

'Observation status' provision under further review

The American Health Care Association on Thursday applauded a House measure that would inform Medicare beneficiaries of their observation status as hospital inpatient or outpatients. But that might be little consolation for skilled nursing facilities that face the prospect of not getting reimbursed after such observation periods.

Solutions for dehydration in seniors stump researchers

Despite decades and nearly two dozen studies on dehydration in the frail elderly, very little conclusive evidence exists on its causes or solutions, a research team reported Wednesday in the Annals of Long-Term Care.

LGBT residents deserve better: geriatric society

The American Geriatric Society on Wednesday issued a broad policy statement calling for long-term care health professionals to "pioneer" procedures and policies designed to more equitably and fairly treat lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals.

Also in the News for Friday, February 27

Assisted living employee arrested after camera catches alleged abuse ... FDA approves antibiotic as option for complicated UTIs ... C.diff rate rising, CDC says

Providers ponder prospect of Supreme Court killing Obamacare

Providers ponder prospect of Supreme Court killing Obamacare

Individuals struggling to make ends meet and long-term care providers relying on a solvent Medicaid program could be on opposite ends of the verdict when the U.S. Supreme Court begins deliberations on a lawsuit trying to kill the Affordable Care Act.

White House defends MedPAC 'replacement' panel in Supreme Court brief

The federal government this week argued to the Supreme Court that a lower court was correct when it dismissed challenges to a payment review provision in the Affordable Care Act. Long-term care providers are among those who had hoped the challenges would be successful.

Study: Shorter hospital stays hike death risk, rehab problems after hip fracture

Older patients need longer hospital stays after hip fractures or risk premature death, researchers assert this week in the British Medical Journal.

Also in the News for Thursday, February 26

AHCA members testify on Capitol Hill on health IT....DME vendor pleads guilty in $5M scheme ... Doc who illegally prescribed Oxycodone sentenced ... FBI moves closer to nailing Anthem hackers

Also in the News for Wednesday, February 25

LTC insurance companies paid out $7.8 billion in claims in 2014 ... New drug effective against drug-resistant tuberculosis ... PA changes inspection report disclaimer on lawsuits

Medicaid expansion plans fade in several states

Medicaid expansion plans fade in several states

Several so-called "red states" are leaning toward or have outright abandoned plans to allow expansion of their Medicaid programs, bucking a nationwide groundswell of program enrollment under the president's signature healthcare reform law.

Slavitt, Conway rise in rank at CMS

A number of internal promotions and a few staff acquisitions from a Health and Human Services' insurance unit highlight a series of leadership changes at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, it was announced on Monday.

Alzheimer's resident faces possible homicide charge in roommate death

An 87-year old man with advanced Alzheimer's was being held this week under suspicion of beating a fellow Alzheimer's resident and roommate to death in a Lakewood, CO, assisted living facility.

Court: Provider must face federal upcoding charges

A federal judge has ruled that a hospitalist company with thousands of post-acute care customers must face federal charges that it overbilled the Medicare and Medicaid programs millions of dollars.

Studies find chronic illness could increase dementia risk in the impaired

British researchers say they have found a conclusive link between dementia and certain existing chronic illnesses in the cognitively impaired, a finding that lends more credible evidence associating co-morbidities with memory-related diseases and the positive results from early intervention.

Justice Department investigating Humana billing practices

Humana Inc. reports that it is cooperating with a Department of Justice inquiry into whether it exaggerated the severity of elderly patients' illnesses to generate higher Medicare reimbursements.

Also in the news for Tuesday, February 24

AHA asks AHRQ to reduce survey burden by considering emailed or web-based surveys. ... Assisted living resident, who allegedly pointed gun, shot by police officer ... Obama administration proposes Food Safety Administration, to be housed under HHS

Officials: More additions and rebasings of nursing home ratings to come

Officials: More additions and rebasings of nursing home ratings to come

Nearly one-third of the nation's skilled nursing facilities lost a rating star due purely to administrative changes Friday, when regulators also emphasized that more quality measures will be added next year — when another round of Five Star scores rebasing also could take place.

ManorCare counterattacks law firm in 'deceptive' ad suit

Toledo-based HCR ManorCare landed a punch last week against a Houston law firm it is suing for libel, defamation and deceptive trade practices. The giant nursing home chain has asked the judge in the case to remand it to an Ohio state court after the defendant used a tactic that argued the case should be heard in U.S. District Court.

New statins study claims 'illusion' of safety and efficacy

Cholesterol was big news last week as the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee declared the links between dietary and blood cholesterol are a moot point. Now, yet another study is casting aspersions on cholesterol-maintenance drugs.

Telemonitoring costs disappoint

Once touted as a viable, emerging cost-effective care option, telemedicine may not be the savior some forecast it to be, Mayo Clinic and Purdue University researchers concluded recently.

Also in the news for Monday,February 23, 2015

Providers want dialysis facilities star-rating system changed ... Call for action for end-of-life care in nursing homes ... Web tool to help seniors decide: independent or facility? ... Lower BP lowers risk of dying with Type 2 diabetes.

Medicaid program faces long-term risks: congresswoman

Medicaid program faces long-term risks: congresswoman

Congress and various long-term care industry stakeholders need to work better together to ensure the viability of services in the coming years, seniors and their advocates were told Thursday in the first of a series of nationwide forums designed to shape public policy.

Hospice pays $6.5 million fine to settle fraud case

A New York hospice provider Wednesday agreed to pay approximately $6.5 million in fines to settle alleged false Medicare and Medicaid claims over a 16-month period.

PA facility tries crowd-funding to replace TVs

A Pennsylvania nursing home recently tapped the growing crowd-funding craze to raise money to help its residents upgrade their dated televisions.

Also in the News for Friday, February 20

Florida, at long last, plans to add nursing home beds ... Lucentis, Eyelea and Avastin mostly equivalent in treating diabetic macular edema ... Statins may not create Parkinson's risk reduction

RAC groups battle provider plea for short-stay payment relief

RAC groups battle provider plea for short-stay payment relief

Third-party firms that audit Medicare bills for payment issues are pushing back hard against a hospital association plea for more favorable short-stay reimbursements, adding to the ongoing unwelcome specter of audits among all providers, including those in long-term care.

Medicaid expansion leading HCBS programs to rethink strategy: Researchers

Researchers on Wednesday proposed ways to better identify the most susceptible nursing home candidates in order to ease the expected burden on programs designed to keep the chronically ill and frail elderly at home.

Using multiple blood pressure drugs linked to higher mortality

Long-heralded for saving lives, blood pressure medicines could have serious consequences among the over-80 elderly with low systolic blood pressure when multiple kinds are used, researchers announced this week.

Also in the News for Thursday, February 19

Illinois governor seeks deep cuts to Medicaid ... Nursing home applications got backlogged because TennCare stopped having state employees process them, paper says ... NYT examines nursing home bankruptcy protections

Annual McKnight's Online Expo returns March 25-26

Annual McKnight's Online Expo returns March 25-26

The 9th Annual McKnight's Online Expo will take place March 25-26 and again offer up to five free continuing education credits to attendees. Registration is ongoing.

CMS delays repayment final rule a year

CMS delays repayment final rule a year

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services on Tuesday made official its plan to postpone implementation of a new rule on collecting hundreds of millions of dollars in overpayments until Feb. 16, 2016 — but providers remain on the hook for returning the money before then.

Federal judge orders the return of $90 million in Medicaid credits

The state of Georgia may be the mouse that roared after convincing a federal court last week to force the government to return a bungled $90 million credit, even after ruling Health & Human Services had every right to reject the state's request.

Swelling Medicaid rolls have states, providers worried

California's Medicaid-eligible rolls are swelling as part of a nationwide expansion of the program under the Affordable Care Act, a finding that should give other states' Medicaid agencies pause over the coming year.

Also in the News for Wednesday, February 18

Oklahoma jury recommends $1.2M in damages to family of nursing home resident ... NY nursing home lawsuit settled for $750,000 ... Nurses can increase physical activity in older adults

Bill would speed DEA approval, curb drug misappropriations

Bill would speed DEA approval, curb drug misappropriations

A Congressional panel late last week sent two bills to the House designed to curb prescription drug abuse and streamline Drug Enforcement Agency scheduling of approved controlled substances.

Senior centers should lower the music, research advises

The positive benefits of music for the frail elderly abound in medical literature, but new research suggests music that is too loud may be more harmful than helpful.

State moves toward separately housing violent SNF residents

Iowa moved one step closer to a plan that would transfer violent public nursing home residents to a segregated government- or private agency-managed facility using state money.

Also in the news for Tuesday, February 17

Nursing home doctor pleads guilty, admits to $600,000 in kickbacks ... FDA releases compounding pharmacy draft documents ... House bill would repeal Health Insurance Tax

Nursing homes to have first look at new quality-rating provisions today

Nursing homes to have first look at new quality-rating provisions today

Concerned providers will get their first look today at a newly rebased quality measurement scale under Nursing Home Compare 3.0

Medicare, Medicaid stay on 'high risk' list

Medicare overpayment issues and poor Medicaid data are two of many problems keeping long-term care's biggest payers on a government watch list of "high-risk" programs, according to a new General Accountability Office report.

Law would enforce nursing home malpractice caps

In a case that could have broad implications for providers nationwide, West Virginia lawmakers on Wednesday inched closer to passing a law that could place caps on jury awards in nursing home malpractice suits.

TV report questions nursing homes' influence on regulators

A TV station alleged Wednesday that Pennsylvania's largest nursing home provider group may have undue influence over state regulators.

Also in the news for Friday, February 13

CMS issues ruling related to DOMA demise ... President Obama criticizes Staples for approach to healthcare coverage ... Glaucoma patients have better adherence with generic drug, study finds

Changes to Five Star expected, providers fear lower ratings

Changes to Five Star expected, providers fear lower ratings

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is expected to unveil major changes to Nursing Home Compare today that could cause facilities to lose rating stars, according to industry sources.

Private insurers improperly costing Medicaid funds: GAO

Efforts to stop improper Medicaid payouts for people with private insurance need to be intensified or the program could lose millions of dollars as it continues to expand, the Government Accountability Office warns in a recent report to Congress.

State ombudsman programs must follow federal rules, HHS says

The Department of Health and Human Services is giving states until July 1, 2016 to get in step with long-established federal guidelines governing the Long-Term Care Ombudsman program.

Study finds more powerful links between isolation and illness

Canadian scientists have broken new ground while studying the relationship between chronic illness and abject loneliness, according to new research published Wednesday.

Also in the news for Thursday, February 12

AstraZeneca to pay $8 million to settle kickback claims ... Camera alleged to have caught nursing home worker hitting resident ... Potential Green House for WY veterans moves forward

Also in the news for Wednesday, February 11

Eating food contaminated with L. monocytogene can cause a serious infection in the elderly ... Wisconsin dentists beleaguered by number of Medicaid patients .. Wall Street Journal raises questions around ACA plaintiffs

Pivotal hearing on ICD-10 implementation today: Time to join 'the rest of the world'

Pivotal hearing on ICD-10 implementation today: Time to join 'the rest of the world'

Payors, clinicians, suppliers and other staunch advocates of long-awaited ICD-10 codes will urge a House panel today to keep pushing its planned October 1 implementation date.

State disputes OIG findings, won't seek $9 million via competitive bidding

The New York Department of Health will not competitively bid durable medical equipment despite a new OIG report that says the state could have saved its Medicaid program nearly $9 million over a two-year period.

Report slams nursing home sex abuse probes

A television station's investigative team asserted Monday that nursing home sexual abuse incidents in Texas are not thoroughly investigated, and that state officials may not be doing enough to protect victims.

Drop in antipsychotics use surpasses providers' expectations

Drop in antipsychotics use surpasses providers' expectations

Leaders at the American Health Care Association said Monday they plan to keep the momentum going and further curb antipsychotic use in nursing homes after learning that a nearly 20% three-year decline exceeded their own expectations.

Providers complain to feds about ACO structure, want more incentives

A new rule proposing sweeping changes to the Medicare accountable care model offers few incentives and could dissuade greater participation, 34 leading healthcare organizations and industry groups said Friday in a joint letter to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

ICD-10 transition going better than expected for healthcare operators

Despite two delays and a host of costly implementation issues over the past year, most healthcare providers will likely make a successful transition to the 10th round of ICD codes, a General Accountability Office report has concluded.

Also in the news for Tuesday, February 10

Hospice company settles False Claims Act allegations for $4 million ... Colorado says no to right-to-die legislation ... NYT examines Obamacare's issue for GOP ... PA recovers $1.8 million for long-term care funds

Brookdale shareholder demands spinoff, management changes

Embattled Brookdale Senior Living is being asked by a major shareholder to spin off its real estate holdings and revamp its governance board in light of less than-expected stock performance and so-called "recent integration missteps" after its recent acquisition of Emeritus Corp.

Medicare Advantage funding could be cut

Supporters of Medicare Advantage program are roundly criticizing President Obama's fiscal 2016 budget plan to slash more than $36 billion in its funding over the coming decade.

New report highlights need for Alzheimer's research

A new report has compelled one of the leading advocates for Alzheimer's research in the U.S. Senate to renew a call on the federal government to significantly boost research funding for the disease, or face a near quadrupling of treatment costs over the coming decades.

Also in the news for Monday, February 9

Regulators OK lung cancer screening for Medicare beneficiaries ... Anthem hackers suspected to have accessed personal information, including Social Security numbers ...15% of meaningful use Stage 2-eligible professionals have attested to the program's requirements, ONC says

Minnix on leaving: Nonprofits will continue to lead the way

Minnix on leaving: Nonprofits will continue to lead the way

In this exclusive interview with McKnight's Editorial Director John O'Connor, LeadingAge CEO and President Larry Minnix shares his thoughts on his upcoming retirement, which he announced late Thursday.

Provider groups push for RAC reform

Hospital industry groups said Thursday they'd rather the government reform the Recovery Audit Contractor program than simply throw more money at fixing an onerous backlog of more than 800,000 Medicare appeals cases.

Fellow resident a suspect in SNF death after shove, will undergo evaluation

A 66-year-old Michigan nursing home resident suspected in last week's death of a fellow resident will undergo evaluations, Berrien County prosecutors announced.

Compound found in grapes, peanuts may help prevent memory loss

The same compound thought to be good for aging hearts may be good for elderly brains as well, researchers announced recently. In fact, it could potentially help people with neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's.

LeadingAge CEO Minnix announces retirement

LeadingAge CEO Minnix announces retirement

LeadingAge's president and CEO of nearly 15 years, Larry Minnix, will retire by the end of 2015, the organization announced late Thursday.

Also in the news for Friday, February 6

CATO blogger calls nursing home lobbyists parasites ... Tennessee Medicaid expansion plan fails ... HHS to release draft adult immunization plan Friday.

ACA replacement to be unveiled Thursday

On the heels of Wednesday's House vote to repeal Obamacare, three Republican congressmen plan to introduce legislation Thursday that would replace the president's signature healthcare law.

More red states considering Medicaid expansion

Republican lawmakers in several states are using the Affordable Care Act to draw upon federal dollars and expand the Medicaid program, a notion the long-term care industry fears will sap much-needed funding in the coming years.

Also in the News for Thursday, February 5

Expert weighs in on whether the Obama budget is the end of Medicaid for nursing homes ... Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology announces $36 million in funding, including training for healthcare workers for new technology ... Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) says the agency that runs Obamacare and Medicare should be spilt from the Department of Health and Human Services.

NH nursing home owners fighting back against cuts

New Hampshire's nursing homes, which have been on the block since 2015 dawned for a potential $7 million payment cut, are now fighting back.

Survey: Assisted living salaries solid, vacancy rates stable

Survey: Assisted living salaries solid, vacancy rates stable

Administrators in assisted living earned a median salary of $80,830 in 2014, an increase of more than 2% over the previous year, according to a comprehensive new report. Chefs, cooks and sous chefs all saw salaries rise.

Forum choice not integral to arbitration contract, judge says

Forum choice not integral to arbitration contract, judge says

In a victory for a Georgia nursing home, a listed forum for arbitration was not an integral part of the document signed by a resident's mother, a federal judge has ruled.

'Superagers' have different brains

Often referred to as the "cognitive elite," or "superagers," sharp-thinking seniors close to either side of 100 have brains that could yield changes in memory care and treatment for diseases like dementia and Alzheimer's, according to new research.

California mulls assisted living cameras

California may allow some form of videotaping in assisted living facilities, following mounting pressures from concerned families and positive outcomes from an Orange County facility that installed the devices years ago.

Also in the news for Wednesday, February 4

Beloved nursing home therapy dog shot in Kansas ... Food and Drug Administration is requesting a budget of $4.9 billion ... System for monitoring side effects of prescription drugs is severely lacking, report says.

2016 budget aims for $400 billion in Medicare reductions

2016 budget aims for $400 billion in Medicare reductions

Nursing homes will be asked to deliver care much more efficiently and for significantly less over the next 10 years based on proposals in the 2016 budget released by the White House on Monday.

Non-drug interventions reduce delirium: study

Providers could reduce rates of delirium and its attendant injuries from falls and save the healthcare system $10 billion a year if they practiced better interventions, according to a new study.

CMS proposes expanding Medicare coverage for HIV screening

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has proposed a plan to provide high-risk individuals over 65 coverage for one annual voluntary Human Immunodeficiency Virus screening.

Also in the news for Tuesday, February 3

Estate of AL resident sues over motorized scooter collision ... Three-part series investigates history of Lemington Home for the Aged ... Common antibiotics given with diuretic double sudden death risk in older patients

Facility changes name after double homicide

A Texas nursing home rocked by a resident-on-resident double homicide last spring has changed its name, according to a Houston Chronicle report.

Also in the news for Monday, February 2

ONC releases "roadmap" for interoperability; comments accepted through April 3...Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services extends temporary moratoria on new ambulances and home health in certain regions....2,000 veterans are waiting to get into nursing homes in Missouri

CMS to ease reporting rules for EHR Incentive program

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has proposed easing the reporting rules for providers implementing electronic health records, which could come as good news for long-term care providers increasingly pushed to move to adopt EHR in an effort to improve care transitions and become a part of bundled payment systems.

House hearing to address flu response Tuesday

House hearing to address flu response Tuesday

As nursing homes and other facilities continue to grapple with higher-than-usual numbers of flu cases this season, federal lawmakers on Tuesday will convene to learn how effective the public health response has been.

Ask the care expert ... about tube feeding practices

Ask the care expert ... about tube feeding practices

No matter how often we train our nurses on tube feedings, we still are seeing increases of aspiration pneumonia. Is there something we may be missing during training?

LTC urged to prepare for lousy weather

New federal guidelines that outline climate threats to the healthcare system find nursing homes are more vulnerable during extreme weather and are less resilient afterward.

Social media prep improves residents' well-being: study

Social media prep improves residents' well-being: study

Social media training improves the well-being of nursing home residents while also helping them connect with family and friends, according to a two-year British study.

60 seconds with ... Kathleen Unroe, M.D.

60 seconds with ... Kathleen Unroe, M.D.

Q: How do you describe your CMS-funded project to reduce avoidable hospitalizations, which just recorded a successful first year?

SNF pay has gotten worse, MedPAC says

Efforts to reform Medicare have actually damaged the way nursing home operators are being reimbursed, according to a new report from the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission and the Urban Institute. Report authors call for prompt, drastic changes.

Several rehab organizations blast site-neutral approach

Several rehab organizations blast site-neutral approach

While skilled care organizations are welcoming the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission's vote for limited site-neutral payments, rehab providers remain strongly opposed.

Poor reporting of sex abuse

Nursing homes often inadequately handle instances of resident sexual abuse, according to a literature review.

Antibiotic could be MRSA killer

A newly discovered type of antibiotic could be an antidote for fatal infections that plague long-term care facilities, according to findings in Nature.

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