$125 million SNF settlement contributes to $1 billion bump in fraud recoveries

$125 million SNF settlement contributes to $1 billion bump in fraud recoveries

The $125 million settlement by Kindred Healthcare Inc. and a $30 million settlement with North American Health Care over therapy claims are counted among recoupments by the federal government that totaled $3.3 billion in fiscal year 2016.

Price confirmation hearing focuses on ACA replacement, investments

Democratic senators used the first confirmation hearing for Department of Health and Human Services nominee Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) to grill the surgeon-turned-lawmaker on how the administration plans to handle its promised repeal of the Affordable Care Act.

Outgoing CMS admin embarks on Twitter tongue-lashing

Taking a cue from the incoming president, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Acting Administrator Andy Slavitt is using Twitter to let the public know that while his tenure with the agency is ending, his defense of the Affordable Care Act isn't.

Also in the News for Friday, Jan. 20

Nearly 400,000 providers to join alternative payment models in 2017 ... California may end dual-eligible care coordination program for LTSS ... Researchers find way to use patients' heartbeats as password to EHR

CMS reports 'sharp' drop in avoidable hospitalizations among long-term care residents

CMS reports 'sharp' drop in avoidable hospitalizations among long-term care residents

The rate of potentially avoidable hospitalizations among dual-eligible long-term care residents fell by nearly a third in recent years, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services reported on Tuesday.

Resident's family won't be forced to arbitrate claims, court rules

The family of a deceased Kentucky nursing home resident will not have to arbitrate a dispute with the facility following a federal court's ruling. The decision arrived last week, just over a month before the Supreme Court is scheduled to hear arguments in a case debating the validity of arbitration agreements.

Provider gets court's OK for new developments after competitors stage legal battle

An Illinois-based rehabilitation provider can start building two new facilities after fighting other long-term care facilities in court over the development.

Also in the News for Thursday, Jan. 19

McKesson to pay $150 million in record settlement over 'suspicious' drug orders ... GAO targets improper Medicare, Medicaid payments ... American Geriatrics Society calls on Trump to focus on healthcare workforce shortage

CMS stresses disaster preparedness in cyber security advisory

CMS stresses disaster preparedness in cyber security advisory

Long-term care providers should consider cyber security when developing and reviewing their emergency-preparedness plans, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services advised in a memo sent Friday.

Advance directives sloppy, providers lagging, study finds

Many nursing home providers are missing out on opportunities to reduce unnecessary care and cut healthcare costs by not having residents' advance directives on file, according to recent research.

LTC providers 'win' with new regs on drug repackaging, group says

Guidance on medication repackaging recently published by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is earning praise from one long-term care pharmacy group, which says the final guidelines help reduce drug-related risks for residents.

Also in the News for Wednesday, Jan. 18

LTC resident gets life sentence for beating fellow resident to death ... Report: HHS nominee Price received campaign donations for introducing bill to delay bundled payments ... CMS finalizes Medicaid rule with controversial limits on pass-through payments

MedPAC sending recommendation to revise skilled nursing PPS to Congress

MedPAC sending recommendation to revise skilled nursing PPS to Congress

The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission finalized its recommendations for the skilled nursing industry on Thursday, keeping with an earlier proposal that would stick the industry with market basket cuts and a revised prospective payment system.

Lawmakers introduce bill to add dental, vision services to Medicare

Calls from senior advocates to add dental coverage to the Medicare program are answered under a House bill proposed on Thursday.

HHS finalizes rule to clean up Medicare claim appeals process

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will take aim at its massive Medicare claim appeals backlog with a rule finalized on Friday.

Also in the News for Tuesday, Jan. 17

Providers need to take common viruses in LTC as seriously as flu, researchers warn ... Official: Interoperability, incentives should still be top priority under Trump administration ... Wearable sensors may help detect infections, diabetes

Value-based 'train has already left station,' unlikely to be affected by ACA repeal, experts say

Value-based 'train has already left station,' unlikely to be affected by ACA repeal, experts say

A focus on post-acute care partnerships and value-based purchasing is likely to persist across the healthcare industry in 2017, despite uncertainty surrounding the future of the Affordable Care Act.

Court blocks resident's estate from appealing SNF arbitration ruling

The estate of a deceased nursing home resident can't appeal a previous court's decision that required them to arbitrate their dispute with the nursing home where she died, a federal appeals court ruled on Wednesday.

Police looking into possibility of more victims in case of nurse charged with murdering 8 residents

Canadian authorities are investigating the possibility that a former long-term care nurse who allegedly murdered eight residents may have harmed or killed other patients as well.

Also in the News for Friday, Jan. 13

CMS seeking participants for new post-acute quality measures pilot study ... Medicare Advantage enrollees get less intense PAC with better outcomes, study says ... Price may not be confirmed as HHS secretary until mid-February, insiders say

LeadingAge, advocacy groups call on Trump to preserve nursing home-related ACA provisions

LeadingAge, advocacy groups call on Trump to preserve nursing home-related ACA provisions

LeadingAge joined 71 other non-profit aging organizations this week in urging President-elect Donald Trump to retain nursing home quality standards within the Affordable Care Act.

Providers who obstruct audits face exclusion from Medicare, Medicaid under final rule

Healthcare providers who interfere with audits risk being barred from the Medicare and Medicaid programs, under a final rule issued Wednesday by the Department of Health and Human Services.

Former SNF nurse pleads guilty to stealing morphine, replacing it with saline

A former employee of a Massachusetts skilled nursing facility pleaded guilty on Tuesday to charges that she stole morphine from the facility and replaced some of it with saline.

Also in the News for Thursday, Jan. 12

Warfarin risks reduced for patients after discharge with electronic system, study finds ... Antidepressant use nearly doubles hip fracture risk in Alzheimer's patients ... First-of-its-kind study finds chair yoga a promising treatment for osteoarthritis

Provider to pay nearly $170,000 for falsifying, destroying records

Provider to pay nearly $170,000 for falsifying, destroying records

A former Ohio nursing home operator will pay nearly $170,000 to state and federal health agencies after its owner pleaded guilty to engaging in "corrupt activity," state Attorney General Mike DeWine's office announced on Monday.

SNF fined $120,000 for not notifying doctor of resident's heart attack

An Illinois skilled nursing facility is facing nearly $120,000 in state and federal fines after health officials said it failed to notify a doctor of a resident's heart attack.

NIC: Nursing care occupancy clocks in at lowest level since 2005

Nursing care occupancy rates remained at 86.8% in the fourth quarter of 2016, according to new data released Monday by the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care.

Also in the News for Wednesday, Jan. 11

ACO-affiliated providers reduced readmission rates faster, study shows ... Choice between inpatient rehab, skilled nursing drives post-acute costs ... WHO issues recommendations to combat healthcare-associated infections

Report slams allegedly light penalties for nursing home resident deaths

Report slams allegedly light penalties for nursing home resident deaths

Deaths tied to staff misconduct in California nursing homes are often penalized far too lightly, a report released Monday claims. Penalties are frequently issued at level not "fitting" the severity of the incident, authors write.

Delirium in nursing homes not taken seriously enough, study asserts

Delirium among nursing home residents often goes undiagnosed and needs to be treated more seriously than it currently is by long-term care professionals, a new research review has found.

Lawmaker proposes 'sex prescriptions' for nursing home residents

A German politician is making the headlines for her suggestion that the government pay for prostitutes for poor and elderly people, including those living in nursing homes.

Also in the News for Tuesday, Jan. 10

Facility hit with lawsuit over resident's death that led to huge fine ... North Carolina to attempt Medicaid expansion by 2018 ... HHS nominee Price got 'special treatment' from medical companies that made campaign donations, report claims

Arbitration battle continues: CMS files appeal against injunction

Arbitration battle continues: CMS files appeal against injunction

With the days of the Obama administration rapidly waning, federal health officials made one last attempt to hold up a ban on nursing homes pre-dispute arbitration agreements.

Death of woman pushed by fellow nursing home resident ruled a homicide

The death of a Virginia nursing home resident who died after being pushed by another resident has been ruled a homicide, but no charges are expected to be filed, authorities announced on Thursday.

Many SNF residents with kidney failure missing advanced directives, study shows

Less than half of nursing home residents with end-stage renal disease have completed advanced directives that can help reduce hospitalizations and intensive procedures in their last months of life, a new study shows.

Also in the News for Monday, Jan. 9

Report: Medicare missed $125 million in MA overpayment recoveries ... Seniors more likely to become disabled, admitted to SNF following ER visit ... Republican governors to 'face uphill battle' to keep Medicaid expansion

Sea salt spray shows healing promise

Researchers say they are encouraged by results of a recent small study that points to potential benefits of sea salt-based spray in diabetic foot ulcer healing.

Skin cell communication key to wound healing, study says

Skin cell communication key to wound healing, study says

Medical science may be getting closer to developing better treatments that cause damaged skin in the elderly to repair itself more quickly.

Ask the Treatment Expert about ... pressure injury assessments

Ask the Treatment Expert about ... pressure injury assessments

Why are formalized pressure injury risk assessments so important?

Latest cleaning alternative fits like a glove

SCA has added its Tena Bathing Glove as an option for U.S. long-term care facilities. As an alternative to soap and water, it is the first pre-moistened, disposable bath glove for professional caregivers, the company said.

C. diff tablet gives providers new solution for old problem

C. diff tablet gives providers new solution for old problem

3M has introduced C. diff Solution Tablets as an alternative for providers looking to kill challenging Clostridium difficile spores.

The wisdom of age

The wisdom of age

It's like a dash of smelling salts under the nose. Talking to actual long-term care residents always affects me like that: an abrupt awakening from the fog and unconsciousness of stress, distraction and a barrage of daily trivialities.

Where Are They Now: The Terraces at Los Gatos

Where Are They Now: The Terraces at Los Gatos

Since winning the 2013 McKnight's Excellence in Technology Awards in the Dignity category, The Terraces at Los Gatos in California has continued to build on its successes.

Epilepsy self management boosted by tablet-based tool

Epilepsy self management boosted by tablet-based tool

One-third of people with epilepsy, or about one million Americans, have trouble controlling their seizures, even with medication. Frequent and severe seizures can severely undermine their ability to work, sustain relationships and live independently.

State News for January 2017

State News for January 2017

The Obama administration approved a $52.5 billion Medicaid waiver deal for Massachusetts in December.

Study verifies 'as-needed' drugs, falls tie

Psychotropic drugs, including antipsychotics and antidepressants, increase the risk of falls among nursing home residents, according to a recently published study.

Most LTC residents decline dental care, study concludes

Most LTC residents decline dental care, study concludes

Almost 90% of long-term care residents do not use available dental care services during their stay, according to recent research from the State University of New York at Buffalo.

Ask the Care Expert about ... flu vaccinations

Ask the Care Expert about ... flu vaccinations

One of my nurses has refused to get an annual flu vaccine. What should I do?

Profile: Benjamin A. Breier

Profile: Benjamin A. Breier

Benjamin A. Breier may be at the helm of one of long-term care's industry giants as the president and CEO of Kindred Healthcare. But in one big way, he's similar to many of his employees. Work-life balance is "without a doubt, the biggest personal challenge," the father of three daughters says.

OSHA seeks violence input

Federal regulators are asking providers for thoughts on how to curb violence in healthcare workplaces.

New ACO designed to better serve dual eligibles strategy

New ACO designed to better serve dual eligibles strategy

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced Dec. 15 it was starting an ACO pilot program aimed at beneficiaries enrolled in both Medicare and Medicaid.

Ask the Payment Expert about ... acuity-based staffing

Ask the Payment Expert about ... acuity-based staffing

What is acuity-based staffing and how do we know what our acuity is?

Nurse's online rant leads to guilty charge

A Canadian nurse who posted on Facebook and Twitter about her frustrations over a relative's skilled nursing care has been found guilty of professional misconduct by a nursing organization.

Trump's CMS pick can expect tough choices: predecessors

Trump's CMS pick can expect tough choices: predecessors

President-elect Donald Trump's choice to run the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Seema Verma, was praised by providers. But she will face tough choices immediately, a previous CMS administrator predicted.

60 Seconds with ... Timothy W. Farrell

60 Seconds with ... Timothy W. Farrell

The American Geriatrics Society recently unveiled guidance for the term "unbefriended" for older adults. What does that term mean?

Judge issues appeals decree

The Department of Health and Human Services has four years to end an estimated 700,000 Medicare appeal backlog, a court ruled.

Employers get break from overtime rule

Employers get break from overtime rule

Providers are cheering a federal judge's decision to grant a preliminary injunction in November against a rule that would have increased overtime pay eligibility.

Tubes seen as hindering care

Tubes seen as hindering care

Many hospital patients are given a feeding tube in order to be discharged to a nursing home, but often it's without receiving a palliative care assessment first, a new study has found.

Pressure sores rising in LTC

Preventive policies are credited for lowering pressure injuries in hospitals by about half over the past decade, even as long-term care rates rose, a new analysis found.

A 'satisfying' survey ahead?

Changes to the Five-Star Quality Rating System for nursing homes may be on the horizon under recommendations published by the Government Accountability Office in December.

Providers say Price is right to lead HHS

Providers say Price is right to lead HHS

Long-term care providers delivered ringing endorsements of President-elect Donald Trump's choice to lead the Department of Health and Human Services.

MedPAC calls for pay freeze

MedPAC calls for pay freeze

The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission in December called for the elimination of market basket updates for skilled nursing operators in fiscal 2018 and 2019.

The real staffing puzzle

The real staffing puzzle

When you ask people in this sector about the biggest staffing challenges ahead, responses often pour into familiar buckets.

Lengthy hiring haunting applicant ranks

The healthcare industry is projected to need 1 million new nurses within five years, but most settings are finding the wait between placing a help wanted ad and a hiring decision to be far too long.

Diminished nurse skill mix is linked to poor outcomes

Diminished nurse skill mix is linked to poor outcomes

Healthcare settings that substitute lower-level staff for registered nurses do so at their own peril, according to an extensive review of nurse skill mix at more than 240 hospitals in Belgium, England, Finland, Ireland, Spain and Switzerland.

Ask the Nursing Expert about ... dignity citations

Ask the Nursing Expert about ... dignity citations

We just finished our state and federal survey and received one federal citation. It is about dignity — are you familiar with this regulation, and if so, can you help me research?

Report: LTC liability costs to rise in 2017

A skilled nursing facility with 100 occupied beds can expect to pay roughly $235,000 in liability expenses in 2017, according to the recently issued Aon Global Risk Consulting/American Health Care Association 2016 Long Term Care General Liability and Professional Liability Actuarial Analysis.

Shortchanging 850 workers will cost operator $2 million

Shortchanging 850 workers will cost operator $2 million

A New York-based skilled nursing chain will pay more than $2 million in back wages and damages after underpaying nearly 850 workers, the Department of Labor announced in December.

Ask the Legal Expert about ... arbitration clauses

Ask the Legal Expert about ... arbitration clauses

May a SNF continue to use arbitration clauses in resident contracts?

How to do it... Design for infection control

During remodeling or in between, providers must be continuously mindful of keeping environments clean. "Designers, housekeeping staff and maintenance professionals need to take every opportunity to protect against possible bacterial and infectious agents," is how Jim McLain, general manager, Eldercare Interiors Division at Construction Specialties, puts it. Here's what experts advise.

EHR usage still too slow

EHR usage still too slow

When it comes to electronic health records use, providers are filling a gradually building bandwagon, but struggling with resources and a lack of interoperability

The Year of Uncertainty

The Year of Uncertainty

Questions about the economy, Medicare funding and other reimbursement issues bring more risk to lending and investing in long-term care in 2017

Focus on the mind

Focus on the mind

Community gives residents with dementia a holistic relationship with the entire environment and eschews segregated living spaces

Guru predicts consolidation

The skilled nursing sector could see increased operator consolidation in the coming years, according to an official with the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care.

Kindred spends $700M with Ventas to ready for SNF exit

Kindred spends $700M with Ventas to ready for SNF exit

Kindred Healthcare Inc. has entered into an agreement to purchase 36 skilled nursing facilities from Ventas ahead of its exit from the skilled nursing sector, the provider announced in November.

Back to you, LaVern ...

Back to you, LaVern ...

Just about every morning, LaVern Withrow reports the weather and sends well wishes to hundreds of people. And she does it all without leaving Valley Oaks Care Center in East Liverpool, OH.

Reader Poll: What would you tell your younger self if you had the chance?

"Take everything in stride. Work through the difficult times and enjoy the good ones. You stress about too much stuff you can't fix."

A good reason you might sense a lawsuit increase

A good reason you might sense a lawsuit increase

Given the most recent report from Aon's Actuarial & Analytical Practice, a few stanzas of "Whistle While You Work" could be helpful. Either that or a stiff belt of Lynchburg, TN's finest export.

Lawmakers push for ethics investigation into Trump's HHS pick

Lawmakers push for ethics investigation into Trump's HHS pick

A group of Senate leaders are calling for an investigation into Rep. Tom Price (R-GA), President-elect Donald Trump's nominee to lead the Department of Health and Human Services, citing reports that he traded health-related stocks while serving in the House of Representatives.

Judge denies HHS' request to tweak Medicare backlog deadlines

A federal court has shot down the Department of Health and Human Services' request that it reconsider an early December ruling requiring the agency to clear its backlog of Medicare appeals by the end of 2020.

SNF resident charged for selling heroin to fellow resident who overdosed

A resident of a New Jersey skilled nursing facility allegedly sold a fellow resident heroin that led to an overdose, according to local authorities.

Also in the News for Friday, Jan. 6

High Vitamin D doses may reduce infections, but up fall risk for LTC residents ... Innovation Center 'part of the fabric' of healthcare now, CMS tells Congress ... Study finds hour-long naps to improve thinking, memory in older adults

ACA repeal may not harm providers but replacement could, leader says

ACA repeal may not harm providers but replacement could, leader says

Nursing home providers are unlikely to see any earth-shattering changes should the Affordable Care Act be repealed, as promised by President-elect Donald Trump. But some of the options being floated as replacements could lead to trouble, one long-term care leader said this week.

Bundled payments cut PAC episode costs by 27%, study shows

Medicare's bundled payment program for hip and knee replacements succeeded in cutting costs, largely due to reduced spending on post-acute care, new research shows.

Swedish nursing home ditches 6-hour workday pilot

A Swedish nursing home has discontinued its highly-publicized six-hour workday experiment despite facility administration's belief that it made the environment more relaxed and reduced sick leave among employees.

Also in the News for Thursday, Jan. 5

Officials say backlog of nursing home complaints led to 'mess' ... New Parkinson's drug shows promise for improving movement ... Nursing home volunteer faces up to 15-year sentence for fondling resident

SNF employees arrested in death of ventilator-dependent resident

SNF employees arrested in death of ventilator-dependent resident

Three former employees of a New York skilled nursing facility were arrested last week on charges of neglecting a resident who became disconnected from a ventilator and died.

Provider to pay $300,000 to settle claims it fired employees over vaccination requirement

A Pennsylvania healthcare provider has agreed to pay $300,000 in back pay and damages to six employees who claim they were denied a religious exemption from the facility's mandatory vaccination policy and ultimately fired.

Court gives green light to final workplace wellness rule

Employers can offer workers and their spouses incentives to join workplace wellness programs following a federal court's ruling last week.

Also in the News for Wednesday, January 4

Medicaid directors push lawmakers for more involvement in program reform talks ... Iowa SNF owner charged with using resident's money to buy items for facility ... Change to state Medicaid program may make it harder for seniors to qualify for SNF care

New PACE program would seek younger dual eligibles

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is soliciting feedback on a five-year program that would expand the Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly to younger dual eligibles and keep them out of nursing homes.

Shoulder soreness linked to heart disease

Lifting nursing home residents may lead to staff blaming their shoulder soreness on physical strain. But a new study indicates shoulder joint pain symptoms may be linked to cardiovascular problems. Lifting nursing home residents may lead to staff blaming their shoulder soreness on physical strain. But a new study indicates shoulder joint pain symptoms may be linked to cardiovascular problems.

Nursing home failed to quickly report employee accused of sexual abuse, mother of victim says

A former nursing home employee has said a coworker who assaulted her child wasn't reported to the state in a timely fashion and continued to work at a nearby facility, according to local reports.

Also in the News for Tuesday, Jan. 3

Nursing homes come under fire for hiding C. diff outbreaks ... FDA issues guidance on cybersecurity in devices ... Tornado-damaged home may have buyer ... Study shows how tau platelets are correlated to regional brain atrophy in Alzheimer's patients

DOJ: Louisiana too reliant on nursing facilities to care for people with mental illness

DOJ: Louisiana too reliant on nursing facilities to care for people with mental illness

Louisiana residents with mental health disabilities are often forced to live in nursing facilities without a "meaningful choice" as to where they receive state-managed services, a new federal examination finds.

CMS finalizes cardiac, orthopedic care bundled pay models

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services on Tuesday announced the finalization of four new bundled payment models, but some observers speculate the policies will soon find themselves on the chopping block under the new administration.

Landlord's plans to turn SNF into condos led to residents' deaths, lawsuit claims

An embattled New York nursing home operator is facing a lawsuit that claims its "fraudulent" pattern of purchasing nursing homes with the intent to flip them into condominiums led to some residents' premature deaths.

Stories of the Year unveiled while Daily Update takes holiday break

McKnight's Daily Update is taking a year-end pause and will return Tuesday, January 3, 2016.

Also in the News for Thursday, December 22

Trump administration won't face 'mess' of regulations, official says ... Online consumer reviews give healthcare providers a chance to 'learn by listening' ... Outsourcing cleaners may raise risk for MRSA

Younger, less experienced nurses more adept at new technology, report finds

Younger, less experienced nurses more adept at new technology, report finds

Nursing home staff with fewer years of experience show greater interest in learning new technology, and adapt to new systems quicker, according to a new report.

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