Court: HHS has 4 years to eliminate 700,000 Medicare appeals

Court: HHS has 4 years to eliminate 700,000 Medicare appeals

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has until Dec. 31, 2020 to eliminate the backlog of pending Medicare reimbursement appeals, a federal court ordered on Monday.

OSHA mulls federal standard to prevent workplace violence in healthcare

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is seeking feedback on how to combat workplace violence in healthcare settings, following a federal report calling on the agency to ramp up its violence prevention efforts.

Court won't seal False Claims suit against RehabCare, despite whistleblower's fear of retaliation

A whistleblower's fear of retaliation isn't sufficient to justify sealing her False Claims Act lawsuit filed against RehabCare Group Inc., a judge ruled on Friday.

Also in the News for Wednesday, December 7

Former SNF worker gets 5 year prison sentence for hitting, pushing resident ... Feds release updates to CMP rules, anti-kickback statutes ... More than 25% of docs say antibiotics often prescribed unnecessarily

Gaps persisting in wound documentation

An audit of 155 patient records found large gaps between clinical practice and wound documentation in nursing homes.

Researchers question Braden Scale's reliability inside SNFs

Researchers question Braden Scale's reliability inside SNFs

The Braden Scale may not be a valid tool for predicting pressure wounds when used in long-term care settings, according to Chinese researchers who conducted a meta-analysis.

Ask the Treatment Expert about ... pressure injury prevention

Ask the Treatment Expert about ... pressure injury prevention

On the heels of Pressure Injury Prevention Day (November 17), what are the most important measures for pressure injury prevention?

Align, PointClickCare tackle engagement

PointClickCare and Align have partnered to help providers boost employee engagement and improve resident outcomes.

Netsmart acquires 'building block' in HealthMEDX deal

Netsmart acquires 'building block' in HealthMEDX deal

Netsmart has bought HealthMEDX and its electronic medical records platform, the company announced in late October. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Armed, dangerous

Oh great. He's going to talk about sarcasm. Perfect.

Where Are They Now: Life Care Centers of America

Where Are They Now: Life Care Centers of America

In the two years since winning the Gold Award for Transitions in the McKnight's Technology Awards, Life Care Centers of America has continued to enhance its electronic health records system, SofCare2.

Telemedicine program offers specialized speech therapy

Telemedicine program offers specialized speech therapy

Dementia patients as well as individuals with primary progressive aphasia can experience problems with language, struggling to retrieve the name of a grandchild or finding words to order dinner.

State News for December 2016

State News for December 2016

Vacancy levels nearly doubled at the state's top healthcare regulatory agency in 2015, shedding light on a staffing drain that goes far beyond Maryland's long-term care facilities.

Surviving disaster may up dementia risk

Older adults who live through a disaster may also face an increased risk of dementia and cognitive impairment, according to a recent study.

Virtual reality gets residents excited about exercise: study

Virtual reality gets residents excited about exercise: study

Nursing home residents probably won't rush to an exercise bike if they know they'll be staring at a blank wall while they work out. But incorporating virtual reality environments with exercise equipment may inspire residents to get active, according to new research out of Denmark.

Ask the Care Expert about ... C. diff

Ask the Care Expert about ... C. diff

We have had several residents with C. diff. Their families are asking if there is support available for them. Our staff wonders too. Can you assist?

Profile: Idriz Limaj

Profile: Idriz Limaj

As the oldest of eight children growing up in Macedonia, Idriz Limaj, RN, understood the importance of taking care of people. While he planned to become a physician and had completed vocational nurse training, at age 17 his plans changed after his father had a stroke and became bedridden.

Focus: Readmission rates

Rehospitalization rates should continue to be a strong focal point for gauging providers' efficacy in future payment arrangements.

Medicare appeals backlog to be fixed by 2020, HHS says

Medicare appeals backlog to be fixed by 2020, HHS says

Federal health officials say tweaks to the system will enable them to eradicate a massive backlog of Medicare decision appeals in 2019. They made the prediction in a court brief filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia in early November.

Ask the Payment Expert about ... SNF Value Based Purchasing Program

Ask the Payment Expert about ... SNF Value Based Purchasing Program

How does the new Skilled Nursing Facility Value Based Program relate to our Medicare payments?

CMS: New survey merges two processes

The new survey process for skilled nursing facilities is expected to be made more efficient by drawing on the strengths of two existing processes, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services officials said in October.

A GOP repeal of Obamacare may reprise fee-for-service

A GOP repeal of Obamacare may reprise fee-for-service

With the White House, Senate and House of Representatives all in Republican control, long-term care providers should expect significant changes, experts said in November.

60 Seconds with ... Frank Grosso, RPh

60 Seconds with ... Frank Grosso, RPh

Q: What are ASCP's priorities for 2017 coming out of your November annual meeting?

Court to let nurses unionize

A federal appeals court has denied review of a South Carolina nursing home's lawsuit against a group of nurses trying to unionize.

Brace for rehab pay shifts, expert warns

Brace for rehab pay shifts, expert warns

Tracking therapy minutes may become a thing of the past within the next few years as payment models shift to focus on patient characteristics, experts warned during a conference in October.

Race can affect readmissions

Race can affect readmissions

Older black adults were more likely to be readmitted to a hospital after an elective hip or knee replacement and are more adversely affected by insufficient hospital nurse staffing, a new study has found.

Deadly fungus starts spread

Four hospital patients died after contacting a deadly, drug-resistant fungus, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced in early November.

Court rejects arbitration ban

A federal court in November granted the American Health Care Association's request for an injunction of the ban on pre-dispute arbitration agreements, despite believing the ban was "based upon sound public policy."

Trump card: ACA's future now in doubt

Trump card: ACA's future now in doubt

While President-elect Donald J. Trump has promised to repeal the Affordable Care Act, long-term care experts noted that coordinated care for seniors is likely to remain a priority under him.

Kindred quits: dumping SNFs

Kindred quits: dumping SNFs

Kindred Healthcare Inc., which operated more than 200 nursing homes less than a decade ago, is pulling the plug on its skilled nursing facilities.

Canaries in a coal mine

Canaries in a coal mine

When it comes to measuring how well a long-term care facility is doing, we all know the usual benchmarks: revenues, profits and census levels.

Social bonds at work boost health: study

Health at work is largely shaped by the relationships and social groups formed there, according to a meta-analysis of more than 19,000 people published in Personality and Social Psychology Review.

Self-advocacy might protect against workplace rudeness

Self-advocacy might protect against workplace rudeness

A strong sense of self-efficacy can help nurses cope with disrespectful workplace behaviors that otherwise threaten their health and well-being, a study of Canadian workers finds.

Ask the Nursing Expert about ... the final rule from CMS

Ask the Nursing Expert about ... the final rule from CMS

My corporation has been talking about an intense new rule. What do I need to know?

LTC drug kickback case settles for $28M

A kickback case against Omnicare came to a conclusion in October, with the pharmacy titan agreeing to pay $28 million to clear up allegations that it promoted an anti-seizure medication to nursing home residents in exchange for money and sports tickets.

Life Care Centers of America pays $145 million to end fight

Life Care Centers of America pays $145 million to end fight

The nation's fourth-largest skilled nursing provider has agreed to pay a record-setting $145 million to settle allegations that it inflated its therapy claims, the Department of Justice announced in late October.

Ask the Legal Expert about ... employees working 'off the clock'

Ask the Legal Expert about ... employees working 'off the clock'

With the new overtime pay regulations, how do we insulate ourselves from problems if we have diligent workers who might work "off the clock?"

How to do it... Designing for mobility

Choosing and installing mobility aids are among the most important safety decisions a provider will have to make. This month experts discuss decision points about designing spaces that feature them, and how to maximize investment in this important product area.

Winners in doubt

Winners in doubt

No rest for weary providers in the battle to beat germs in long-term care settings

IT's the real thing

IT's the real thing

As the feds lurch toward value-based purchasing, having electronic records that integrate well is becoming more important than ever to maintain viability.

Rehab a large showcase

Rehab a large showcase

A new 42,000-square-foot wellness center and upgrades to therapy spaces at Waterford add a major piece to Sunset's eldercare puzzle.

HCP closes on SNF spin-off

HCP Inc. completed its previously announced spin-off of its troubled HCR ManorCare skilled nursing and assisted living portfolio into a new real estate investment trust on Oct. 31.

Genesis: SNF selloff to trim rent outlays by $10.5 million

Genesis: SNF selloff to trim rent outlays by $10.5 million

Genesis HealthCare expects to save $10.5 million in rent payments following the sale of 92 skilled nursing facilities previously leased by its biggest landlord, the long-term care giant announced in early November.

CCRC songstress packs them in

CCRC songstress packs them in

Kathy Crouse has come a long way in her time living at Charlestown, a continuing care retirement community in Catonsville, MD.

Reader Poll: What are your tools for staying organized?

"I have the Yellow Stickies app. If I'm signed up for a McKnight's webinar, I put it there so I can stay organized. It's all in columns so I can see what I need. I can see when I need to recheck, or have a sales meeting."

Love him or not, Trump could be your key man

Love him or not, Trump could be your key man

Politics truly can make strange bedfellows. A great illustration of this could be the many nursing home operators who might think they don't like President-elect Donald Trump but really could end up loving him.

A care plan imperative

A care plan imperative

The new Rules of Participation bring additional meaning to the benefits of data-driven discharge care plans, particularly those that describe and predict challenges facing residents transitioning to lesser care settings.

Whistleblower case against provider can proceed despite 'scant' evidence, court rules

Whistleblower case against provider can proceed despite 'scant' evidence, court rules

A False Claims Act lawsuit filed against the owners of 53 Florida nursing homes can continue despite some "dubious" assessments by a whistleblower, a judge ruled last week.

Women with dementia receive less medical care than men, study shows

Female dementia patients are more likely to take potentially harmful medication and receive less health monitoring than their male counterparts, according to a new study.

Nurse who vented about relative's care on social media found guilty of professional misconduct

A Canadian nurse who took to social media to air her frustrations over a relative's skilled nursing care has been found guilty of professional misconduct by a nursing organization.

Also in the News for Tuesday, December 6

Political climate leaves healthcare job market in limbo ... Hospice provider to pay $200,000 to settle kickback allegations ... Pence: Trump administration will "keep our promises," resist Medicare overhaul

LTC liability costs projected to increase 6% in 2017

LTC liability costs projected to increase 6% in 2017

A skilled nursing center with 100 occupied beds can expect to pay around $235,000 in liability expenses next year, according to a new report.

Medicare spending growing at slower rate

Medicare spending slowed to a 4.5% growth rate in 2015, even as payments for nursing homes increased, according to a new analysis.

Woman pleads guilty in Medicare genetic testing scheme targeting seniors

As interest in genetic testing rises, one woman faces 10 years in prison for a $1 million Medicare fraud scheme that lured seniors into unnecessary genetic testing.

Also in the News for Monday, Dec. 5

Department of Justice asks for expedited appeal on overtime rule ... Cataracts linked to depression in older adults ... Iowa for-profits that are managing Medicaid losing tens of millions, report finds.

DOL files notice to appeal overtime rule injunction

DOL files notice to appeal overtime rule injunction

The Department of Labor is fighting back against a court's preliminary injunction that stopped a controversial overtime rule from going into effect Dec. 1.

OIG: Improper payment gains up $2.3 billion for FY 2016

Federal health officials recovered more than $5.66 billion in improper or fraudulent payments in fiscal year 2016, according to a report published Thursday. The recovery cases included a nursing home cited for a lack of following care plans.

Hundreds of healthcare orgs push back against IPAB

More than 600 healthcare organizations called on Congress this week to repeal the Independent Payment Advisory Board.

Also in the News for Friday, December 2

Largest healthcare reform bill since ACA passes House ... John Hancock admits its errors led to astronomical rise in federal LTC insurance costs ... Increased aspirin use would save U.S. $692 billion in healthcare costs

Providers fire back in court over state's Medicaid backlog

Providers fire back in court over state's Medicaid backlog

Seven long-term care operators are suing the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services over the state's backlog of approximately 7,000 Medicaid applications, a law firm representing the providers announced Wednesday.

Antipsychotics linked to increased fall risks for SNF residents, study confirms

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

Many 'sensible changes' exist to preserve Medicare, expert says

Medicare could benefit from "sensible changes" to help make it less complicated and expensive, a program expert said Tuesday.

Also in the News for Thursday, December 1

DOJ: More individual prosecutions in fraud cases coming ... New regulation requires MA nursing homes to stock drug overdose antidote ... First-of-its-kind SNF for ex-inmates opens in Georgia

HHS appointee Price to bring rare provider perspective to role, insiders say

HHS appointee Price to bring rare provider perspective to role, insiders say

President-elect Donald Trump on Tuesday announced his nomination of the "dream team" of Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) and consultant Seema Verma to lead the Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, respectively.

Payment, quality results still top focus for AHCA following 'shock' of election

The American Health Care Association will maintain its focus on preserving reimbursement streams for providers in the wake of election results that "nobody fully anticipated," an executive said Tuesday.

Court rejects whistleblower's kickback claims against PharMerica

A whistleblower's allegations that PharMerica, the nation's second largest long-term care pharmacy, made kickbacks to skilled nursing facilities were shot down by a federal court on Monday.

Also in the News for Wednesday, November 30

Algorithms may lead to higher hospitalization rates for SNFs ... Senior Care Pharmacy Coalition unveils new board, leadership team ... Video aid effective to improve end-of-life care for advanced dementia ... Computers, cell phones help the "oldest old" generation, study finds

CMS' 'Equity Plan' to address data accessibility, SNF care in second year

CMS' 'Equity Plan' to address data accessibility, SNF care in second year

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is ramping up efforts to improve nursing home care and make existing healthcare data more accessible as its plan to reduce healthcare disparities enters its second year.

Feds grant quality reporting exemption to providers affected by Hurricane Matthew

Skilled nursing providers affected by Hurricane Matthew will receive an exemption for submitting quality reporting data, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced last week.

Attempted murder-suicide at California skilled nursing facility leaves two hospitalized

Two people are reported to be in critical but stable condition after an attempted murder-suicide at a California skilled nursing facility, according to local reports.

Also in the News for Tuesday, November 29

Electronic drug prescribing may increase risk of falls for seniors ... SNF sued in death of resident who caught on fire while smoking ... Shift to managed care raising concerns among LTSS beneficiaries

CMS targets falls, pressure ulcers, other skilled care challenges

CMS targets falls, pressure ulcers, other skilled care challenges

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is pursuing better outcomes in a list of 97 reporting requirement adjustments that could help improve Medicare's quality and value-based purchasing programs.

Medication errors usually not serious, report finds

While medication errors are common in skilled care settings, their negative impact on residents is "surprisingly" low, a new study finds.

Also in the news for Monday, November 28 ...

Stroke risk not recognized by many with common irregular heartbeat ... High blood pressure rates doubled worldwide, but at all-time low in U.S. ... Possible Alzheimer's treatment comes up short, again

Occupational therapy may not delay Alzheimer's decline, SNF admission

Occupational therapy may not help slow down physical decline associated with Alzheimer's disease or delay the need for nursing home admission, research published Tuesday indicated.

Judge puts pending overtime rule on hold

Judge puts pending overtime rule on hold

The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas granted a preliminary injunction against a pending overtime rule that would have increased overtime pay eligibility for most long-term care employees.

Majority of LTC residents turn down dental care, study finds

Majority of LTC residents turn down dental care, study finds

Almost 90% of long-term care residents don't receive dental care during their stay, according to new research.

Pelosi: Democrats will fight against any Ryan plans to privatize Medicare

Democrat lawmakers will present a united front against any plan to privatize the Medicare program, Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) told the Washington Post this week.

Also in the News for Wednesday, November 23

Right-to-die advocates might deliver euthanasia drugs to nursing home via drone ... Repealing ACA may leave "billion-dollar holes" in state budgets ... Researchers: Palliative care should be a healthcare standard, not a "luxury"

PruittHealth loses legal challenge over law firm's targeted advertisements

PruittHealth loses legal challenge over law firm's targeted advertisements

The Georgia Supreme Court ruled in favor of a law firm on Monday in a case debating whether the firm's ads targeting a specific nursing home violated state law.

Provider coalition wants Medicare innovation agency to increase transparency, collaboration of pilot programs

Several healthcare provider groups have joined together to urge federal health officials to refine and improve the way they design Medicare innovation projects.

Report: U.S. dementia rates on the decline

The prevalence of dementia among American seniors of all races has declined in recent years, according to research published on Monday.

Also in the News for Tuesday, November 22

Managed care's future could be murky under proposed rule from CMS ... Lack of "serious outcomes" may hinder medication error reporting in SNFs ... Palliative care leads to fewer hospitalizations, transitions for SNF residents

Site-neutral payments, Medicare Advantage changes could be pushed in 2017

Site-neutral payments, Medicare Advantage changes could be pushed in 2017

While Congressional Republicans debate how to "repeal and replace" the Affordable Care Act, the chairman of the House Budget Committee said Medicare reform is likely on the table.

Obamacare employer penalties might reach $31 billion in 2016

Analysts say that "unintentionally non-compliant" employers could be adding $10 billion in penalties for companies not meeting requirements for worker insurance under Obamacare.

Formerly imprisoned nursing home operator faces new theft accusations

A nursing home operator who served seven years in prison has been charged on new counts of stealing more than $300,000 from an elderly person, according to local reports.

Also in the News for Monday, November 21 ...

Kindred Idaho center becomes skilled nursing's first Baldrige quality winner in 29-year history ... Despite likely veto, House passes 'midnight regulation' bill ... CNA headed to jail for punching resident

Providers get an 'A' for submitting PBJ data, officials say

Around 90% of long-term care providers have submitted electronic staffing data, officials said Thursday.

House GOP asks for no new regs until after Trump takes office

Federal agencies should not issue any regulations until after Inauguration Day, House Republicans demanded in a Nov. 15 letter.

Culture change helps reduce antipsychotic drug use, LeadingAge study asserts

Reductions in depressive symptoms, pressure ulcers, incontinent episodes, catheter use and urinary tract infections are among the benefits for residents living in nursing homes that have implemented culture change, according to a LeadingAge Center for Applied Research study.

Also in the News for Friday, Nov. 18

Judge permanently blocks "persuader" rule .... Teamsters say McKesson's role in opioid epidemic should cause CEO to lose millions ... After Pence meeting, SD governor jettisons Medicaid expansion

Report: Despite demand, nursing positions take abnormally long to fill

Report: Despite demand, nursing positions take abnormally long to fill

Even as the demand for nurses skyrockets, open nursing positions sit unfilled for much longer than equivalent positions in other industries, according to a report published Wednesday.

CDC: Contaminated syringes may be causing blood infections in nursing homes

Contaminated syringes may have caused more than 150 bloodstream infections across several states, with long-term care residents being disproportionately hit, the Centers for Disease Control said last week.

Revised antibiotic treatment may help knock out MRSA faster

Using penicillin along with modern antibiotics may help weaken MRSA infections and make it easier to cure, a new study shows.

Also in the News for Thursday, November 17

High vitamin D doses may help combat respiratory illness in LTC residents ... Man commits suicide at SNF after "shooting randomly" at property ... North Carolina spending more on Medicaid fraud reviews than it recovers

Court OKs arbitration in nursing home case, despite lack of forum

Court OKs arbitration in nursing home case, despite lack of forum

An Arkansas nursing home may enforce arbitration in a wrongful death suit against it even though the designated forum is no longer available to arbitrate, a federal court ruled on Monday.

Providers urge Congress to pass bill that targets socioeconomic factors in readmissions

Hospital providers are pushing lawmakers to pass legislation during the lame-duck session that addresses the socioeconomic factors that may play into their readmission penalties.

Nursing home, hospital admissions for Parkinson's patients on the rise

The number of patients with Parkinson's disease who need long-term skilled nursing care upon hospital discharge is increasing at a "troubling" rate, according to new research out of Ireland.

Also in the News for Wednesday, November 16

Care home owners plead guilty to misdemeanor charges in resident's overdose death ... LeadingAge study: Culture change can help reduce UTIs, pressure ulcers ... Many nursing home life-sustaining forms not complete, missing signature

Kindred buys Ventas facilities for $700M, plans for skilled nursing exit in 2017

Kindred buys Ventas facilities for $700M, plans for skilled nursing exit in 2017

Kindred Healthcare Inc. plans to purchase 36 skilled nursing facilities from Ventas Inc. for $700 million as part of its plan to exit the skilled nursing sector, the operator announced on Monday.

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