Quadruple-dose flu vaccine lowers SNF residents' hospitalizations, largest study shows

Quadruple-dose flu vaccine lowers SNF residents' hospitalizations, largest study shows

Vaccines with four times the antigen of standard flu vaccines significantly decrease the risk of respiratory and all-cause hospitalizations during flu season, according to the largest nursing home study conducted to date on the effect of a high dose flu vaccine.

Large nonprofits outperforming smaller organizations on EHR adoption

More nonprofit senior living and care providers with multiple properties are adopting electronic health records than smaller nonprofit organizations, according to the results of a recent LeadingAge survey.

Strategies to reduce hospital readmission rates aren't harming patients post-discharge, study shows

Hospitals' efforts to lower readmission rates didn't raise patients' post-discharge mortality rates, a new study shows.

Also in the News for Friday, July 21

Healthcare tech CEO sentenced to 10 years in prison for $49 million fraud scheme ... Male nurses earn an average of $5k more annually than female nurses ... 1 in 3 dementia cases can be thwarted by healthy lifestyle, study suggests

Pay cuts coming for SNFs that don't submit quality data, CMS warns

Pay cuts coming for SNFs that don't submit quality data, CMS warns

Reimbursement cuts are less than three months away for nursing homes that fail to submit required quality data, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services emphasized to providers in a new memo.

ACOs missing out on millions in payments by not assuming more risk, report finds

Accountable care organizations could have garnered $886 million in additional payments in 2015 if they took on greater financial risk, according to a new report.

Observers skeptical of House Republicans' call to cut $2 trillion in Medicaid, Medicare

A budget plan released Tuesday by House Republicans would cut close to $2 trillion from federal healthcare programs — but it's unlikely to get very far in the legislative process, observers say.

Also in the News for Thursday, July 20

SNF nurse convicted of stealing drugs, forging documents to conceal crimes ... GAO calls for tougher action on MA audits ... OSHA to launch web-based workplace injury reporting form Aug. 1

LTC providers, executives will pay $19.5 million in therapy-hospice False Claims settlement

LTC providers, executives will pay $19.5 million in therapy-hospice False Claims settlement

A group of Ohio long-term care companies and two executives will pay about $19.5 million to resolve False Claims Act allegations that were first brought by former employee whistleblowers.

Medicaid reductions off the table, as GOP turns to plan D: Let Obamacare 'fail' on its own

Even as providers exhaled Tuesday following the death of a GOP's Better Care Reconciliation Act, Republicans began floating the idea of a direct repeal of the Affordable Care Act.

Family files first-of-its kind lawsuit of California peaceful death bill

The family of a terminally ill woman has filed a lawsuit against a medical center and physicians they said consciously ignored California's End of Life Option Act.

Also in the News for Wednesday, July 19

Nurse service to pay $4.4 million to settle allegations it kept hundreds of disenrolled Medicaid beneficiaries on payment roster ... Almost half of Senators ask to discuss lower medical equipment rates again ... More than 30 new Alzheimer's drugs are in the last stage of clinical trials

Providers spared $800 billion in Medicaid funding withdrawal, unsure of what comes next

Providers spared $800 billion in Medicaid funding withdrawal, unsure of what comes next

Providers breathed a sigh of relief Tuesday morning following the death of the GOP healthcare bill, even as Republicans said they'd move forward with a straight repeal.

Providers must ramp-up staff competency, fortify partnerships to reduce readmissions, expert says

Providers must ramp-up staff competency, fortify partnerships to reduce readmissions, expert says

Providers must take a long look at their staff members' competencies and how they communicate with acute-care partners to survive amid a regulatory environment that's constantly ramping up pressure to improve quality, an expert said Monday.

ACHCA pushes back on liability for individual nursing home admins

The American College of Health Care Administrators has issued a firm policy statement that says that although nursing homes should be held accountable for certain misdeeds, individual nursing home administrators should not be held criminally, professional or personally liable for the actions of others.

Nursing home sued after resident allegedly left in hot tub for 8 hours dies

Negligence led to the death of a nursing home resident in a whirlpool, the son of the resident has said in court documents.

Also in the News for Tuesday, July 18

Stressful life events and poverty associated with high rates of dementia in African-Americans ... Canadian nursing home deal poses questions about the role of Chinese influence ... The House will review Medicare fraud-fighting efforts after catching $1.3 billion in fraudulent Medicare and Medicaid billing

CMS proposes Medicare coverage for outpatient joint replacements, changes to SNF 3-day stay rule

CMS proposes Medicare coverage for outpatient joint replacements, changes to SNF 3-day stay rule

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services released two proposals last week that may change where beneficiaries receive joint replacements, and how accountable care organizations deal with the agency's three-day stay rule waiver.

OIG: 90,000 Part D enrollees at 'serious risk' due to excessive opioids, prescribing patterns in question

Roughly half a million Medicare beneficiaries receive high amounts of opioids, with nearly 90,000 of those at "serious risk" from the medications, a federal watchdog warns.

Mother-son duo sentenced to 22 years total in $25 million SNF psychology scam

Two owners of companies that provided psychological services to nursing homes across the Southeast were sentenced Thursday for their roles in a psychological testing scheme that bilked more than $25 million from Medicare.

Also in the News for Monday, July 17

Brookdale hit with class-action lawsuit claiming understaffing, ADA violations ... Medicare will be solvent until 2029, won't trigger IPAB cuts ... House committee approves bill to make special MA plans permanent for nursing home residents

McKnight's Technology Awards' deadline extended until July 28

McKnight's Technology Awards' deadline extended until July 28

The deadline for the 2017 McKnight's Excellence in Technology Awards has been extended two weeks until Friday, July 28.

Providers lament Senate bill keeps 'draconian' Medicaid cuts

Long-term care provider groups expressed disappointment Thursday, lamenting that a revised version of Senate Republicans' healthcare proposal maintained "draconian" provisions from its original iteration.

Post-acute providers involved in record-setting $1.3 billion healthcare fraud takedown

A podiatrist who allegedly inflated Medicare claims services provided to nursing home residents was named Thursday as part of the largest federal healthcare fraud takedown in U.S. history, involving roughly $1.3 billion in false billings.

Also in the News for Friday, July 14

Wife survives husband's nursing home murder-suicide attempt, he dies ... Sabra shareholders urged to reject Care Capital Properties deal ...Providers are increasingly moving to insurance industry, but conflict exists between staff and residents

Kindred subsidiary moved non-terminal patients to hospice care, lawsuit claims

Kindred subsidiary moved non-terminal patients to hospice care, lawsuit claims

Kindred Healthcare Inc. affiliate Gentiva allegedly billed Medicare for hospice services unnecessarily, according to a whistleblower lawsuit unsealed on Monday.

Nursing care occupancy dropped to 86.5% in second quarter

The occupancy rate for nursing care properties fell to 86.5% in the second quarter of 2017, down .7% from the first quarter, the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care reported Wednesday.

CMS seeks to improve consistency among CMPs with analytic tool revisions

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is hoping to even out the way civil monetary penalties are imposed via recently published revisions to its CMP Analytic Tool.

Former CMS admins: Lawmakers should drop Medicaid reforms from health bill entirely

Two former Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services administrators are urging lawmakers to cut Medicaid provisions from their current Affordable Care Act replacement bill, claiming such a move would allow for more bipartisan focus on changing the individual market.

Also in the News for Thursday, July 13

Lawmakers to markup bill to boost Medicare Advantage plans for SNF residents ... CMS publishes technical, typographical corrections to final LTC rule ... Increase in SNF specialists small, but shows promise for residents' medical care, researchers say

SNF deficiencies declining, but staffing still lower than recommended: report

SNF deficiencies declining, but staffing still lower than recommended: report

The average number of deficiencies per nursing home has dropped in recent years, but staffing levels are still falling short of what some experts recommend, according to a new report from the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Senate healthcare bill puts quality of care at risk, coalition says

The number of Medicaid nursing home beds served could decline and some providers might start to refuse accepting Medicaid patients altogether if cuts proposed in the Senate healthcare bill occur, a coalition of aging organizations warned Tuesday.

Fired VA facility administrator sues for alleged sexual orientation discrimination, says he was 'scapegoat' for failures

The former administrator of a Pennsylvania veterans long-term care facility has sued the state's Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, claiming he was fired from the position in part because he is gay.

Also in the News for Wednesday, July 12

$60 million lawsuit alleges memory care understaffing, false billing ... Early home health visits halve risk of hospital readmission following SNF discharge ... New bill would pay seniors to complete an advance directive ... Prescribing physical activity, addressing polypharmacy among AMDA's new frailty clinical practice guideline recommendations

Deadline Friday! McKnight's Technology Awards entries soon due

Deadline Friday! McKnight's Technology Awards entries soon due

The time for providers to submit their entries to the 2017 McKnight's Excellence in Technology Awards is winding down — submissions shall be in by the end of this Friday, July 14.

Residents feeling rushed, unprepared to make SNF decision

Older adults often feel rushed and unprepared when deciding on a skilled nursing facility to enter after hospitalization, a new study finds.

Drama around healthcare law 'sucking all the life' from IPAB repeal

Mounting pressure on Republican lawmakers to pass their Affordable Care Act replacement may sweep other healthcare-related legislation under the rug, some observers say.

Also in the News for Tuesday, July 11

Nurse aiming to stop 'dirty little secret' of healthcare industry ... Focusing on inpatient care cheaper for hospitals that sending patients to SNFs, study shows ... Program to move residents home from SNFs could face cuts under GOP healthcare proposal

Woman who posed as nurse in multiple SNFs pleads guilty, faces up to 5 years in prison

Woman who posed as nurse in multiple SNFs pleads guilty, faces up to 5 years in prison

After posing as a registered nurse at five facilities even though she had no medical training, a Texas woman pleaded guilty in a federal court case last week to making false statements relating to healthcare.

Bill to cap medical malpractice awards likely to fail, critics say

Legislation that has earned provider praise for proposing limits to medical malpractice awards is unlikely to gather enough support to pass the Senate, say opponents of the bill.

Hospice providers to pay more than $13 million in string of kickback, FCA settlements

Multiple hospice providers have agreed to pay millions of dollars to settle physician kickback and False Claims Act allegations, authorities said in separate announcements made Thursday.

Also in the News for Monday, July 10

Hospital clinicians' decisions on post-acute care may be rushed, study shows ... McConnell calls for bipartisan plan if GOP healthcare bill fails ... Falls associated with higher rate of adverse events than previously thought

Skilled nursing provider to settle False Claims allegations for $8.4 million

Skilled nursing provider to settle False Claims allegations for $8.4 million

A Missouri-based skilled nursing facility operator has agreed to pay nearly $8.4 million to settle claims that it provided unnecessary therapy to residents in an attempt to inflate its reimbursement, authorities announced Wednesday.

Training, support for SNF quality improvement program had no effect on hospitalizations: study

Nursing homes that received support in implementing a quality improvement program showed little change in hospitalization rates and emergency department visits compared to facilities that had no support, new research shows.

Texas SNF providers facing law to crack down on violations, eliminate 'right to correct'

Texas long-term care providers will have a harder time avoiding fines and correcting serious deficiencies under a new law meant to crack down on repeat offenders.

Also in the News for Friday, July 7

More than half of special focus SNFs revert to 'dangerous' care ... AHCA/NCAL announces Silver National Quality Award winners ... Completion of end-of-life directives in U.S. inconsistent, varying in quality ... Resident info jeopardized in data security incident, facility reports

Providers heartened by CMS survey enforcement delay

Providers heartened by CMS survey enforcement delay

Provider groups are cheering a delay by the Centers for Medicaid & Medicare Services on enforcement remedies for specific Phase 2 nursing home survey requirements.

State officials receive immunity for SNF civil rights lawsuit

Ohio Department of Health officials have received immunity from a federal civil rights lawsuit that was filed in response to a skilled nursing facility license revocation, according to court documents filed last week.

Nursing home employees praised for saving nursing home residents during facility fire

Two skilled nursing employees were credited this week with rushing into "heavy smoke conditions" and pulling two occupants to safety, according to local reports.

Also in the News for Thursday, July 6

Illinois ordered to pay $586 million a month for Medicaid services owed ... Carolinas Healthcare System will pay $6.5 million to settle False Claims Act charges ... Oregon accused by providers of aggressively curbing nursing home beds

Reader Poll: How do you create time for yourself?

"Instead of taking one big vacation each year, I enjoy getting away for several long weekends — whether it's to a local destination or somewhere more exotic, like Puerto Rico. I also make it a priority in my day-to-day life to take time for myself since I know how important it is for caregivers to take care of themselves as well. For me, that may mean going to the spa, playing sports or even just trying a new restaurant." — Debbie Harry-Miller, Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Heritage Senior Living, West Allis, WI

Ask the Treatment Expert about ... pressure injuries

Ask the Treatment Expert about ... pressure injuries

What type of tissue is found in a pressure injury?

Machine shines a light on wound and trauma detection

Machine shines a light on wound and trauma detection

Using lights of varying wavelengths could help clinicians assess tissue damage with greater accuracy.

New trial backs enzymatic debridement

Researchers have confirmed the use of clostridial collagenase ointment in enzymatic debridement can help treat hard-to-heal diabetic foot ulcers.

Vendors helping nudge HR operations away from paper

Vendors helping nudge HR operations away from paper

For all the push for providers to move to electronic health records, the process of hiring and onboarding employees still often requires paper.

Relias expands further into analytics

Relias Learning has bought Idaho-based WhiteCloud Analytics, the company announced in June.

APM paradise found

APM paradise found

Everyone's talking about Alternative Payment Models (APMs) these days. Providers. Consultants. Cab drivers. Baristas. Everyone.

Where are they now? Asbury Communities

Where are they now? Asbury Communities

The five years since Maryland-based Asbury Communities won a Silver Award in the McKnight's Technology Awards Program for its use of electronic health records software has meant more acceptance by employees, says Denise Scott, Director of Clinical Analytics Processes.

Advance directive app wins big in HHS tech competition

Advance directive app wins big in HHS tech competition

A program that allows consumers to develop and securely share their end-of-life plans with caregivers and healthcare providers is among the winners of the Department of Health and Human Services' "Move Health Data Forward Challenge."

State News for July 2017

State News for July 2017

Illinois must reprioritize payments in order to make a dent in its $2 billion backlog of bills owed to Medicaid providers, including long-term care operators, a federal judge ordered in June.

Ask The Care Expert about ... antibiograms

Ask The Care Expert about ... antibiograms

We're starting an antibiotic stewardship program at our facility and I was told that as the head nurse, I should be using our "antibiogram." I am not familiar with this — can you help?

Take families' observations seriously, researchers urge

Take families' observations seriously, researchers urge

Skilled nursing residents' family members may be the key to helping reduce unnecessary hospital admissions, according to a recent study.

Program cut CAUTIs by 54%, study finds

A safety-focused program for skilled nursing facilities helped reduce the rate of catheter associated urinary tract infections by 54%.

Profile: Amanda Kistler

Profile: Amanda Kistler

Amanda Kistler is embarrassed to admit what first spiked her interest in nursing, but it's a story as charming as she is.

Ask The Payment Expert about ... Phase 2 of the Requirements of Participation

Ask The Payment Expert about ... Phase 2 of the Requirements of Participation

When does Phase 2 of the Requirements of Participation start and should we be concerned?

MedPAC calls for payment reforms to come even earlier

MedPAC calls for payment reforms to come even earlier

Federal lawmakers' advisory panel for Medicare made it official in its report to Congress in June: It recommends implementation of a unified post-acute payment system beginning in 2021 — three years earlier than first proposed.

Family wins camera case

The Minnesota Department of Health ruled against a provider recently in a closely watched case involving a surveillance camera in a resident room.

60 Seconds with... Denise Likar VP, SCAN's Community Service Organization

60 Seconds with... Denise Likar VP, SCAN's Community Service Organization

Q: How many seniors are estimated to have a mental health concern?

Trump budget wields more Medicaid cuts than expected

Trump budget wields more Medicaid cuts than expected

Providers who first thought they would be on uncommonly good footing with Republicans controlling both chambers of Congress and the White House were stunned earlier this year when Medicaid reform was put on the table.

GOP health bill gets tougher on Medicaid

It was unclear at press time whether Senate Republicans could reach 50 votes needed for passage of a controversial healthcare bill that would involve deep long-term cuts to Medicaid.

Vendor to pay $155M in first-of-kind case

Vendor to pay $155M in first-of-kind case

An electronic health records vendor accused of paying kickbacks and selling its software even though it wasn't certified will pay $155 million to settle legal claims.

Expert rips need for CON laws

Ending nursing home certificate-of-need laws could spur innovation within the sector, one expert argued in a published journal piece in June.

McKnight's honored again

McKnight's honored again

McKnight's Long-Term Care News won four national awards at the 2017 American Society of Business Publication Editors competition.

Legionnaires' traced to LTC

Long-term care facilities were the largest single source of Legionnaires' disease cases in healthcare facilities in 2015, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

SNF occupancy to bottom out?

If current trends continue, occupancy rates in skilled nursing facilities could be headed to new lows this year, said analysts from the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care.

CMS gives guidance on emergency prep

CMS gives guidance on emergency prep

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services published guidance in June in advance of its final emergency preparedness rule for providers.

Arbitration win suits providers

Arbitration win suits providers

The Trump administration announced that it was abandoning an Obama-era rule that would outlaw pre-dispute arbitration agreements, initiating a celebration by long-term care providers.

Reform's new 'lynchpin'

Reform's new 'lynchpin'

The long-term care sector is reeling a bit, thanks to two recent developments.

Ask the Nursing Expert about ... policies and procedures

Ask the Nursing Expert about ... policies and procedures

How can I simplify the policies and procedures at my facility to make them more user-friendly?

Control could offset fatigue problems

The best way to combat universal fatigue among nurses might be to grant them more control over their schedules.

Transitions and quality command center stage as experts examine post-acute care's future

Transitions and quality command center stage as experts examine post-acute care's future

Few will dispute the value of ensuring patients are optimally treated and attended to as they move across care settings.

Ask The Legal Expert about ... compliance programs

Ask The Legal Expert about ... compliance programs

What's needed for a vibrant compliance program in today's increasingly scrutinized legal climate?

Court: CNAs' overtime case may continue

A lawsuit alleging a New Jersey skilled nursing facility underpaid its certified nursing assistants for overtime and meal breaks may continue, the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit ruled in May.

Omnicare settles kickback, FCA cases for $31 million

Omnicare settles kickback, FCA cases for $31 million

Long-term care pharmacy giant Omnicare agreed to pay a total of $31 million in May to settle allegations it submitted false claims and accepted kickbacks to promote certain drugs.

How to do it... Boosting retention

Providers are increasingly realizing they need to apply some of the "TLC" for residents to their hard-working staff, as well — or risk absenteeism and attrition. Experts offer valuable insights on how best to ensure employees are getting adequate care and attention.

Winning 'curb appeal'

Winning 'curb appeal'

Common area appearances are the valuable opportunity to entice and impress prospective clients and their family members both before and long after move-in

Through thick and thin

Through thick and thin

Age, health declines may lead to skin breakdowns, but judicious use of products paired with nutritional and incontinence interventions can lessen the pain

SNF deals hit $500 million

Transactions within the nursing care sector reached $500 million in the first quarter of 2017, according to the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care.

Sabra Health Care, CCP to team up in $7.4 billion deal

Sabra Health Care, CCP to team up in $7.4 billion deal

Care Capital Properties and Sabra Health Care REIT will join forces to create a "premier" healthcare real estate investment trust, the companies announced in May.

A Day in the Life

A Day in the Life

A long-overdue accolade

One threat removed, but even bigger one remains

One threat removed, but even bigger one remains

Make no mistake: Long-term care providers will take a victory wherever they can, and the Trump administration's move to rescind the Obama administration's ban on pre-dispute arbitration agreements is a win with a capital "W."

CMS releases new survey interpretive guidance, will delay penalties for one year

CMS releases new survey interpretive guidance, will delay penalties for one year

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services said Friday it "has heard concerns" about requirements for Phase 2 survey guidelines and will be postponing enforcement penalties for another year.

Value-based pay push 'here to stay' under new administration, CMS officials say

Despite uncertainty surrounding the future of value-based care under President Donald Trump's administration, initiatives focused on tying payment to quality will continue full steam ahead, according to federal officials.

Trump administration won't defend DOL overtime rule

Federal officials' fight to enact an overtime rule that long-term care providers have dreaded won't be continued by the new administration, according to court documents filed Friday.

C. diff rates in healthcare settings drop for first time in a decade

Clostridium difficile rates are dropping for the first time in a decade in healthcare settings, and it's likely due to better cleaning and antibiotic prescribing policies, authorities say.

Also in the News for Wednesday, July 5

As expected, Kindred announces deal to totally exit SNF business ... Bankruptcy issues and SNF provider agreements left in limbo after court ruling ... Senate health bill would slash Medicaid spending by 35% over two decades ... Chocolate may increase short-term cognitive function and decrease risk of brain decline

House-approved bill to limit malpractice awards will help LTC 'when we need it the most,' group says

House-approved bill to limit malpractice awards will help LTC 'when we need it the most,' group says

House lawmakers voted on Wednesday to advance legislation that would place limits on awards and attorneys fees for medical malpractice cases — a move that would benefit the long-term care sector in today's turbulent healthcare climate, according to one provider group.

Third of nursing home residents list high pain levels in last months of life

One third of nursing home residents suffer significant pain in the last six months of life, a new study has found.

Also in the News for Friday, June 30

Senate bill would increase state Medicaid spending by $565 million ... Former SNF manager charged with $50,000 theft from residents ... Even low levels of air pollution could increase risk of death for seniors

HIPAA breaches bringing heavy implications, class-action lawsuit threats

HIPAA breaches bringing heavy implications, class-action lawsuit threats

Federal HIPAA penalties have lurked in the wings for years, but now accused operators have state attorneys' general and plaintiff's attorneys to worry about.