Lawmakers fire back over MedPAC's proposed cuts to long-term care

Lawmakers fire back over MedPAC's proposed cuts to long-term care

Some House lawmakers raised concerns last week over the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission's plan to recommend reimbursement cuts for post-acute care providers to Congress.

Safety program helped cut SNF infection rates by more than 50%

The rate of catheter-associated urinary tract infections fell by 54% for a cohort of long-term care facilities that took part in a patient safety program, according to research published Friday.

SNF employees discover they're long-lost cousins after years of working together

Two veteran employees of The Palace Nursing and Rehab Center in Kendall, FL, received quite a surprise — and some new family members — when they discovered they were long-lost second cousins.

Also in the News for Monday, May 22

SNF resident dies after catching fire while smoking ... Many end-of-life care patients still receiving questionable drugs ... Former SNF revamps as foundation focused on research to improve care for elderly African Americans

McKnight's scores four national Azbee awards for news, commentary

McKnight's scores four national Azbee awards for news, commentary

McKnight's Long-Term Care News has won four national awards in the 2017 American Society of Business Publication Editors competition. They were presented Thursday in St. Petersburg, FL.

HHS delays cardiac, orthopedic bundled payment models again

The Department of Health and Human Services have again pushed back dates for new bundled payment models, making the the start date for certain provisions to be Jan. 1, 2018.

Former SNF employee gets 4 years for stealing $173,000 from residents

A former business office manager of an Ohio skilled nursing facility was sentenced to four years in prison this week for stealing more than $173,000 from residents' trust funds.

Also in the News for Friday, May 19

Senate healthcare plan could leave ACA provisions in place until 2020 ... Bill to improve chronic care for Medicare patients approved by Senate committee ... FDA: Diabetes drug linked to increased amputation risk

Omnicare to pay $8 million to settle false claims allegations

Omnicare to pay $8 million to settle false claims allegations

Long-term care pharmacy giant Omnicare agreed on Tuesday to pay $8 million to clear up allegations that it used an automated system to submit false claims to Medicare and Medicaid.

GOP health bill's tax credits don't target seniors as well as ACA credits: report

Older adults could see smaller tax credits from the American Health Care Act than those offered to them by the Affordable Care Act, according to new research.

Opioids for hospitalized seniors linked to negative outcomes

Seniors who receive opioids medications while hospitalized for non-surgical conditions could face a variety of negative health outcomes, a new study shows.

Also in the News for Thursday, May 18

Younger doctors may increase survival chances for older patients ... House panel advances bill to boost dental care for seniors, SNF residents ... Feds sue UnitedHealth again, alleging $1 billion in false claims

Medicaid expansion could survive under Senate's version of ACA repeal bill

Medicaid expansion could survive under Senate's version of ACA repeal bill

Existing Medicaid expansion could be preserved under a Senate version of the American Health Care Act.

Coroner releases findings from Ohio nursing home shooting

Initial findings from an investigation into last week's shooting at an Ohio nursing home that claimed the lives of two employees were released by authorities on Monday.

Taking Social Security numbers off Medicare IDs could spell disaster, providers say

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' plan to remove Medicare beneficiaries' Social Security numbers off of their ID cards could lead to disruptions in care, providers told the agency last week.

Also in the News for Wednesday, May 17

Report: CMS failed to rein in Medicaid, Medicare improper payments in FY 2016 ... Shuttered SNF sued by state over security of abandoned medical records ... House panel to hold hearing on strengthening Medicare payment policies

Supreme Court grants nursing home win in arbitration case

Supreme Court grants nursing home win in arbitration case

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday took a Kentucky nursing home's side in a closely-watched case involving power of attorney and arbitration.

Study: Do-not-hospitalize orders rarely used, but can cut unnecessary hospital stays for SNF residents

Do-not-hospitalize orders help reduce the number of hospital stays and emergency department visits for nursing home residents, but they are used by a relatively small portion of the population, according to a new study.

Medicaid can collect SNF room-and-board costs, state high court rules

Nebraska's Medicaid program can claim reimbursement from beneficiaries for skilled nursing room-and-board costs, the state's high court ruled on Friday.

Also in the News for Tuesday, May 16

FY 2018 budget could include legislation on Medicare, Ryan says ... QRP reporting deadline pushed to June 1 due to 'extenuating circumstances' ... Price: Senate's AHCA repeal vote could come by August

Two SNF employees, police chief among dead in nursing home shooting

Two SNF employees, police chief among dead in nursing home shooting

Two Ohio nursing home employees and a police officer are dead following a shooting at the facility Friday morning.

Senator: Standards for facilities accepting VA reimbursements need to change

Standards to accept reimbursement from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs should be changed for nursing homes so that they can provide more care to veterans, one lawmaker said last week.

Preventable hospitalizations down, nursing home quality steady, report finds

Potentially preventable hospitalizations among Medicare beneficiaries have dropped 25% over the past four years, according to a report published last week.

Also in the News for Monday, May 15

Nursing home sued by family of resident who died during Legionnaires' outbreak ... Nursing homes settle lawsuit over lack of sign language interpreter services ... State releases SNF database in push for managed care payment system

Provider to pay $2.4 million to settle HIPAA violation after naming patient in press release

Provider to pay $2.4 million to settle HIPAA violation after naming patient in press release

A Texas health system has agreed to pay $2.4 million to settle potential HIPAA violations stemming from an incident where it named a patient in a press release, authorities announced Wednesday.

State AGs call for more authority to investigate Medicaid abuse and neglect

A group of 38 state attorneys general have requested expanded authority from Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, M.D., to tackle fraud and abuse within the Medicaid program.

Suit against SNF operator tossed for lack of proof company was directly involved in resident's care

A federal court has dismissed a lawsuit alleging negligence by a Utah-based healthcare owner by stating it did not have direct involvement in a resident's care and subsequent death.

Also in the News for Friday, May 12

Former nursing home bookkeeper sentenced to jail for stealing $6,000 from residents ... Almost all RNs satisfied with job but struggle with fatigue, survey reports ... CMS grants extension of rule aimed at keeping Medicaid beneficiaries out of nursing homes

White House meets on potential repeal of nursing home arbitration ban

White House meets on potential repeal of nursing home arbitration ban

The White House Office of Management and Budget held a meeting with nursing home consumer advocates on Friday to discuss a federal rule that could possibly roll back the national ban on pre-dispute arbitration agreements.

Medicare Advantage beneficiaries less likely to use post-acute care, analysis finds

More Medicare Advantage beneficiaries are being discharged from the hospital directly to their homes, instead of to a post-acute care facility, than traditional fee-for-service patients, according to a new analysis from Avalere.

Lawmakers warn that HHS restricting their communications with Congress could hamper fraud, abuse investigations

Republican lawmakers are expressing concerns that a recent memo issued to Department of Health and Human Services employees may hinder communication between HHS staffers and Congress.

Also in the News for Thursday, May 11

Senate could ease Medicaid cuts in new healthcare bill ... First national study of Music & Memory shows program helps reduce antipsychotic use ... State's suit against SNF chain will continue despite motions to stay the case

McKnight's Excellence in Technology Awards return, now accepting entries

McKnight's Excellence in Technology Awards return, now accepting entries

The 2017 McKnight's Excellence in Technology awards are back, and now accepting submissions from long-term and senior care providers on leveraging technology to improve their communities.

Lawsuit seeks $1 million from SNF after employee took Snapchat video of resident

The family of a Texas nursing home resident who appeared in inappropriate Snapchats is suing the facility, claiming it was negligent to hire the certified nursing assistant who posted the videos.

Playing favorites and workplace gossip hurt quality of care, providers charge

Gossip, rudeness and playing "favorites" hurts the quality of healthcare in facilities, a new report alleges.

Also in the News for Wednesday, May 10

Brius seeks change of venue for understaffing lawsuit ... New Jersey expands 'safe care cam' program to nursing homes ... Insurance provider launches campaign to combat loneliness in seniors

Sabra, Care Capital Properties to merge in $7.4 billion deal

Sabra, Care Capital Properties to merge in $7.4 billion deal

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

SNF off the hook for $790,000 in damages in fall case, court rules

A Kentucky nursing home won't have to pay $790,000 in punitive damages in a case that claimed facility negligence caused a resident's fall and eventual death, an appellate court ruled on Friday.

Addiction group wants non-penal approaches for nurse substance abuse problems

Healthcare facilities should adopt an "alternative-to-discipline" approach when treating nursing staff with substance abuse disorders, according to a new policy statement from the International Nurses Society on Addictions.

Also in the News for Tuesday, May 9

Nursing home funding pledge sold lawmaker on Obamacare replacement bill ... Expert witness OK to let sexual assault lawsuit against SNF continue ... Bill would require providers to pay healthcare students for training hours

State high court upholds class action status in understaffing suit against SNF

State high court upholds class action status in understaffing suit against SNF

A wrongful death complaint filed against an Arkansas nursing home may continue as a class action lawsuit, the state's supreme court ruled on Thursday.

CMS opioid strategy could keep palliative care patients from receiving therapy, expert says

A plan released by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to combat opioid abuse could end up harming patients who require the drugs for end-of-life-care, according to one expert.

McKnight's brings home 5 regional Azbee awards

McKnight's Long-Term Care News picked up five regional awards at the American Society of Business Publication Editors Upper Midwest awards dinner, held Thursday in Chicago.

Also in the News for Monday, May 8

Senate GOP members to write own health act instead of voting on House bill ... Strike that would've impacted dozens of Chicago-area nursing homes canceled ... Doctor banned from SNF after allegedly showing black employee a photo of a monkey

Pollution can delay wound healing: study

Air-polluting diesel exhaust particles, already linked to cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, also can delay diabetic wound healing, according to South Korean researchers.

IAD prevention cited as reason for more wound-care nursing

IAD prevention cited as reason for more wound-care nursing

A first-of-its-kind study tying incontinence-associated dermatitis to several risk factors underscores the need for wound and ostomy care nurses in skilled nursing facilities.

Ask the Treatment Expert about ... repositioning and mobilization

Ask the Treatment Expert about ... repositioning and mobilization

How can repositioning and mobilization be most effective in preventing pressure injuries in this day and age?

McKesson entity now Change Healthcare

Parts of McKesson Corporation and Change Healthcare Holdings have merged to create a new healthcare information technology company called Change Healthcare. It includes all of Change Healthcare's business and the majority of McKesson Technology Solutions. It will employ about 15,000 workers.

SCA splitting: health, tissue division to be called Essity

SCA splitting: health, tissue division to be called Essity

SCA, which owns Tork and Tena, has announced they will be split into two separate companies. The Away-From-Home tissue and medical solutions company formerly known under Tena and Tork will be called Essity, while SCA's forest products company will simply be called SCA.

A day at the opera?

A day at the opera?

We all have guilty pleasures — things we secretly enjoy but don't have the courage to admit to long-term care colleagues at stand-up.

Where Are They Now: Windsor Healthcare Communities

Where Are They Now: Windsor Healthcare Communities

The Windsor Garden Care Center's Bronze Award in the High Tech/High Touch category of the McKnight's Technology Awards in 2013 reflected the burgeoning use of video.

Windows create a new world for residents with dementia

Windows create a new world for residents with dementia

Dutch designers have developed interactive art screens to help nursing home residents reconnect in a more meaningful way with family, caregivers and the outside world.

State News for May 2017

State News for May 2017

Montana — An increase in Montana's tobacco tax could help nursing homes, under legislation currently being debated.

Researchers seek face-saving interventions

Facial injuries among skilled nursing residents may be flying under the radar while significantly boosting healthcare costs in the United States, according to recent research.

Skilled facilities don't skimp on hospice care, study finds

Skilled facilities don't skimp on hospice care, study finds

Skilled nursing residents receive a similar level of hospice care as patients residing in an assisted living facility or at home, a recent study shows. The study's findings upend previous beliefs that skilled nursing residents may be receiving less care.

Ask the Care Expert about ... medication-related falls

Ask the Care Expert about ... medication-related falls

It seems like residents on more drugs have more falls. Is there information I can use to train my staff to watch out for this?

Profile: Christopher Perna

Profile: Christopher Perna

A few days before Christmas in 1991, Chris Perna passed out in a work cafeteria and woke up in an emergency room.

LTC relieved, cautious after bill's demise

Providers breathed a sigh of relief in late March after a GOP House healthcare bill was taken off the table.

With Medicaid 'broken,' the fight will go to fraud, waste

With Medicaid 'broken,' the fight will go to fraud, waste

Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, M.D., called the Medicaid program "broken" and said it needed a stronger focus on fighting fraud and waste during a House subcommittee hearing in late March.

60 Seconds With ... Thomas Martin

60 Seconds With ... Thomas Martin

Q: What's the first project you want to undertake?

Antibiotic programs on clock

Providers must have their new antibiotic stewardship programs in place by Nov. 28, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is emphasizing.

Don't wait to train for emergencies: CMS

Don't wait to train for emergencies: CMS

Operators should begin conducting emergency training exercises as soon as possible in order to meet the Nov. 15 implementation date of the recent emergency preparedness final rule.

Readmission risk increased

Readmission risk increased

Heart failure patients who went to a nursing home were 50% more likely to be readmitted to the hospital than patients who returned home instead, according to a study in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

Dementia drug use questioned

Canadian researchers urged reconsideration of how drugs are administered to nursing home residents with dementia shortly before death.

Submit entries to tech awards

Submit entries to tech awards

The 2017 McKnight's Excellence in Technology Awards are now accepting submissions from long-term and senior care providers.

Unified pay by 2021: MedPAC

The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission voted in April to recommend an accelerated timeline that would see implementation of a site-neutral post-acute care payment system kick off in 2021.

Providers challenge Verma on citations

Providers challenge Verma on citations

LeadingAge executives met with new Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma in April, prioritizing regulatory concerns.

Well, look who's back

Well, look who's back

It wasn't too long ago that thousands of nursing homes were fleeing the Medicaid program.

Court dismisses AG's suit against Golden

A Pennsylvania court in March dismissed a lawsuit filed against 25 Golden LivingCenters by the former state attorney general.

SCOTUS sides with provider, won't take arbitration case

SCOTUS sides with provider, won't take arbitration case

In a win for providers, the United States Supreme Court declined in late March to review an arbitration dispute between an Extendicare facility and the family of a deceased resident.

Ask the Legal Expert about ... the right-to-die movement

Ask the Legal Expert about ... the right-to-die movement

What should we know and/or do about the right-to-die movement, which seems to be growing?

How to do it ... financing in the age of Trump

The new administration has promised to relax restrictive regulations and provide a host of economic incentives to expand and improve. But providers should beware of the double-edged sword of uncertainty. On this page we've gathered assessments and advice from top financial experts on how to survive, and thrive, in the coming years.

On the 'go'

On the 'go'

In-bed washes and adaptive bathroom equipment keep comfort a reality

Lighting's prominence

Lighting's prominence

Examining the rising role of how spaces are designed and illuminated

Design Decisions: The Pavilion at Queens

Design Decisions: The Pavilion at Queens

The Pavilion at Queens installs a unique rehab feature for post-surgical and stroke patients — an actual home to help them re-learn routines

SNFs sold for $82 million

A portfolio of 18 Midwest skilled nursing facilities was sold in a $82 million deal mediated by Blueprint Healthcare Real Estate Advisors.

A surge for healthcare REITs after repeal-effort sputters

A surge for healthcare REITs after repeal-effort sputters

The recent failure of the GOP's American Health Care Act has left the healthcare industry in a period of pause that's likely to benefit real estate investment trusts, according to observers.

How sweet it is

How sweet it is

It's hard to tell who benefits more from a unique intergenerational partnership taking place at The New Jewish Home in New York: the memory care residents or the young people with whom they work.

Reader Poll: How do you handle conflict between staff members?

Reader Poll: How do you handle conflict between staff members?

"We get out the ruler. We're kidding! We try to get them to talk to each other and listen to each other. You have to meet them where they are. The last thing they want us to do is bring God into it, although some of them experience God through us."

SNF employment: Does it mean life in slow lane?

SNF employment: Does it mean life in slow lane?

With one son in college and another trying to figure out where to attend, the future job market is a topic near and dear to this writer's heart.

Missing PBJ deadlines will lead to 'suppressed' star ratings, CMS warns

Missing PBJ deadlines will lead to 'suppressed' star ratings, CMS warns

Skilled nursing providers who miss two Payroll Based Journaling deadlines in a row will face "suppressed" Five Star ratings, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services officials said Thursday. Their warning comes less than two weeks before the May 15 submission deadline for data from the second fiscal quarter.

GOP healthcare bill passes House, drawing provider ire

The GOP's bill to replace the Affordable Care Act passed the House by a narrow margin on Thursday, igniting responses from provider groups who fear the impact on Medicaid funding and care for seniors.

False Claims Act lawsuit against SavaSeniorCare, Medline unsealed

A 2015 lawsuit claiming SavaSeniorCare violated the False Claims Act by accepting kickbacks from Medline and creating a "revenge" scheme against a competitor was unsealed in court last week.

Also in the News for Friday, May 5

Kindred CEO: Sale rumors 'noise' caused by skilled nursing exit ... SNF employee arrested for stealing more than $50,000 from facility ... AHRQ seeking comments from SNFs as part of antibiotic safety study

Amendment pushes resistant lawmakers forward on GOP healthcare bill, vote to take place today

Amendment pushes resistant lawmakers forward on GOP healthcare bill, vote to take place today

An amendment added to the GOP's healthcare bill has helped sway two lawmakers who had previously opposed the legislation, paving the way for a House vote to be held today.

States with higher elderly populations will have more open nursing slots to fill, report predicts

Good news for nurses may create staffing challenges for administrators, as a new report indicates states with more residents over age 65 will be creating more job opportunities in healthcare.

Study confirms: Blood infections in SNFs traced to contaminated syringes

A rash of blood infections that hit nearly 60 long-term care facilities on the East Coast last year have been traced back to contaminated saline flush syringes, researchers announced last week.

Also in the News for Thursday, May 4

HHS files to revise law banning transgender discrimination in healthcare ... OSHA rescinds rule on employee injury, illness record keeping ... Geriatrics training program for police shows promise

DOJ: UnitedHealth ignored beneficiary conditions to bilk Medicare

DOJ: UnitedHealth ignored beneficiary conditions to bilk Medicare

Federal authorities have officially launched a complaint against insurance giant UnitedHealth Group in a lawsuit claiming the company "knowingly disregarded" beneficiary information in order to receive higher Medicare Advantage payments.

'Bundles' of prevention practices best to reduce UTI rates, review finds

Using a "bundled" intervention approach has shown success in combating urinary tract infections in nursing homes, according to a recently published research review.

Sea creature drug shows promise for Alzheimer's disease

A new experimental drug is gaining attention for its novel approach to prevent Alzheimer's-related memory loss, as well as its unique ingredient — a bushy sea creature that resembles seaweed.

Also in the News for Wednesday, May 3

ACO, care management program helped reduce costs, hospitalizations ... Sleep medications may double seniors' risk of hip fractures ... Medicaid expansion didn't harm private insurance rates

McKnight's earns national awards for news coverage, writing and commentary

McKnight's earns national awards for news coverage, writing and commentary

McKnight's Long-Term Care News has been honored with four awards from the American Society of Healthcare Publication Editors, including accolades for best news coverage, profile writing and commentary.

Budget deal preserves $4 billion in funding for CMS, boosts HHS funds by $2.8 billion

Funding for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services would remain steady for the remainder of fiscal 2017 under federal spending legislation released early Monday.

Franken: Proposal to lift nursing home arbitration ban 'misguided'

A proposal that could reverse a federal ban on pre-dispute arbitration agreements in nursing homes would be a "misguided decision" on the part of the administration, according to Sen. Al Franken (D-MN).

Also in the News for Tuesday, May 2

Adjusting seniors' medications can reduce fall risk ... Kickback suit involving Alzheimer's drug dismissed after attorney misconduct ... Lawsuit filed against transport company that dropped SNF resident off miles away from facility

Content with capped 1% increase, providers turn focus to quality aspects of pay rule

Content with capped 1% increase, providers turn focus to quality aspects of pay rule

Long-term care associations expressed some relief last week after the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced a federally mandated 1% Medicare pay raise — with no negative adjustments.

Court grants nursing home a win in appeal of $1 million medical negligence suit

An Ohio appeals court has ruled in favor of a skilled nursing facility in a medical malpractice case, granting its appeal and vacating the more than $1 million in damages and attorney fees levied against it in 2015.

Package of fentanyl sent to reporter traced back to nursing home

A box containing packages of fentanyl designated for a deceased nursing home resident was anonymously mailed to a reporter last week.

Also in the News for Monday, May 1

Feds denied say in $347 million suit against SNF provider ... Changes to GOP healthcare bill jeopardize patient-centered care, geriatrics group says ... Health IT needs fewer regulations, Price says