MISSISSIPPI — Postal inspectors allege nursing home employees here and in California may have unwittingly referred families and residents seeking help with Medicaid and veterans' benefits to an individual who allegedly filed troublesome paperwork and defrauded others of hundreds of thousands of dollars in what they described as a sophisticated Ponzi scheme.
ILLINOIS — Gov. Pat Quinn (D) has signed a new law making it easier for people to lodge complaints against nursing homes.
MAINE - The state's nursing homes will get their first Medicaid rate increase in six years after a breathtaking display of mid-summer political brinksmanship. But dark days still loom in a state beset with closures and an over-65 population ratio that's second only to Florida's.
KANSAS — The state no longer will publicly release survey results for nursing homes going through the informal dispute resolution process, the Department for Aging and Disability Services (KDADS) recently announced. Long-term care associations and consumer advocacy groups have protested the new system, the Kansas Health Institute News Service reported.
ILLINOIS — Democratic Gov. Patrick Quinn was expected to sign legislation designed to reverse decades of race-based disparities in the care provided in all types of long-term care settings.
WASHINGTON - A proposal for a sorely needed veteran's nursing home in Walla Walla remains mired in red tape and declining federal funding while elected officials continue pushing the Veterans Administration for answers.
PENNSYLVANIA - The state's nursing home operators say they are approaching fiscal disaster as facilities look at razor-thin margins half the national average.
HAWAII — One of the most expensive states in the country for long-term care is staring down the barrel of dwindling budgets and a rapidly growing elderly population. Officials are taking proactive measures to ensure adequate funding and better engage aging residents.
MINNESOTA — Residents of rural long-term care facilities have been scrambling to find rides to medical appointments due to a change enacted by Blue Cross/Blue Shield.
NEW JERSEY - Untold amounts of money have been pilfered from nursing home residents' funds by those entrusted to protect them, and little government oversight exists to prevent it. This is one reason the state decided to intervene under a new law requiring the New Jersey Health Commissioner to routinely audit residents' accounts, officials said.
NORTH CAROLINA — A citizen advocacy group called the N.C. Senior Tar Heel Legislature wants state lawmakers to address the number of certified nursing assistants in long-term care facilities.
ARIZONA — U.S. Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D-AZ) has put forward a bill that would allow government funding for veteran nursing homes built on Native American tribal land.
NEW JERSEY — A "bill of rights" for independent living residents of continuing care retirement communities hit the governor's desk after passing out of the Senate in August. Sens. Robert Singer (R-30) and Jennifer Beck (R-11) sponsored the measure.
MASSACHUSETTS — An ongoing debate over nursing homes' use of antipsychotics flared in July during a meeting of the Joint Committee on Elder Affairs.
Ohio — State nursing home investigations have spiked, raising questions about how the attorney general's office is utilizing surveillance cameras.
Connecticut — The National Labor Relations Board has sued HealthBridge Management for contempt of court, marking the latest development in a long-running dispute.
A bill requiring nursing home workers to report elder abuse cleared both houses of the legislature and was sent to Gov. John Hickenlooper (D). SB 111 was developed by an elder abuse task force convened in 2012 and sponsored by Sen. Evie Hudak (D-Westminster). Colorado is currently one of three states that do not have an elder abuse reporting requirement for senior care professionals.
A four-person review panel would have to approve civil malpractice lawsuits against long-term care providers before the claims could go to court, under a bill that recently passed the state senate in Kentucky.
Virginia — State Sen. Bill Stanley (R) has introduced a bill requiring that nursing homes, assisted living facilities and other certified nursing facilities obtain minimum levels of insurance. If SB70 becomes law, affected facilities would have to maintain liability coverage of at least $1 million, and have levels of professional liability insurance defined by the state's medical malpractice caps.
The Florida Health Care Association (FHA) criticized a report that one in five Florida nursing homes appears on the state's watch list for failing to meet minimum care standards or correct violations within a specified time frame.
A pending bill would prohibit unauthorized provider reimbursement rate decreases by other managed care organizations, as well as Medicaid and NJ FamilyCare.
It could be months before New York and New Jersey long-term care facilities and their residents fully recover from the double whammy of Hurricane Sandy and the subsequent nor'easter winter storm in early November.
ALABAMA - Voters in mid-September overwhelmingly approved a constitutional amendment to use more than $400 million from a rarely tapped source to shore up the Medicaid program and avoid a 12% cut.
OHIO - A plan to incentivize providers for better care with financial rewards instead of penalties is gaining traction among the state's 970 nursing homes. Advocates say the pay-for-performance model could eventually improve quality, while opponents claim some incentives are either too weak or unattainable.
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy (D) joined 700 striking nursing home workers after a National Labor Relations Board ruling found their employer violated labor laws.
Gov. Deval Patrick (D) has signed off on sweeping reforms designed to improve dementia care in nursing homes. The law includes a requirement for minimum care standards for dementia care units, and mandates dementia-specific training for all direct-care workers, activities directors and supervisors.
State News: Federal officials like preventative medicine approach as a cure for state's ailing Medicaid program
Lawmakers are hoping an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure for the state's ailing Medicaid program. Additionally, its plan to push seniors' wellness programs is being eyed as a potential reform model following the Obama administration's $1.9 billion pledge to help it succeed.
Consumer advocates in Kansas are concerned about a series of decisions by Gov. Sam Brownback (R) to appoint nursing home industry veterans to high-level Department of Aging positions.
Lawmakers in Colorado are trying to change the fact that their state is one of only four that do not have mandatory reporting laws governing elder abuse. State Sen. Evie Hudak (D) introduced legislation that would form a task force to study mandatory reporting. It would offer recommendations by Dec. 1, the Denver Post reported.
Illinois lawmakers delayed a vote on a bill requiring that at least 20% of all nursing and personal care in a nursing home be provided by a registered nurse.
Gov. Mitch Daniels (R) signed anti-union legislation early in February that will turn Indiana into a right-to-work state. Right-to-work legislation bans unions from requiring members to pay union dues, a move that pro-labor critics of the legislation characterize as "union-busting."
Due partly to the average 11.1% reduction in Medicare payments to nursing homes that took effect in October, New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez (R) is asking state legislators to approve her state budget, which earmarks $8 million for skilled nursing facilities.
OHIO — The state's skilled nursing facilities have shed or plan to shed 2,800 jobs in the wake of recent Medicare and Medicaid cuts, new survey results show.
California has managed to gain Obama administration approval to cut the state's Medicaid program funding by $1.4 billion. Providers soon will feel the sting of 10% reimbursement cuts.
NEW YORK - That the state health department cut nursing home Medicaid funding this year was enough of a sting, but having to recoup payouts from years before was the proverbial straw for nearly 36 facilities, which are now suing the state Health Department.
FLORIDA - Federal HHS investigators accused the state's Department of Elder Affairs of violating the Older Americans Act, capping a five-month investigation over a series of actions it claims unlawfully neutralized the powers of a nursing home watchdog program.
Ongoing Medicaid program cuts have now led to a game of musical chairs in the state's nursing homes, which no longer can hold the room of a resident who is temporarily hospitalized or leaves to visit friends or family.
OHIO — Instead of cutting its way out of an $8 billion budget shortfall, the state will instead shift more funding dollars away from nursing homes toward less costly home-based long-term care in a move that is being billed as one of the most profound Medicaid program overhauls in history.
Six skilled nursing facilities are still sorting through the debris and fallout of lives and jobs uprooted from a tornado that nearly leveled the entire city of Joplin, MO, in late April.
You've seen Jack Nicholson's portrayal of R.P. McMurphy in "One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest," pretending to swallow pills given to him by Nurse Ratched in a small paper cup.
MINNESOTA--Just days after approving expansion of the state's Medicaid rolls by 95,000 people in mid-February, Gov. Mark Dayton unveiled a fiscal budget that would cut Medicaid payments for long-term care by $87 million.
Gov. Jan Brewer (R) asked Arizona's congressional delegation, as well as U.S. House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), to introduce legislation that would remove the spending requirement for state Medicaid programs. A letter from Brewer said increased Medicaid spending is one of the biggest culprits in the state's budget crisis, The Arizona Republic reported.
Gov. Haley Barbour (R) is looking to Medicaid to balance the state's troubled budget. Barbour's proposal includes a 4% reduction in Medicaid payments to nursing homes and an 8% cut to hospitals and other healthcare providers.
Governor-elect Terry Branstad (R) recently told Iowa Public Television viewers that the state's nursing home inspectors have "a gotcha attitude" when it comes to in the way they enforce regulations in Iowa nursing homes.
Nursing homes in Southeast Michigan are experiencing a budget crisis, and the area could soon face a shortage of skilled nursing facilities, according to a recent report.
Recently passed nursing home reform laws in Illinois will require facilities to increase the number of staff. It's a requirement many in the nursing home industry are calling a Catch-22.
Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear (D) has called on state health officials to review the way in which the state handles reports of abuse and neglect in nursing homes.
Gov. Mark Parkinson (D) signed a bill that reverses a 10% Medicaid cut that took effect Jan. 1.
Looking to hang on to an estimated $7.8 billion in federal healthcare funds, the Arizona Legislature has decided not to remove 300,000 enrollees from the state-run Medicaid program.
Lawmakers in April struck a budget deal that would slash payments to nursing homes by $300 million.
The governor was expected to sign a budget bill that would slash nearly $124 million in Medicaid payments from nursing homes in fiscal years 2011 and 2012.
The Health Facilities Association of Maryland is asking the state to support a bill that would raise the quality assessment tax.
Starting April 1, the Oklahoma Health Care Authority is reducing Medicaid reimbursements to nursing homes by 3.25%.
The Legislature in March is expected to pass legislation that would tighten the rules for people applying for caregiving jobs in the state.
Gov. Mark Parkinson (D) sliced $259 million more from the state budget in late November. Medicaid reimbursements were cut by 10%.
A new Medicaid bundling program is hurting some nursing homes.
The state is considering improving safeguards but also sweeping reforms to prevent dangerous mentally ill patients from harming fellow residents in nursing homes.
Nursing homes are expected to suffer a $23 million loss in Medicaid payments under a budget package approved in late July by the state's Board of Public Works.
Gov. Jodi Rell signed a bill prohibiting providers from requiring "donations" or gifts from Medicaid residents as a condition of admission, or lengthening a stay.
Nursing homes that identify and correct certain health and safety issues on their own will see fines eliminated under a newly enacted law.
A new two-year budget proposed by Gov. Ted Strickland (D) has alarmed advocates for skilled nursing facilities.
Residents and staff at 110-bed Pinelake Health and Rehab in Carthage, NC, have been struggling to recover after a gunman walked into the nursing home and killed seven residents and a certified nursing assistant on March 29.
Gov. Jon Corzine (D) was expected to sign legislation that would require nursing homes in the state to use pressure redistribution mattresses to reduce the incidence of bedsores.
A proposal that would require facilities through-out the state to prominently show their new federal star ratings has received pushback from nursing homes.
Nursing homes are concerned about a new federal waiver that allows the state to reform its long-term care program to emphasize home- and community-based care.
New York's attorney general is expanding the use of hidden camera technology to the Buffalo region.
Thousands of nursing home residents on Medicaid are suing the state for illegally forcing them into institutions.
Cue the music. Raise the flags. Beijing may have had its moment, but now it's Prague's turn for a spot in the Olympic sun. Next month, the Czech capital will host the Geri Olympics, and the United States will participate for the first time.
In response to increasing concerns about the effects of nursing home ownership on quality of care, Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) recently signed two groundbreaking bills.
Leaders from state emergency command centers and long-term care organizations in the Southeast convened last month to release criteria for nursing home evacuations.
Oregon Gov. Ted Kulongoski (D) issued a mandate last month to lower the ratio of nurses to residents in nursing homes.