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McKnight's panel: A brighter future for SNFs

McKnight's panel: A brighter future for SNFs

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Long-term care providers can harness healthcare reform to become more profitable and competitive than ever, but success is not guaranteed. Proactive organizations with advanced technology tools already are separating themselves from those without them, some of the sector's most esteemed leaders asserted at a recent McKnight's panel discussion in Dallas.

MedPAC for equal post-acute payments?

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The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission has drawn closer to formally recommending that skilled nursing facilities and inpatient rehabilitation facilities receive equal reimbursement for more than a dozen conditions.

Workers want better support after mistakes, survey finds

Workers want better support after mistakes, survey finds

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Mistakes at nursing homes are more likely to trigger blame than a corrective response, many frontline workers asserted in a comprehensive survey.

Shifts linked to memory loss

Shifts linked to memory loss

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Staff on shift schedules might experience diminished memory and thinking skills, according to a new study.

Providers beat goal for meds

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Nursing home operators not only beat their goal of 15% reduction of long-stay residents receiving antipsychotic medications, they soared to an 18.8% cutback, according to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

OIG identifies areas of scrutiny

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Government investigators plan to release five reports on nursing home practices in 2015, according to the latest annual work plan from the Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General.

GOP leaders promise bills will be approved

GOP leaders promise bills will be approved

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Republicans were able to retake control of the Senate, while adding to their margin in the U.S. House. Now comes the hard part: actually governing.

Coding surveys to expand soon

Coding surveys to expand soon

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Additional surveys to determine Minimum Data Set coding accuracy and nursing home staffing levels will occur in 2015 and should fix common problems, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced in late October.

SNF bed prices are still soaring

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Big-dollar deals in the seniors housing sector continue to drive up per-bed prices, according to the latest figures from Irving Levin Associates Inc.

MedPAC debates end of observation stays

MedPAC debates end of observation stays

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Observation status should be eliminated as a way of categorizing hospital patients, members of the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission proposed at a Nov. 6 meeting.

Technology award winners raise bar for third annual McKnight's Tech Awards

Technology award winners raise bar for third annual McKnight's Tech Awards

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Compelling stories of improved resident engagement is how some winners of the third annual McKnight's Excellence in Technology Awards caught the eyes of our independent panel of judges.

AHCA goes on offense, backs 5 Star audits

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Following victories such as the newly signed IMPACT Act, provider advocates now will be more aggressive on Capitol Hill, leaders of the American Health Care Association and the National Center for Assisted Living said at their annual convention last month in Washington, D.C.

New goals for antipsychotics not unreasonable, leaders say

New goals for antipsychotics not unreasonable, leaders say

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Providers may grumble about renewed pressure to lower the use of antipsychotics among long-term care residents with dementia, but the industry has an opportunity to be a leader, said LeadingAge President and CEO Larry Minnix.

New strategy for antibiotics

New strategy for antibiotics

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The White House unveiled a national plan in September to combat antibiotic-resistant bacteria. It includes an executive order to "reduce the emergence and spread" of these bacteria and ensure availability of treatments.

Fatal reactions raise concerns

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Reactions to medication was the leading cause of allergy-related sudden deaths in the past decade, according to a new analysis.

Hackbarth rips 3-day stay rule

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If outgoing MedPAC Chairman Glenn Hackbarth had his way, Medicare would pay for skilled nursing services without requiring a three-day hospital stay first.

CDC renews call for pneumococcal shots

CDC renews call for pneumococcal shots

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Seniors should receive the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended.

Antipsychotics goal gets reset

Antipsychotics goal gets reset

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Long-term care providers are being asked to reduce the use of antipsychotic medications among residents by 25% by the end of 2015, and 30% by the end of 2016.

Sampling can convict: judge

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In an unprecedented ruling, a federal judge has declared that officials may use just a statistical sampling of Medicare claims to help prove nursing home company overbilling charges.

Obama pen ushers in post-acute changes

Obama pen ushers in post-acute changes

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Long-term care leaders were on hand as President Barack Obama signed the IMPACT Act into law on Oct. 6.

SNF, CCRC spending expected to rise 69%

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Spending on nursing homes and continuing care retirement communities is expected to roughly keep pace with total U.S. healthcare spending during the next decade, according to the annual "National Health Expenditures Projections" report released last month.

Lawmakers demand answers about rating system quirks

Lawmakers demand answers about rating system quirks

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After The New York Times noted that providers are apparently gaming the Five Star rating system by enhancing staffing and quality data, federal lawmakers quickly put an indignant pen to paper.

Flu-dose ally: higher antigen

Flu-dose ally: higher antigen

A high-dose flu vaccine with four times the amount of antigen in a standard vaccine was 24% more effective in protecting study subjects 65 and older against influenza complications.

Calming meds fuel dementia

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Long-term use of drugs commonly used to treat anxiety and insomnia increased the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease by as much as 51%.

Reporting neglected, OIG says

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Slightly more than half of the nation's nursing facilities reported abuse or neglect allegations as required in 2012, a new report from the Office of Inspector General alleges. Such relatively low compliance indicates that more guidance and oversight is warranted, the report concludes.

AHCA: Managed care transparency needed

AHCA: Managed care transparency needed

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The government should collect and release more claims information from managed care plans, the nation's largest long-term care provider association stated in a recent letter to Senate leaders.

Regular chats avoid lawsuits

Regular chats avoid lawsuits

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To prevent lawsuits, long-term care leaders need to routinely communicate with difficult family members, a defense attorney told a McKnight's Fall Online Expo webcast audience last month.

Therapy buck stops at SNF

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A legal settlement involving two long-term care companies accused of not sufficiently controlling their contracted therapy provider's billing practices has created anxieties among skilled nursing operators.

Verify payroll totals for rankings: letter

Verify payroll totals for rankings: letter

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Federal regulators need to collect nursing home staffing data directly from payroll systems rather than from providers themselves, members of the Congressional Seniors Task Force said in a recent letter to a top healthcare official.

DOJ forces observation stay showdown

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Hospitals have been cast in a harsh light by long-term care advocates recently for allegedly over-using "observation stay" status. The practice can ultimately deny some patients subsequent Medicare coverage for nursing home admission.

Rate hike will be only a part of the new Medicare reality

Rate hike will be only a part of the new Medicare reality

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Many providers are relieved that Medicare rates are slated to go up by 2% in the next fiscal year. After all, who wants to turn down $750 million, especially in a rate-cutting climate?

Common soap may be culprit

Common soap may be culprit

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Healthcare facilities should avoid "heavily marketed" triclosan soaps, experts advise in updated hand hygiene guidelines.

MRSA often lurks in groin

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Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus colonization is common in groin and rectal areas, especially in men, new research shows.

McKnight's adds 8 more awards

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McKnight's added three national awards to its trophy case last month following the American Society of Business Publication Editors ceremony in Chicago.

Study: To boost care, empower nurse aides

Study: To boost care, empower nurse aides

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Long-term care managers would be wise to allow nursing assistants — and residents' family members — a greater say in managerial-type decision-making, authors of a new study assert.

Scrap hospital rule: experts

Scrap hospital rule: experts

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Medicare should cover people who go to a skilled nursing facility without a preceding hospital stay, experts recently told the Senate Special Committee on Aging.

Surveyor 'help' leads to chaos

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An Ohio nursing home says residents became defiant after speaking with a state inspector, leading the provider to file a lawsuit.

Medicare rates will increase 2% in 2015

Medicare rates will increase 2% in 2015

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When is a meager pay hike viewed as welcome news? When the source of that increase — namely, the federal government — seems intent on making cuts almost everywhere else.

Harkin: Divert funds from SNF settings

Harkin: Divert funds from SNF settings

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Medicaid funds would more easily flow toward people wanting home- and community-based services — and away from nursing homes — under a new bill unveiled by Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA).

Gardens can ease dementia

Gardens can ease dementia

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Gardens in nursing homes can help patients with dementia, new research indicates.

Most residents are incontinent

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More than 75% of long-term residents are incontinent, as well as nearly half (46%) of short-term residents, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported.

Feds: Tie ACO ratings to SNFs

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Accountable care organizations should be assessed on which patients bounce back to a member hospital within 30 days of being discharged to a skilled nursing facility, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services asserts in a proposed rule.

Congress grills top judge on appeals jam backlog

Congress grills top judge on appeals jam backlog

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There is no easy fix to the staggering backlog of Medicare appeals, a government official said during a July 10 Congressional hearing.

Heading toward a single payer?

Heading toward a single payer?

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Providers should expect to be paid exclusively through managed care systems by 2025, a former White House adviser said in July.

AL supply up, SNFs in decline

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Nursing home inventory is continuing its slow but steady downward trajectory, according to quarterly data released in July by the National Investment Center for the Seniors Housing & Care Industry.

Nursing home population tumbles 20%

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The number of Americans 65 or older residing in a nursing home fell from 1.6 million to 1.3 million during the decade ending in 2010, according to a new federal report.

Nursing home refused to let worker wear hijab, EEOC says

Nursing home refused to let worker wear hijab, EEOC says

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An Alabama nursing home faces a lawsuit for allegedly refusing to allow a Muslim employee to wear a hijab.

$11.6M to nurse paralyzed by flu vaccine

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A former nurse has received an $11.6 million government settlement to pay for future care after a flu vaccine paralyzed her.

Facility fined $16,000 after reviving resident with DNR

Facility fined $16,000 after reviving resident with DNR

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Authorities have fined a Florida nursing home $16,000 for reviving a resident who had a do-not-resuscitate order.

Special juice reduces UTIs

Special juice reduces UTIs

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Drinking black chokeberry juice may reduce the rate of urinary tract infections among nursing home residents, according to findings published in Nutrition Research in June.

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