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'Doc fix' legislation facing fewer hurdles

'Doc fix' legislation facing fewer hurdles

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Providers found themselves holding their breath again at press time over a potential "fix" to a Medicare doctor payment formula that officially triggered a 21% pay cut April 1.

'Cost of care' put at $91,250

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Providers may be under increased reimbursement restraints, but consumers might have a hard time believing it. The median charge for a private room in a skilled care facility exceeds $90,000 a year, a new survey finds.

Feds to target value, outlays

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Providers can kiss fee-for-service payments goodbye, says Kathleen Sebelius.

PAD treatment is 'palliative'

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Most nursing home residents with peripheral arterial disease (PAD) were not more mobile after lower extremity revascularization, according to a new analysis.

Education for opioids needed

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Patients need more information about pain control and opioid misuse, according to researchers at the University of Pennsylvania.

Ventas SNF spin-off could be a template for other REITs

Ventas SNF spin-off could be a template for other REITs

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Ventas, the massive healthcare real estate investment trust may be on the path to becoming a long-term care trendsetter once again.

Final bill for rehab dispute: $1.2 million

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A Maine skilled nursing facility has agreed to pay $1.2 million to the federal government to settle allegations it did not prevent RehabCare Group East Inc. from providing unnecessary therapy.

Suit: SNF liable for overdose

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A nursing home owner whose former employee died of an overdose is being sued in San Luis Obispo (CA) Superior Court.

Medicare payment group changes name

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A Medicare payment watchdog group saddled with huge case backlogs and heavily criticized for causing delays in resolving reimbursement issues has changed its name and location on the web.

More changes ahead for the current ratings system: feds

More changes ahead for the current ratings system: feds

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Staffing and retention rates are expected to be added to the Nursing Home Compare website in 2016.

Feds praise newest ACO model

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Federal regulators recently unveiled a new accountable care organization model they feel will appeal to long-term care operators.

Providers pushing for death of therapy caps

Providers are seeking legislation to end old therapy cap rates and to see changes in manual medical review process for therapy claims.

Dehydration is hard to change

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A systematic review of 23 published research studies on the risk of dehydration in people 65 and older left researchers with little conclusive evidence about causes or a solution, investigators reported in the Annals of Long-Term Care.

CMS: Quality is improving

CMS: Quality is improving

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A comprehensive review of Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' quality measurement efforts since 2006 paints a mostly positive picture of quality measurements in nursing homes.

Records reveal seller's market

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Operators selling properties saw their best year ever in 2014 — and 2015 could be even better.

5 Star is expanding as tweaks continue

5 Star is expanding as tweaks continue

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Nursing homes entered a new era of tougher government scrutiny on Feb. 23, when officials released rebased Five Star ratings.

Departing workers are outpacing arrivals

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Workers are continuing to leave the field faster than they arrive, a new study finds.

New rankings might wrongly show downturn, leaders fear

New rankings might wrongly show downturn, leaders fear

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Despite progress reducing off-label use of antipsychotics among nursing home residents, providers remained worried about a rebasing of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services system to rank nursing homes.

Drug combo can be deadly

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Spironolactone, a diuretic used to treat heart failure, can cause a risk of sudden death in seniors when given with the antibiotic trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole, Toronto researchers have found.

Meds linked to dementia risk

Meds linked to dementia risk

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A high use of anticholinergic medications has been linked to an increased risk of developing dementia, according to a new study.

McKnight's Online Expo to tackle pressing issues

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Certain issues tend to weigh heavily on the minds of operators. Chief among them: reducing hospital readmissions, complying with ever-changing Medicare rules, finding needed capital, delivering optimal wound care and harnessing technology to improve resident outcomes.

Industry warily eyes funding adjustments

Industry warily eyes funding adjustments

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Long-term care leaders have mixed feelings about a first-ever federal timeline for more bundled and other alternative payments, calling it "a good thing" but also "aggressive."

Rate drops for antipsychotics

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Industry leaders were pleasantly surprised to learn that nursing home operators had exceeded goals for lowering unnecessary antipsychotics use. The level dropped by nearly 20% over a three-year span.

SNF pay has gotten worse, MedPAC says

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Efforts to reform Medicare have actually damaged the way nursing home operators are being reimbursed, according to a new report from the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission and the Urban Institute. Report authors call for prompt, drastic changes.

Several rehab organizations blast site-neutral approach

Several rehab organizations blast site-neutral approach

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While skilled care organizations are welcoming the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission's vote for limited site-neutral payments, rehab providers remain strongly opposed.

Poor reporting of sex abuse

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Nursing homes often inadequately handle instances of resident sexual abuse, according to a literature review.

Antibiotic could be MRSA killer

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A newly discovered type of antibiotic could be an antidote for fatal infections that plague long-term care facilities, according to findings in Nature.

Death notifications irk CNAs

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Many certified nursing assistants report they learn about residents' deaths in negative ways, a new U.S.-German investigation has found.

Expo preview: pain and gains

Expo preview: pain and gains

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Pressure ulcer prevention practices are evolving, but providers aren't always keeping up, according to Janice Beitz, Ph.D., a Rutgers University nursing professor and renowned wound-care expert.

Skilled sector fears massive doctor bill

Skilled sector fears massive doctor bill

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Long-term care provider advocates kicked off a comprehensive lobbying campaign in January to encourage favorable reform to Medicare's Sustainable Growth Rate formula for physicians.

Housing rates holding steady

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The occupancy rate for nursing facilities and assisted living facilities remained solid in the fourth quarter of 2014, according to data released in January by the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care.

MedPAC will support site-neutral payment

MedPAC will support site-neutral payment

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The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission voted to recommend "site-neutral" reimbursement for selected Medicare services at press time. If approved by Congress, the reimbursement shift could mean a financial windfall for many skilled nursing facilities.

BLS: Nursing home injury rate still high

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Nursing homes still are among the most dangerous U.S. workplaces, and there was little improvement in safety from 2012 to 2013, according to the latest annual data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

With budget out of the way, Congress eyes Medicare fix

With budget out of the way, Congress eyes Medicare fix

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Now that President Obama has put his signature on a $1.1 trillion spending package, long-term care providers can focus on another looming spending challenge: the so-called "doc fix."

New approach to regain sight

New approach to regain sight

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A new type of "prosthetic retina" could restore vision to seniors with macular degeneration, researchers announced last month.

A prior warning for Alzheimer's

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The latest Alzheimer's blood test appears to predict the disease 10 years before a clinical diagnosis could be made, researchers announced in November.

CDC expecting bad flu season

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that this year's flu vaccine might not provide robust protection against H3N2, the dominant strain circulating as of mid-December.

Bill would speed up post-acute coverage

Bill would speed up post-acute coverage

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Observation stays would count toward establishing Medicare eligibility under reforms in a recent draft bill from the House Committee on Ways and Means.

Payback time for auditors?

Payback time for auditors?

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Recovery Audit Contractors that make incorrect accusations should be penalized, an influential physicians group is urging.

Signed budget fuels agencies and ACA

Signed budget fuels agencies and ACA

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President Obama has signed a $1.1 trillion spending package that funds most federal agencies through September.

Pay equality endorsed again

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Congress should consider site-neutral payments for post-acute providers as a way to cut federal healthcare spending, a Medicare Payment Advisory Commission official told a House panel in December.

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.

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