News

BLS: Nursing home injury rate still high

By

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

By

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

By

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

A prior warning for Alzheimer's

By

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

By

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

By

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?

By

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

By

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

Pay equality endorsed again

By

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

By

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?

By

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

By

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

By

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

Providers beat goal for meds

By

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

By

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

By

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

By

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

By

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

By

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

By

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

By

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

By

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

By

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

By

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

By

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

By

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

Antipsychotics goal gets reset

Antipsychotics goal gets reset

By

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

By

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

By

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%

By

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

By

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

By

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

By

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

By

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

By

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

By

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

By

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

By

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

By

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

By

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

MRSA often lurks in groin

By

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

McKnight's adds 8 more awards

By

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

By

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

By

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

By

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

By

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

By

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

By

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

Most residents are incontinent

By

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.

Don't miss any McKnight's news