Government lawyers and opponents of Medicare's "observation stay loophole" recently squared off in federal court, when a judge convened the first hearing in the Bagnall vs. Sebelius case. Richard Bagnall and other seniors denied Medicare coverage for skilled nursing care brought the case in 2011.
Because Medicare's growth rate will not eclipse a certain threshold, the program will be spared from potential Medicare cuts called for in the healthcare reform law, a top government official said.
For the fourth straight year, McKnight's Long-Term Care News was named the Gold Award winner for Best News Coverage in the annual ASHPE Awards. McKnight's also earned Gold for its Daily Update e-newsletter.
Depressed or lonely people are at increased risk of Clostridium difficile infection, according to research in BMC Medicine.
Women over age 65 are being over-diagnosed with and over- treated for urinary tract infections, according to a new study. Rhode Island Hospital researchers examined medical records of women over 65 who were diagnosed with a UTI during an ER visit.
Skilled nursing providers fell short of reaching a 15% reduction in off-label antipsychotic use by the end of 2012, the American Health Care Association formally announced last month. However, AHCA did renew the goal for 2013, and members also performed better in the reductions than nursing providers overall.
Here's the good news for providers dealing with Recovery Audit Program contractors: The federal government will make fewer additional document requests, starting this month. Now the not-so-good news: The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services will not slow down other components of the auditing program.
By negotiating now, a nursing home can have a strong voice in an Accountable Care Organization. Otherwise, ACOs will come to nursing homes in two or three years with a "take it or leave it" proposition, according to John Durso, a partner at the law firm of Ungaretti & Harris LLP and a McKnight's Expert columnist.
The nation's skilled nursing facilities can expect an aggregate $500 million boost in Medicare payments next year — $320 million less than the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services proposed.
Applications are now being accepted for the second annual McKnight's Excellence in Technology Awards program.
Providers should be taking most of their dementia residents off antipsychotics — and can generally do so without fear of relapse to dementia-related behaviors — researchers say.
Elderly people with type 2 diabetes should not take aspirin to prevent cardiovascular disease, according to draft guidelines from the American Geriatrics Society. This reverses its previous recommendation.
Diabetics are at risk of developing dementia earlier and dying sooner, according to research in the American Journal of Epidemiology.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services will change some nursing home survey procedures in response to budget cuts from sequestration, according to memos released April 9. The CMS Survey & Certification budget has been reduced 5% from 2012, the agency announced.
The number of people dying in hospitals decreased 8% from 2000 to 2010 even as overall hospitalizations rose, suggesting nursing homes, hospices and home health providers are playing larger roles in end-of-life care. These numbers appeared in a recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report.
Long-term care providers have been able to sustain modest room-rate hikes, according to the 10th annual Cost of Care Survey from insurance company Genworth.
Skilled nursing facilities are expected to have missed their overall goal of reducing off-label use of antipsychotics by 15% for 2012, but they should continue to push for reductions, provider leaders said.
President Obama's proposed budget is dead in the water as long-term care providers see it. They stand to lose $81 billion over 10 years if the measure is approved.
Last month, the skilled sector figured out sequester cuts would cost providers more than $782 million in payments. Then Paul Ryan broke out the meat cleaver.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services will undertake targeted audits focused on upcoding in electronic health records, according to Acting CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner.
Saying the current permanent visa programs for immigrants are "insufficient and inadequate" to meet long-term care staffing needs, the American Health Care Association outlined in March a vision for immigration reform.
Increasing hospice enrollment would save the Medicare program millions of dollars annually, according to a new report.
Diabetes medications Januvia and Byetta significantly increase the risk of pancreatic inflammation, according to Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine researchers.
Memory training combined with a Montessori-based approach to daily living can improve nutrition and reduce depression among those with dementia, a study in the Journal of Advanced Nursing finds.
Providers must act to prevent the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria killing about half of all people who become infected, the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention said in March.
States can and should exercise "wide discretion" in setting Medicaid payment rates, the White House said in a court brief supporting reimbursement cuts in California.
The House Budget Committee approved the latest spending plan from Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) in March. The vote was 22 to 17 along party lines.
An advisory panel has recommended making it more difficult for long-term care residents and others to receive certain painkillers. Providers criticize the proposal, saying it could leave seniors suffering for long periods.
In a State of the Union address that largely touted objectives favored by Democrats, President Obama called on Republicans to be less partisan.
An immediate jeopardy citation can throw a long-term care facility into a crisis, but providers can use the government's guidelines as a quality assessment tool. That's the topic of one of the presentations at the seventh annual McKnight's Online Expo. Additional sessions will give an update on the Minimum Data Set, offer insight into relational agents in a healthcare setting, target wound care research and describe the current outlook for obtaining capital.
Long-term care facilities that are undergoing a major renovation or are in the process of building a new structure may be eligible for a sprinkler system extension.
The Food and Drug Administration issued guidance in February for clinical trials for early-stage Alzheimer's medications.
It's official: A federal judge approved a settlement agreement the last week of January that will allow Medicare patients to continue receiving therapy services even if they are not making measurable improvement.
Long-term care providers should treat residents holistically, rather than narrowing in on an illness, to reduce rehospitalization rates, researchers recommended recently.
President Obama touched on several issues that matter to long-term care operators during last month's State of the Union address. His most urgent message to lawmakers: Do not not allow sequestration cuts to kick in. Otherwise, providers will feel the pinch of an automatic 2% Medicare funding cut.
More than one-fifth of U.S. nursing home residents took an antipsychotic drug as of 2010, according to research recently published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. The drugs often were prescribed for off-label uses.
Long-term care facilities should prepare to pay more for food in 2013, with prices going up as much as 4%, according to a prominent industry voice.
The fiscal cliff avoidance deal seems to prove an adage about politics being the art of compromise. But as tradeoffs go, long-term care providers didn't fare too badly.
Nursing homes could be hurt if the federal government lowers the Medicaid provider tax safe harbor threshold to reduce the national deficit, according to a January report from the Congressional Research Service.
New strains of genetically engineered bacteria may improve the efficacy of vaccines for diseases that include the flu and pertussis, University of Texas at Austin researchers say.
The contentious issue of whether healthcare workers should be required to be vaccinated against the flu gained new ferocity in January. Deaths caused by influenza hit 7.3% the first week of the month, triggering an automatic "epidemic" designation from health officials.
Aggressive therapy can improve language function and general cognition for seniors who have had aphasia for years, according to a study recently published in Brain and Language.
An Oklahoma provider is appealing after it was slapped with Immediate Jeopardy citations and $168,000 in fines for housing inmates injured in a prison riot.
The role of avatars in senior care settings will be addressed during the 2013 McKnight's Online Expo technology session.
Providers generally lauded a deal that kept the nation from going over the so-called fiscal cliff in January. Spared were automatic Medicare cuts to physicians and facilities.
Q: What has this year's examination of state Medicaid rates shown?
Accountable care organizations are already beginning to change the landscape of American healthcare, veteran observers say.
As top Democrats and Republican attempted to deal with an impending fiscal cliff, they were given a strong rebuke by Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA): Don't ruin two critical safety net programs that seniors depend on.
Rep. Edward J. Markey (D-MA) called on federal regulators to step up oversight of bed rail regulations. The congressman spoke out in the aftermath of a tough investigation into bed rail entrapment.
The seventh annual McKnight's Online Expo will be held March 20-21. This online trade show has established itself as the field's premier digital event. One key reason: Participants can earn up to five hours of continuing education credit simply by attending free one-hour webinars.