News

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.

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.

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