Also in the News for Monday, July 16

SNF occupancy dips in 2Q, private rent growth slows, NIC says ... Regulatory review next after Good Samaritan membership approves Sanford merger ... Quality Care Properties resolves shareholder lawsuits ahead of merger vote

Managed care organizations need to increase their fraud prevention efforts, OIG says

Managed care organizations need to increase their fraud prevention efforts, OIG says

Managed care organizations, which oversee 80% of all Medicaid enrollees, are weak in fighting fraud and abuse, the Health and Human Services Inspector General said Wednesday.

Skilled nursing lags senior care in employee engagement, Fortune magazine research finds

Employees in senior care facilities are more engaged than their skilled nursing counterparts, an indicator of potential future success, according to initial research into Great Place to Work applicants.

Prosecutors request judge drop 'nanny cam' criminal charges against nurses

Prosecutors have asked for the dismissal a case against a pair of Iowa nurses criminally charged with wanton neglect, dependent adult abuse and tampering with medical records after they were allegedly caught on video neglecting an elderly nursing home resident.

Also in the News for Friday, July 13

Nursing home that accidentally locked out resident at night reaches $24,000 settlement ... FL ambulance provider to pay $1.2 million over upcoding claims ... High blood pressure in later life may damage brain

'Wake-up call': MA beneficiaries with certain conditions less likely to visit emergency room, report finds

'Wake-up call': MA beneficiaries with certain conditions less likely to visit emergency room, report finds

Medicare Advantage beneficiaries with hypertension, hyperlipidemia and diabetes are less likely to become hospital inpatients or visit the emergency room compared to traditional fee-for-service Medicare patients, a new analysis finds.

SCAN launches millennial-focused caregiver campaign

A new SCAN Foundation campaign aims to provide support and provoke discussion or the 10 million millennials who currently act as family caregivers, group executives said.

Mediterranean diet shows promise in reducing bone loss

Sticking to a Mediterranean-type diet could reduce bone loss in people with osteoporosis, according to new research from the University of East Anglia.

Also in the News for Thursday, July 12

Last ASC exec receives probation ... VA Secretary nominee clears hurdle on way to confirmation ... Nursing home fined after short-staffing leads to hungry residents ... State lawmakers sue to keep Medicaid expansion off ballot in November

OIG: Stop allowing chiropractors to order any services

There is no need to set a policy to deny all claims for items and services from chiropractors since the bulk of incorrect payments are already blocked, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services said this week, bucking a recommendation from a government watchdog agency.

Maine goes back to drawing board on Medicaid expansion

Despite Maine residents voting to expand Medicaid expansion, they'll have to wait longer after the state House failed to override the governor's veto.

McKnight's earns national APEX awards

McKnight's Long-Term Care News has once again earned national honors in the 30th annual APEX Awards for Publication Excellence competition.

Also in the News for Wednesday, July 11

LPN held for trial in McMaster nursing home death ... Pennsylvania Supreme Court will consider whether thousands of Risperdal cases should be barred due to statute of limitations ... CMS seeks to eliminate state's ability to divert Medicaid payments away from providers ... State appeals court halts release of Irma-related death records

Advocacy group calls for 'immediate' Congressional hearings into nursing home staffing

Advocacy group calls for 'immediate' Congressional hearings into nursing home staffing

The bipartisan group issued a statement calling "for immediate Congressional hearings into a disturbing report issued this weekend pointing to chronic staff shortages in nursing homes."

Beneficiaries again challenge slow Medicaid application process

Connecticut has failed to process Medicaid applications in an agreed-upon time frame, including for long-term care beneficiaries, and a court should hold it in contempt, a new filing alleges. But the state disagrees, and refers to its continuing efforts to meet court-ordered benchmarks.

Senior living executives sentenced

The former chief operating officer of American Senior Communities was sentenced to 4½ years in prison last week as part of a fraud scheme that also took down the company's CEO.

Also in the News for Tuesday, July 10

Exhausted shift workers may have higher Alzheimer's risk ... CMS to halt collecting and paying money under the ACA's "risk adjustment" program ... Successful Alzheimer's drug trial boosts Biogen stock

Avoiding injuries

Avoiding injuries

Operators are using new techniques and tools to preserve skin integrity, but there's still no substitute for training, assessments and dedicated staff

Is it ever too homey?

Is it ever too homey?

Stakeholders observe necessities, limits of 'home-like' design movement

Building for the future

Building for the future

Sentara Rehabilitation & Care makeover replaces outdated, 46-year-old facility with clusters of new neighborhoods

How to do it ... Mitigating worker injuries

Few things can cause a bigger setback in any long-term care facility than a workplace injury. Imbuing a safety mindset with each employee and constantly reinforcing safe practices can go far toward preventing them. Experts weigh in here with best practices and tips.

CMS gives more time to return bundled payment documents

Providers working on the Bundled Payments for Care Improvement Advanced model have additional time to return signed participation agreements and return deliverables to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

Nursing homes exhale as staffing bill tabled until fall

A New Jersey bill that would have established a certified nursing assistant-to-resident ratio at nursing homes has been pushed to the fall for further debate. But operators in the state and beyond remain concerned about the precedent.

Caffeine tied to better cognitive function in elderly diabetes patients

Higher caffeine intake was associated with better function in overall cognition, working memory, executive functioning and categorization in a study of elderly patients with diabetes.

Also in the News for Monday, July 9

Nursing home employee interrupts scissors-to-throat threat of resident ... Senate approves law to require publishing of VA quality ratings ... Sanford Health mulls move into Chicago market following Good Samaritan merger

Preferred Care settles for $540,000 in whistleblower upcoding case

Nursing home chain Preferred Care agreed to settle False Claims Act charges for $540,000, the Department of Justice has announced.

Nursing home disputes state's claims that administrator, DON threatened staff in attempt to cover up sexual assault investigation

An administrator and director of nursing at a Wisconsin nursing home are in hot water for trying to stymie a sexual assault investigation involving residents.

Culture change at nursing homes slows decline for those in the early stages of cognitive impairment: study

Culture change has been shown to improve nursing home residents' depressive symptoms and dining experience, according to a recently released study by the LeadingAge LTSS Center @UMASS Boston.

Also in the News for Friday, July 6

Brookdale asks court to reconsider False Claims Act ruling in physician documentation case ... Bomb threat at nursing home closes local roads, but no evacuations ... Diabetes, cardiovascular drugs ranked second and third of top five costly Medicare Part D medications

Despite 12 deaths, nursing facilities denied request to be on utilities' priority list

A year after Hurricane Irma killed 12 nursing home residents, senior living facilities have been under pressure to have better emergency preparedness plans during the 2018 hurricane season.

Facility failed to take CNA's claims of assault by dementia resident seriously, judge writes

A certified nursing assistant who was allegedly repeatedly assaulted by a resident with dementia can sue her former employer over an allegedly hostile work environment, a court of appeals ruled last week.

Congressman condemns 'national disgrace' depicted in VA nursing home report, calls for investigation

Florida Congressman Vern Buchanan (R) has called for a national investigation into allegations of neglect and misconduct at Department of Veterans Affairs nursing homes.

Also in the News for Thursday, July 5

PACE pushes agency to approve regulations, applauds lawmakers ... Justice Department investigation ironically may have decreased ICD use in Medicare patients ... Home health to receive 2% pay boost

An aspirin a day may keep dementia away, study finds

Low-dose aspirin may reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease, according to new research.

Dental, vision for thousands on KY Medicaid canceled after ruling

Dental, vision for thousands on KY Medicaid canceled after ruling

Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin (R) announced he will cancel dental and vision coverage for close to 500,000 enrollees in the wake of a judge blocking Kentucky's Medicaid work requirements.

Montana resident caught fire from cigarette and oxygen tank, CMS asserts

A temporarily unsupervised Montana nursing home resident burned for an estimated 10 minutes after her cigarette ignited with her oxygen tank, causing second-degree burns and the resident's eventual death, state and federal officials say.

Also in the News for Tuesday, July 3

Quality Care Properties reveals two merger-related lawsuits as potential suitor to unseat ProMedica/Welltower withdraws ... Corporation selected to help manage Iowa's privatized Medicaid system has paid $23.6 million in penalties in more than a dozen states, a Des Moines Register investigation shows ... CVS to pay $1.5 million civil fine related to hydrocodone theft

Overflow crowd sees former American Senior Communities CEO get 9½ years for $19 million fraud, kickback schemes

Overflow crowd sees former American Senior Communities CEO get 9½ years for $19 million fraud, kickback schemes

A U.S. District Court judge leaned closer to prosecuting attorneys' recommendations than defense attorneys' on Friday and sentenced former nursing home executive James Burkhart to 9½-years in prison before an overflow crowd in Indianapolis.

CMS wrongly allowed nursing homes $18 million in medical equipment, investigators say

CMS wrongly allowed nursing homes $18 million in medical equipment, investigators say

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services did not detect $18.4 million in inappropriate claims for durable medical equipment in skilled nursing facilities, despite having systems intended to catch bad claims, a government watchdog agency said last week.

Study rebuts idea that Medicare is wasted on the dying

New findings from a team of academic researchers firmly contradict a widely held theory that Medicare futilely spends too much on seniors in their final year of life.

Also in the News for Monday, July 2

More than 600 charged in largest-ever healthcare fraud crackdown ... Staff protest after resident death during elopement attempt ... LA nursing home to pay $450K to settle 'dumping' allegations

'We have to do better' on infection prevention, CMS official tells LTC nurse managers during new survey update

'We have to do better' on infection prevention, CMS official tells LTC nurse managers during new survey update

Nursing homes's new survey routine seems to be going smoothly, about half a year in, but infection prevention problems continue to plague the field.

Vetoed proposal to limit Medicaid drugs a win for manufacturers, patients

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has rejected a state proposal to limit Medicaid drugs for beneficiaries in an effort to lower costs.

Also in the News for Friday, June 29

Price transparency, consolidation among providers dominate Medicare Senate hearing ... CMS policy on healthcare-acquired infections resulted in different billing, not better health, study finds ... AHCA/NCAL announces Silver Quality winners

CMS should intensify Medicaid eligibility checks at certain facilities, government asserts

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services should prioritize fingerprint-based criminal background checks and conduct site visits to high-risk providers to mitigate Medicaid fraud, a government watchdog official said Wednesday.

Good Sam looks forward with healthcare merger plans

The Evangelical Lutheran Good Samaritan Society and Sanford, a healthcare system with 44 hospitals and nearly 300 clinics, are moving forward with plans to merge the organizations by Jan. 1, executives have announced.

Studies reveal significantly higher need for infection preventionists in care settings

Outdated coverage benchmarks are leading to severe gaps in infection preventionist staffing, according to results of a pair of studies recently in the American Journal of Infection Control.

Also in the News for Thursday, June 28

Supreme Court rules against unions ... New subcommittee would oversee $15.8 billion in VA upgrades to electronic health records ...Senate bill would add $2B for NIH and Alzheimer's funding

CMS promotes anti-fraud efforts as a way to rein in Medicaid outlays

Skilled care operators receive more money from Medicaid than any other public or private funding source. Federal officials Tuesday announced plans to rein in program spending via stepped up anti-fraud efforts.

Court refuses to throw out suit against Humana tied to Medicare Advantage

A California judge has refused to throw out a lawsuit against Humana, tied to Medicare Advantage, which legal experts say could help to inform future such litigation.

Also in the news for Wednesday, June 27

ProMedica CFO defends ManoreCare's performance ... Senate passes legislation to improve VA nursing home care ... Move by Florida healthcare regulators to avoid Medicare litigation, instead, creates more ... Indiana Supreme Court won't hear appeal on nursing home construction moratorium

Congress, Trump revamp Medicare Advantage to allow for enhanced benefits to chronically ill

Congress, Trump revamp Medicare Advantage to allow for enhanced benefits to chronically ill

A new law championed by Congress and the Trump Administration aims to provide better care for the chronically ill, the New York Times reported Sunday.

Home-based acute care pilot drops transfers to skilled nursing facilities

A "hospital at home" pilot program, tested by one New York healthcare system, reduced transfers to skilled nursing facilities, a new study finds.

Hospice company to pay $8.5M to settle False Claims allegations

A hospice provider will pay $8.5 million to settle allegations with the government that it provided services to the non-terminally ill in homes and skilled nursing facilities.

Also in the News for Tuesday, June 26

Former American Senior Communities CEO should get 12 years in prison for $19.4M fraud scheme, prosecutors say ... Pennsylvania paying $475K for temp nursing home manager at Skyline facilities ... California assisted death rate almost doubled in 2017

Despite slower Medicare growth, higher taxes may be needed to cover aging population, researchers say

The annual growth rate in per-capita Medicare spending has grinded to a halt in recent years, but taxes may still need to be raised to take care of the growing, aging population.

CMS announcement reminds changes are near regarding Nursing Home Compare, staffing levels

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is reminding skilled nursing providers that they have until Sunday (July 1) to review their performance data before it will be displayed publicly on the Nursing Home Compare website.

Former nursing home staffer charged with manslaughter after ignoring facility's lift protocols

A former aide at one Minnesota nursing home has been charged with manslaughter, after shirking the facility's lift procedures.

Also in the News for Monday, June 25

Judge greenlights HCR ManorCare's bankruptcy plan ... Researchers turn to robots to fill care gaps for aging boomers ... New owners at former Genesis facilities impose steep pay cuts ... Senior Care Pharmacy Coalition says CVS-Aetna merger will harm long-term care

CMS launches tool to help skilled nursing providers achieve interoperability

CMS launches tool to help skilled nursing providers achieve interoperability

The federal government launched a new tool on Thursday as part of an effort to give skilled nursing a better vehicle to exchange records with other healthcare stakeholders.

A tale of 2 vaccines: Shingles hot and hard to find; new flu shot languished, the CDC reports

A new vaccine has demonstrated success at treating shingles in the senior population, but actually finding the drug is proving difficult.