To Stay Ahead of Shifting Science and Regulations, Signature’s COVID-19 Testing Strategy Goes Digital

In the absence of a vaccine or proven treatment for COVID-19, testing will serve as the nursing home operator’s primary weapon against the spread of the virus for an indefinite period. Widespread baseline testing of nursing facilities was painfully slow to materialize, particularly during the early days of the crisis. But now that operators — […]

CMS Issues Updated Guidelines, Clarifications on Nursing Home Visitations as States Reopen

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) on Wednesday released an updated set of frequently asked questions designed to encourage safe visitation of residents in nursing homes. While the federal government has largely left the decision to reopen nursing facilities up to the states, CMS emphasized that it supports safe visitation efforts — while […]

Vowing to Cut Red Tape, CMS Forms Office of Burden Reduction and Health Informatics

Framing the move as an extension of existing efforts to remove regulatory burdens for health care operators under the current administration, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) on Tuesday unveiled a new office dedicated to eliminating rules it deems “duplicative, unnecessary, and excessively costly.” The Office of Burden Reduction and Health Informatics will […]

Spending $5 Million a Week on COVID-19, Signature HealthCARE Faces ‘Toughest Period in Our Company History’

Like many nursing home operators, Signature HealthCARE has seen its fair share of strain during the COVID-19 crisis, with skyrocketing costs prompting the provider to lay off 100 corporate employees earlier this month. But its CEO has indicated that the stress on the Louisville, Ky.-based company may just be starting. “We think we did it […]

As States Reopen, Nursing Home Operators Can’t Assume They’ll ‘Be in the Clear Forever’

As COVID-19 initially swept through nursing homes across the country in March and April, operators and staffers had a key advantage: Just about every state implemented stay-at-home orders that kept public spaces clear for the essential health care workers, reducing the risk of infection. But as spring turns to summer, states around the country have […]

Verma: Fee-for-Service Medicare ‘Insufficient’ to Cover Vulnerable Beneficiaries Post-COVID

Early research into the impact of COVID-19 on seniors — both among the general population, and in nursing homes — has revealed endemic connections among race, income, and the likelihood of infection and death. Those patterns, reinforced by a new set of data probing COVID-19’s impact on Medicare beneficiaries, should prompt a more rapid move […]

Researchers Find Link Between RN Staffing, Severity of COVID-19 Outbreaks in Nursing Homes

Nursing facilities with more registered nursing coverage had lower rates of COVID-19 deaths, a new study has found, while a better federal quality rating correlates with a smaller outbreak size. “Nursing homes with higher RN staffing and quality ratings have the potential to better control the spread of the novel coronavirus and reduce deaths,” a […]

CMS Orders Medicare Advantage Plans, MACs to Cover COVID-19 Tests Under New Nursing Home Guidance

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) on Friday instructed Medicare Advantage plans and Medicare Administrative Contractors (MACs) to begin covering all COVID-19 tests required for nursing home residents under new testing guidelines. The move came after the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) updated its guidance around nursing home testing strategies last […]

PruittHealth, CareRite, Signature Represented on Federal Nursing Home Commission

The 25 members of a federal commission tasked with analyzing nursing home safety in the wake of COVID-19 were announced Friday, with leaders from operators PruittHealth, Signature HealthCARE, and CareRite among the selected stakeholders. Initially announced by President Trump at the end of April, the Coronavirus Commission for Safety and Quality in Nursing Homes will […]

Federal Count of COVID-19 Nursing Home Deaths Drops After First Update

The federal government on Thursday made the first routine update to its official nursing home COVID-19 data, and while the number of confirmed and suspected cases increased as expected, the most recent figures show a drop in deaths of more than 2,000. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) reported that there were more […]

Greystone Closes $43.9M Portfolio Deal; Tryko Picks Up 200-Bed SNF from Receivership for $14.5M

Greystone this week announced the closure of $43.9 million in Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)-backed financing for three affiliated skilled nursing facilities operated by Centers for Care. The three properties in upstate New York — the Ontario Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation in Canandaigua, the Steuben Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation in Bath, […]

Drugmaker Romark Seeks Nursing Home Residents for COVID-19 Clinical Trial

A U.S. pharmaceutical company is attempting to build out a full clinical trial for a drug that could potentially prevent COVID-19 infections — among other viral ailments — in long-term care settings. The Tampa, Fla.-based Romark Laboratories has high hopes for its NT-300 drug, an existing oral medication that works by preventing a virus from […]

House Hammers Governors Over Nursing Home Admission Orders Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

As a leading House Democrat demands information about the response to COVID-19 in nursing homes from the federal government — and a quintet of top operators — his Republican counterparts have targeted governors whose states required facilities to take in patients with COVID-19. Rep. Steve Scalise, the Louisiana Republican who serves as the ranking member […]

Symphony COO: Stress on Nursing Homes ‘Not Getting Better Anytime Soon, But We’re Surely Not Getting Any Worse’

As the nursing home industry settles into the next uneasy phase of the COVID-19 crisis — an indefinite period in which the pandemic will dominate every decision until a vaccine becomes available — one leader emphasized the importance of finding the upside in stasis. “We’re not getting better anytime soon, but we’re surely not getting […]

House Launches Probe into CMS, Operator Response to COVID-19 in Nursing Homes

A House subcommittee on Tuesday launched an investigation into the ongoing COVID-19 crisis in nursing homes, demanding rafts of information from both the federal government and five prominent operators in the space. Rep. James Clyburn, the South Carolina Democrat who chairs the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis, announced the probe in a statement. “The […]

CDC: Nursing Homes Should Test Residents for Flu, Other Respiratory Illnesses in Addition to COVID-19

The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) updated its COVID-19 testing guidelines for nursing homes, advising operators to check for other respiratory aliments — including the more familiar flu — on top of the novel coronavirus. “Clinicians are encouraged to consider testing symptomatic residents for other causes of respiratory illness, for example influenza, in […]

NIC CEO Jurutka: COVID-19 Crisis ‘Burning Platform’ for Innovation in Skilled Nursing, Senior Living

Calls for systemic overhauls of long-term care and senior living are nothing new. From operators to government payers to resident advocates, a variety of voices has challenged the status quo with support for new reimbursement systems, creative partnerships, and the substantial redesign of care models over the last decade — with varying results. But with […]

OIG Expands Probes into Nursing Homes’ Response to COVID-19 Pandemic

The federal government’s top health care watchdog agency added a pair of new probes into the nation’s nursing homes to its already busy slate of long-term care investigations for the coming year. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of the Inspector General (OIG) last week rolled out two long-term care investigations — […]