Lawmakers Call on OIG to Investigate State Orders on Nursing Home Admissions of COVID-19 Patients

A pair of Republican lawmakers called on the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Office of the Inspector General (OIG) to investigate five states that ordered nursing homes to take in COVID-19 patients from the hospital. A pair of Republican lawmakers called on the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Office of Inspector […]

CMS Warns Operators: Days Billed Under Benefit Period Waivers Must Have Direct COVID Connection

The federal government on Friday issued an explanatory update to the temporary suspension of rules around Medicare beneficiaries’ skilled nursing benefit periods, warning that the waiver only applies in situations with a direct connection to the COVID-19 health emergency. Early in the coronavirus pandemic, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) waived the mandatory […]

NIC Releases Point-in-Time Nursing Home COVID Data: ‘A More Relevant Metric’ Than Cumulative Stats

Arguing that one-time snapshots may shed more light on the status of efforts to curb COVID-19, the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care (NIC) on Friday released the first in a planned series of point-in-time data on cases across multiple settings. Based on a limited sample of facilities, nursing care sites on average […]

CMS Orders Nursing Homes to Resume Reporting Staffing Data as COVID-19 Waiver Expires

Nursing homes must resume the submission of staffing data to the federal government later this summer after the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) allowed an emergency COVID-19 waiver to expire. CMS on Thursday announced that facilities must report their payroll-based journal (PBJ) staffing data for the second quarter of 2020 by August 14, […]

Omnicare Backs 50K COVID-19 Tests for Nursing Home Residents, Staff in Pennsylvania

Long-term care pharmacy giant Omnicare entered into a partnership with the state of Pennsylvania to provide 50,000 COVID-19 tests for employees and workers in nursing homes, Keystone State health officials announced this week. Omnicare, a subsidiary of retail pharmacy and health insurance giant CVS Health (NYSE: CVS), will start performing the tests free of charge […]

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 […]

Lessons from Nursing Homes in COVID Hotspots: Secure a Lab Now — and Proceed Carefully on Visitation

With the U.S. taking steps toward reopening — at varying paces in varying states –— skilled nursing leaders from the East Coast COVID-19 hotspots of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut had several pieces of advice for their counterparts elsewhere, which all ultimately boiled down to one warning. Be prepared. That includes taking steps to […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]