To Fix Nursing Homes, Landlords and Payers Must Change Broken Incentives — for Both Owners and Operators

Among the many long-standing issues that COVID-19 exposed in long-term care, the design of the facilities themselves stands as one of the most obvious. With new development of long-term care facilities almost nonexistent, nursing homes frequently rank as the oldest health care properties in their given markets. “Semi-private” rooms with up to four beds remain […]

Lawsuits Rank Low on List of Nursing Home Provider Concerns for 2021 — As Occupancy, Staffing Loom Large

More than any other issue, liability shields for nursing home operators have consistently generated headlines and public outrage as lawmakers and regulators look to sort out the top areas of reform in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. States across the country have come under fire for including nursing homes in legislation that provides blanket […]

Nursing Home Visitation Will Rest on Case Count Declines, COVID Variants — Not Vaccination Rates

Though vaccinations are speeding up in skilled nursing facilities across the country, visitation policies still rely on state and county guidance that hinges on the number of COVID-19 cases both in surrounding communities and inside nursing homes. In turn, states and other local authorities will likely look toward Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) […]

New York AG: Nursing Home COVID Deaths Undercounted by 50%, ‘Low Staffing Model Simply Snapped’

The attorney general of New York State on Thursday released a blistering report suggesting that COVID-19 deaths in the state’s nursing homes may have been undercounted by as much as 50%, while also describing an already insufficient staffing model collapsing under the pressure of the pandemic. A sample of 62 Empire State facilities showed that […]

Amid Vaccine Push, Nursing Homes Can’t Overlook Testing as COVID Positivity Rates Stay High

While skilled nursing facilities and their pharmacy partners work to vaccinate staff and residents against COVID-19, they can’t lose track of the testing that is critical to revealing who might be infected — particularly as positivity rates across the U.S. remain high. According to county positivity data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services […]

CVS, Walgreens Claim Victory as First Nursing Home Vaccine Deadline Passes

The two retail pharmacy giants in charge of distributing COVID-19 vaccines to the vast majority of U.S. nursing homes asserted that the massive project remains on schedule as the first major deadline arrived on January 25, despite multiple reports of frustration in the sector. CVS Health (NYSE: CVS) on Monday announced the completion of the […]

SNN Poll: Nursing Home Providers Split on Post-Vaccine Visitation Plans

After the physical health and safety of residents and workers, the prospect of normal visitation looms as the top promise of a smooth rollout of COVID-19 vaccines to the nation’s nursing homes. But operators will likely not make any moves until they’re given the all-clear by state and federal regulators, with a significant percentage planning […]

Biden Pledges Financial, Workforce Support for Nursing Homes — Along with Stronger Infection Control Rules

On its second day in office, the Biden administration vowed to provide financial and logistical support to the nation’s embattled nursing homes as part of a larger COVID-19 game plan released Thursday, while also hinting at stronger rules and regulations around infection control. The 200-page “National Strategy for the COVID-19 Response and Pandemic Preparedness” lays […]

Richter to Lead CMS on Acting Basis Under New Biden Administration

The new Biden administration has tapped Liz Richter to lead the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) on an interim basis during the presidential transition. The agency’s website currently lists Richter, who has worked at CMS in various capacities since 1990, as acting administrator. She succeeds outgoing administrator Seema Verma, who on Wednesday resigned […]

Stiffer Fines, CARES Act Audits: What Nursing Homes Can Expect from the Biden Administration

Newly inaugurated President Joe Biden’s pick to lead the Department of Health and Human Services, Xavier Becerra, will likely bring an uptick in enforcement and an increased focus on compliance from the agency as political scrutiny turns to long-term care facilities, where an estimated 40% of COVID-19 deaths have so far occurred. Becerra, the current […]

AARP Sues CMS Over Reduced Fines for Nursing Homes, Claiming Move Put Seniors in Danger

The AARP Foundation and the law firm Constance Cannon filed a lawsuit against the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and outgoing Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) secretary Alex Azar, alleging that the federal government put nursing home residents’ lives in danger by weakening enforcement of monetary penalties for nursing homes. The […]

HHS Delays Provider Relief Fund Reporting Requirements

The federal government on Friday issued a formal delay of its reporting requirements for health care providers that received COVID-19 financial relief. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) had originally set January 15 as the opening date for its Provider Relief Fund reporting portal, with the first deadline set a month later on […]

Nursing Home Vaccine Stories: Shots Bring Hope of Normal Visits by Q2, But Health Officials Hold Final Say

Vaccinating the nation’s nursing home residents is taking longer than many have anticipated, and the family members of those in long-term care settings are certainly forgiven for being impatient: Locked away from their loved ones for months on end, residents and their families see a desperately needed light at the end of the tunnel as […]

Investing in Home-Based Senior Care Can’t Come at Expense of Nursing Facilities

The COVID-19 pandemic has rightfully prompted lawmakers at the state and federal level to reconsider the way government payers incentivize or discourage the use of nursing homes relative to other options, such as home- and community-based services (HCBS). But one prominent long-term care researcher this week warned against looking at the reform equation as a […]

CDC Adds to Research Suggesting Link Between Nursing Home Outbreaks, Community Rates of COVID

Multiple studies emerged over the course of 2020 suggesting correlations between the incidence of COVID-19 in a community and the rates of infection nursing homes within that community — and a new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) joins the list. The new Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) found that […]

Nursing Home Vaccine Stories: One CEO’s Personal Appeal to Reduce Hesitancy

Just as predicted before the rollout began, vaccine hesitancy among nursing home workers stands as a serious barrier to widespread acceptance in long-term care — and, in turn, fully fostering group immunity among the most vulnerable. Battered by COVID-19 and unwilling to trust the institutions that oversaw the deaths of their patients and colleagues, a […]

Home Health Giant Amedisys Launches Nursing Home Infusion Pilot, Sets Sights on COVID and Beyond

Home health and hospice heavyweight Amedisys Inc. (Nasdaq: AMED) sees opportunity in serving long-term care facilities during the COVID-19 crisis — and potentially well into a post-pandemic world. The Baton Rouge, La.-based home health, hospice, and personal care services provider this week announced a partnership with Option Care Health Inc. (Nasdaq: OPCH), the largest independent […]

Walgreens, CVS Pledge to Finish First Nursing Home Vaccinations by Jan. 25, AHCA ‘Not Aware’ of Major Delays

The two pharmacy giants in charge of the federal government’s COVID-19 vaccination program for long-term care facilities on Wednesday pushed back on reports that the rollout is proceeding slower than anticipated, while a top industry trade group reported only isolated problems thus far. Both Walgreens and CVS indicated that the push to provide the first […]