HHS Releases $4.9B in COVID-19 Relief for Skilled Nursing Facilities

The federal government on Friday announced the distribution of almost $4.9 billion in COVID-19 relief funds directly to skilled nursing facilities, the first specific tranche of stimulus money for the industry released since the start of the pandemic. Each skilled nursing facility in the country will receive a baseline paymentof $50,000, plus an additional $2,500 […]

Without Funding and Resources, CMS’s New Nursing Home Testing Guidance ‘Hollow’

Without the funds and the resources needed to meet COVID-19 testing recommendations, the federal government’s guidance on reopening nursing homes could create more confusion for skilled nursing facilities — and more challenges on top of the considerable strain they already face in combating the spread of the illness. “At a high level, I really think […]

As CMS Relaxes Telehealth Rules, Skilled Nursing Startup Call9 Sees Second Chance at Success as Curve

Skilled nursing telehealth provider Call9 last year became another casualty of a central tension between innovation and reality: The law often takes years to catch up to new technology. But a crisis can accelerate the glacial rule-making process, and amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the federal government erased decades of telehealth law in a matter of […]

CMS Issues Guidance to States on Reopening Nursing Homes: Universal Testing Needed to Lift Visitation Ban

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released guidelines on reopening nursing homes on Monday, with parameters around testing requirements and visitation — while emphasizing that nursing facilities will be among the last institutions that can safely reopen as the U.S. takes tentative steps toward moving out of COVID-19-induced lockdowns. CMS announced that states […]

Aid Bill Would Pause MFAR Medicaid Crackdown During COVID-19, Boost Federal Match by 14%

House Democrats on Tuesday introduced a major aid package with a provision that would indefinitely delay the implementation of a controversial rule that imperiled billions in Medicaid funding for skilled nursing facilities. The bill also would boost the Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP), or Washington’s share of state Medicaid rates, by 14% — up from […]

Confessions of a Nursing Home Executive: ‘Where’s the Support for Us?’

As the COVID-19 crisis continues to unfold, leaders in the skilled nursing space have increasingly claimed that various government agencies have left them in an unwinnable position. With occasionally conflicting edicts from state and federal authorities, and until recently a lower priority for testing than other care settings, the pandemic has revealed serious gaps in […]

With Federal Help Pending, ‘Parking Lot Guy’ Becomes Most Reliable Source of PPE for Nursing Homes

Despite promises from the federal government to speed the distribution of vital personal protective equipment (PPE) to the nation’s nursing homes, operators still find themselves paying exorbitant prices for necessary equipment — when they can even find any at all. Amid a global pandemic that laser-targets vulnerable elders, one of the most reliable PPE sources […]

How Saber’s I-SNP Partnership with Optum Gave the Operator a Head Start on COVID-19

In the era before COVID-19, specialty in-house Medicare Advantage plans had emerged as one of the hottest topics in long-term care — control the payer source, the thinking went, and an operator could eliminate the financial uncertainty and pressure that comes when working with managed care plans. But with a global pandemic running rampant through […]

Nursing Home Giant ManorCare Only ‘Able to Get About 10% of What We Need’ to Test for COVID-19

The nursing home chain HCR ManorCare has — like many other skilled nursing operators — been badly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic still moving through the U.S. And like many other operators, it’s struggling to find the needed personal protective equipment (PPE) and testing kits, despite mandates from multiple states requiring testing and full stockpiles […]