Congress Extends 2% Medicare Sequestration Holiday Through End of 2021

Skilled nursing facilities and other health care providers will receive 2% more in Medicare reimbursements through the end of 2021 after President Biden signed a long-awaited sequestration moratorium bill into law Wednesday. Congress in late March 2020 suspended the 2% sequestration cut as the coronavirus crisis began to gain steam, and late last year bumped […]

Ownership Oversight Rules, Liability Shield Rollback: State Nursing Home Reform Efforts Gain Momentum

As the policy response to the COVID-19 disaster in nursing homes shifts from managing an active crisis to longer-term reforms, several states are seeing progress on legislation that will bring new rules and transparency to the sector. The New Jersey Senate and Assembly unanimously passed a bill late last month that would include a review […]

MACs to Temporarily Hold Claims as 2% Medicare Sequestration Cuts Sit in Congressional Limbo

The pandemic prompted Congress to pause an across-the-board Medicare rate cut that had been in effect since the Obama administration, but a stalemate in Washington over extending the relief will bring a slight payment hiccup over the coming weeks. While both houses of Congress have approved extensions of the 2% Medicare sequestration holiday, they did […]

Biden Pitches $400B Plan to Expand Medicaid Coverage of Home-Based Care Options

President Biden on Wednesday proposed a $400 billion plan designed to significantly bolster Medicaid coverage of long-term care outside of institutional settings, marking the first concrete step toward achieving a central campaign promise to support caregivers and expand access to home-based care. Pitched as part of a $2 trillion infrastructure package dubbed “the American Jobs […]

House Hearing Scrutinizes ‘Horror’ of Private Equity Investment in Nursing Homes

For the second time in as many weeks, federal lawmakers scrutinized private equity investment in nursing homes as the probes into the COVID-19 disaster in long-term care continue to intensify. “How many grandmothers and grandfathers died because profits were prized above lives, with our taxpayer dollars funding this?” Rep. Bill Pascrell, who chairs the House […]

Staffing and Ownership Structure Take Center Stage in Senate Hearing on COVID-19 in Nursing Homes

The Senate Finance Committee on Wednesday held a hearing on the impact of COVID-19 on nursing homes, and witnesses from the frontlines to the academic sphere testified to the fact that the pandemic exacerbated problems that long predated the novel coronavirus. And while the hearing contained its share of partisan talking points — ranging from […]

Nursing Home Industry Targets RN Staffing, PPE Stockpiles in Reform Pitch — But Ownership Untouched for Now

The two largest trade groups for nursing homes proposed a policy agenda to address the systemic issues in the sector illuminated by COVID-19, with reforms centered on improving nursing hours, staff retention and infection control — in addition to increasing reimbursement from Medicaid, the largest payer for nursing home care, to cover the costs. The […]

Congress OKs Stimulus with $250M for Nursing Home Strike Teams, $200M for Infection Control, Vaccine Support

The U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday passed a sweeping $1.9 trillion stimulus bill that contains some additional support for the nation’s beleaguered nursing homes, with President Biden expected to sign the package into law Friday. The American Rescue Plan specifically includes $200 million to support COVID-19 vaccination efforts and infection control improvements in nursing […]

Lawmakers Mull State-Level Ban on New For-Profit Nursing Home Licenses, Expansions

As nursing home deaths in New York remain national news, reform efforts in the state are increasingly focusing on for-profit providers, and one proposal would specifically ban their expansion in the Empire State. For-profit nursing home operators would be prohibited from establishing new facilities or expanding their existing ones under a proposal sponsored by Manhattan […]

HHS Nominee Becerra Says More Nursing Home Aid ‘Top Priority’ — But Faces No Questions on SNF Reform

California attorney general Xavier Becerra faced a range of questions in his confirmation hearing for the role of Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) secretary — including whether or not he would support more government aid for nursing homes and other health care providers ravaged by the COVID-19 pandemic. Sen. Susan Collins, a Republican […]

Cuomo Targets Ownership Transparency, Caps on Profit and Executive Pay in Nursing Home Reform Push

Embroiled in an ongoing scandal about the state’s handling of COVID-19 in nursing homes, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced reform legislation that would require full disclosure of facility ownership and place caps on both profits and executive pay. “Facilities have put profits over care for far too long and as we look forward, we […]

Cuomo Takes Aim at For-Profit Nursing Homes, Hints at Reforms for 2021

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s handling of the COVID-19 crisis in nursing homes continues to make headlines amid accusations of a deliberate cover-up, but the embattled executive this week promised to explore reforms targeted at for-profit facility owners. “I have long believed that there is a tension in a for-profit nursing home, because those institutions […]

Parkinson: Given COVID’s Toll, Nursing Homes Will — and Should — Get Significant Oversight Overhaul

With a change in presidential administration comes changes in policy, and skilled nursing facilities should expect a shift in the approach of the federal government to regulation. As the SNF sector emerges from the devastation of COVID-19, they are also going to receive significant oversight from the administration of Democratic President Joe Biden. And according […]

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 […]

COVID-19 Bill Includes Some Offsets to Part B Cuts Scheduled for Next Year

The new spending bill passed by Congress on Monday night, which includes $900 billion in COVID-19 relief, also contains some respite for cuts to Medicare Part B that posed a significant threat to therapy operations in skilled nursing facilities. The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 is now awaiting President Trump’s signature, and it includes a […]

As Some Senators Decry ‘Worsening Crisis’ in Nursing Homes, New Stimulus Plan Includes Liability Shield

A bipartisan group of senators released a stimulus plan on Monday consisting of two different aid packages, $748 billion and $160 billion apiece — one of which includes a controversial liability protection for health care providers and other businesses. The latter aid package contains parameters, favored by business interests of multiple stripes, on liability for […]

Feds Look to Expand Special Focus Facility List of Poor-Performing Nursing Homes, Create New Ranking System

The two U.S. senators who last year released a “secret” list of nursing homes under consideration for inclusion on a formal list of facilities with major quality issues are now calling for expanded oversight of poorly performing skilled nursing facilities in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Sens. Pat Toomey and Bob Casey, both of […]