SNFs Could Emerge as ‘Net Losers’ Under GOP Tax Plan

Senate Republicans passed their version of comprehensive tax reform in the early hours of Saturday morning, and while lawmakers in both houses still need to weigh in on a compromise bill, fears about the legislation’s impact are coursing through the long-term care industry. Skilled nursing operators could be the “net losers” under the GOP-led tax […]

Opinion: Nursing Homes Need to View Regulators as Partners — Or Perish

My job involves combing through Google Alerts in search of the latest filings and nuggets of news about the skilled nursing industry. Most are false positives — especially during the autumn, when my alert for “SNF” returns more information about the coming week’s Sunday Night Football matchup than skilled nursing facilities. But ever since I […]

CMS Officially Scraps Mandatory Cardiac Bundles

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) on Thursday finalized the cancellation of the mandatory hip fracture and cardiac bundled payment models, and in the same move, also implemented changes to the Comprehensive Care for Joint Replacement (CJR) model. Specifically, CMS is reducing the number of mandatory geographic areas participating in the CJR model, […]

CMS-Backed Clinical Program Drastically Lowers Avoidable Hospitalizations at SNFs

Potentially avoidable hospitalizations for long-stay nursing facility residents can be significantly reduced by embedding nurses and nurse practitioners, according to a new analysis. In turn, the strategy could substantially slash Medicare spending. That’s according to an independent evaluation of the OPTIMISTIC program prepared at the request of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI). OPTIMISTIC was developed […]

Warren Presses HHS Pick Over Anti-Psychotic Drugs in Nursing Homes

President Trump’s pick to lead the Department of Health and Human Services faced pointed questions Wednesday about his former employer’s history with marketing anti-psychotic drugs to nursing home operators. Alex Azar, most recently a top executive at pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly and Company (NYSE: LLY), pushed back against criticism of his former company’s history with […]

CMS Delays Enforcement of Smoking Rules, Other Phase 2 Requirements

Skilled nursing operators can breathe a little easier as the second phase of the new Requirements for Participation takes effect this week: The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has delayed penalties for several of the new requirements. For the next 18 months, CMS won’t take enforcement action — in the form of civil […]

Lawsuit Alleges Growing Trend of Improper Discharges at CA SNFs

At 83 years old, California resident Gloria Single is shining a light on what she and her allies believe is a growing issue at skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) in the state: the illegal “dumping,” or eviction, of residents. In March 2017, Single was evicted from Pioneer House in Sacramento, with no warning. Pioneer House—a SNF […]

AHCA: HHS Nominee Azar is Respected and Experienced

President Donald Trump tweeted Monday morning that he would nominate Alex Azar, a former executive with pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly, as secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. The nation’s largest skilled nursing provider association stands ready to work with Azar, the group stated, while others raised some concerns about what his nomination could mean […]

How Bundled Payments Can Keep SNFs on Top of Their Game

The home setting is fast becoming the preferred choice in delivering post acute care (PAC) for health care organizations in bundled payment settings, according to a recent industry report. But while health care providers are steering patients away from an institutionalized setting, one industry expert believes this realization should alert skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) and […]

CMS Takes Steps to Improve Medicaid

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced several ways it plans to improve the Medicaid program — including new proposals for reforms and fewer regulatory burdens, increased efficiency, and more transparency and accountability, according to CMS Administrator Seema Verma.  “Our vision for the future of Medicaid is to reset the federal-state relationship and […]

Health Care Spending Could Reach 40% of Federal Total by 2047

If current policies don’t change, federal spending on Medicare, Medicaid, and other health care programs will grow faster than any other category over the next three decades — eventually reaching 40% of the federal budget. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) presented these statistics in a Wednesday presentation to the Council for Affordable Health Coverage and the American […]

How SNF Executives Can Lobby Lawmakers Without Leaving the Building

Fresh off a battle that nearly saw wholesale changes to the Medicaid program, skilled nursing lobbyists say the work isn’t over — and that operators on the front lines can often be the most effective voices in reaching Washington. One of the primary reasons that Congress came so close to gutting Medicaid as part of […]

Inside Florida’s Shift to a Prospective Payment System for SNFs

As skilled nursing providers in Florida brace for the introduction of a prospective payment system (PPS) for nursing home reimbursements under the state’s Medicaid program, the state legislature has required the formation of a working group to ease the transition. Under the new law—set to take effect in 2018—the state will switch its Medicaid reimbursement policy from […]

House Democrats Ask CMS to Uphold Arbitration Ban

House Democrats on Wednesday called on Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Seema Verma to change her mind on reinstating the use of arbitration clauses in skilled nursing contracts. Referencing the recent problems at nursing homes in the aftermaths of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, 46 Democratic representatives wrote a letter to Verma asking […]

Paying the Price: HHS Secretary Steps Down Amid Scandal

Department of Health and Human Services secretary Tom Price resigned from his post Friday amid an investigation into his use of private jets at taxpayer expense. The government spent more than $1 million for Price’s travel on private and military aircraft since May, according to Politico, which first reported on the secretary’s travel habits. Those […]

Nursing Home Complaints Up 33%, Some States Slow to Respond

Nursing home complaints handled by state authorities rose by one third between 2011 and 2015 — even as occupancy at skilled nursing facilities declined slightly. In addition, a handful of states accounted for the majority of late investigations, according to a new data brief from the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Office of the […]

Last-Ditch Obamacare Repeal Could See a Vote Next Week

After failing to pass health care reform earlier this year, Senate Republicans are at it again with a bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The attempt has been dubbed “Zombie Trumpcare” as the effort to pass health care reform is back from the dead — and skilled nursing interest groups do not […]

Skilled Nursing Occupancy Drops to Five-Year Low

Skilled nursing occupancy rates have dropped to their lowest levels in the last five years, and the bottom still may not be in sight. SNFs were 81.7% occupied in the second quarter of 2017, according to the most recent data from the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care (NIC). That’s a drop from 82.7% in […]

Kansas Failed to Follow Up on Half of Skilled Nursing Deficiencies

Officials in the state of Kansas frequently took skilled nursing facilities at their word when following up on plans to fix certain deficiencies — a violation of federal requirements for SNFs that participate in Medicare and Medicaid. The Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services only verified SNFs’ strategies to correct deficiencies 52% of the […]