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 […]

Common Ownership of SNFs, Hospitals on the Rise Among Investors

Over the past decade, the behind-the-scenes relationship between hospitals and skilled nursing facilities has warmed through more common investors, and researchers from Harvard University are raising questions about competition and antitrust regulations. The percentage of acute care hospitals having common investor ties to the post-acute or hospice sectors increased from 24.6% in 2005 to 48.9% in […]

Iowa Sen. Presses CMS Over Abuse Protections for Skilled Nursing Residents

Sen. Chuck Grassley, an Iowa Republican, joined a growing chorus by questioning whether the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is doing enough to protect skilled nursing residents from abuse. In a letter penned last Friday, Grassley pressed CMS on “why it has failed to ensure that nursing home abuse and neglect cases are reported to law […]

ACOs Saved $1 Billion, Reduced SNF Spending

With three years of data for accountable care organizations (ACOs), the shared savings program from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has demonstrated the potential to cut down on care costs. And the savings are frequently coming from skilled nursing facility (SNF) care, according to a recent report from the Office of Inspector General […]

OIG Audit Reveals Inadequate Abuse Protections for Skilled Nursing Residents

Abuses at skilled nursing facilities frequently go unreported, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) determined in a new report that also accused the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) of not doing enough to protect residents. HHS’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG) reviewed the emergency room records for 134 Medicare beneficiaries with any […]

Skilled Nursing Must-Reads: SNFs in a Decade, Post-Acute Confusion

The last five days were dominated by a pair of major real estate investment trust (REIT) dramas — Sabra Healthcare REIT, Inc.’s (NASDAQ: SBRA) successful shareholder vote to acquire Care Capital Properties (NYSE: CCP), and Quality Care Properties’ (NYSE: QCP) decision to seek receivership for the struggling HCR ManorCare’s facilities. But much more happened in […]

Critics of Plan to Reinstate SNF Arbitration Agreements Attack Trump, CMS

As the deadline for public comment approached, politicians and advocacy groups lodged strong objections to the Trump administration’s proposal to overturn Obama-era regulations that protect residents’ ability to sue skilled nursing facilities. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a rule in 2016 that prevents SNFs that receive Medicare or Medicaid funds from including “no sue” clauses in […]

Senate Scraps Health Care Bill, Skilled Nursing Operators Exhale

Senate Republicans scuttled their most recent attempt to pass health care reform legislation after several members announced their opposition to the bill, putting proposed Obamacare replacement on hold — and prompting skilled nursing operators and advocates to breathe a temporary sigh of relief. “We appreciate the Senators that hit the pause button on this debate,” […]

Louisiana SNFs Have Extra Protection from Potential Medicaid Cuts

While skilled nursing providers across the U.S. fret over potentially big Medicaid cuts, Louisiana SNFs can breathe slightly easier. That’s because nursing homes there are shielded against Medicaid budget cuts both by statutes and the state’s constitution, The Advocate of Baton Rouge, La. reported. Furthermore, Louisiana — which spent more than $1 billion on nursing homes this […]

Short Week Round-Up: Kindred Exits SNFs, ManorCare Misses Rent

It’s the end of a holiday-shortened week, but the days off didn’t stop a wave of SNF news. In case you’ve been enjoying some extra time away from the office, here’s what you missed. We continued to untangle the strands in Kindred’s deal to exit the SNF business, a blockbuster transaction that’s worth $700 million, $910 […]

Pros and Cons for Skilled Nursing Under Senate’s Trumpcare Bill

The Senate’s proposed health care legislation, like the bill that passed the House, includes significant cuts to Medicaid, which is the top payer for skilled nursing services. This presents obvious challenges for SNFs, but also may provide some positive outcomes. In the first quarter of 2017, 65.2% of patient days were attributed to Medicaid, and the Medicaid patient […]

Illinois Must Pay $586 Million in Medicaid Per Month

Illinois has been ordered by a U.S. judge to pay its Medicaid bills — to the tune of more than half a billion dollars per month. Illinois must pay a staggering $586 million per month to Medicaid providers to ensure continued care for beneficiaries, a U.S. judge ruled on June 30. The ruling comes after […]