Medicaid Increases May Boost SNF Quality More Than Competition

The free market alone might not be enough to boost skilled nursing facility (SNF) quality, according to a new National Bureau of Economic Research working paper. The paper, “Incentivizing Better Quality of Care: The Role of Medicaid and Competition in the Nursing Home Industry,” simulated the effects of policies in Pennsylvania that either raised regulated Medicaid […]

HHS Nominee: ‘Devil’s in the Details’ of Medicaid Block Grants

President Trump’s pick to lead the Department of Health and Human Services on Tuesday again expressed some support for the idea of converting Medicaid to a block-grant program, though he cautioned that any solution is still far in the future. Testifying before the Senate Finance Committee, Alex Azar said he can “find a lot of […]

Medicare Advantage Enrollees More Likely to Enter Low-Quality SNFs

Fee-for-service (FFS) Medicare has been increasingly de-emphasized in favor of newer payment models such as Medicare Advantage (MA), but a new study in the journal Health Affairs suggests that FFS might provide better skilled-nursing choices for its beneficiaries. “Even after accounting for the quality of nursing homes in a geographic area and the quality of Medicare Advantage […]

Health Care Executives Begin 2018 Bullish on M&A Front

Senior officials from skilled nursing and other health care companies are approaching 2018 confident in their mergers and acquisitions (M&A) strategies, according to a survey conducted by Capital One Financial Corporation. Among those surveyed, exactly 50% identify M&A as their primary growth strategy in 2018 — a substantial growth compared to last year’s survey, where […]

Home Care Providers See SNF Medicaid Imbalance

Louisiana nursing homes are getting most of the state’s Medicaid dollars over home care providers, according to a recent story on Business Report. But that’s not for lack of demand for home care services. The state currently has a backlog of around 31,000 Medicaid applicants for home-based care. “Across the country, we have had this issue of an […]

Top Skilled Nursing Trends of 2018

Now that we’ve broken down the top 10 stories of the last year, it’s time for us to dive into our predictions for the top skilled nursing trends of the coming 12 months. Some key headwinds, such as questions over Medicaid reimbursements, declining occupancy, and new regulations — including the final round of the requirements […]

New Year’s Catch-Up: ManorCare’s Rent Cut, Regulatory Rollbacks

In case you’ve been blissfully away from your e-mail since before Christmas, here’s a quick rundown of the skilled nursing headlines you missed. QCP Cuts ManorCare a Break Quality Care Properties, Inc. (NYSE: QCP) gave its troubled tenant HCR ManorCare a generous Boxing Day present, announcing a one-year rent cut in a December 26 filing […]

Top 10 Skilled Nursing Stories of 2017

The skilled nursing industry faces an existential crisis over its future, and 2017 was a year filled with threats — financial and regulatory woes at top providers, plummeting occupancy, and continued reimbursement pressures. But it was also a year that saw promising research illustrating the utility of SNF care and successes in new payment models, […]

New Medicaid Feature Aims to Reduce Nursing Home Enrollments in Pa.

Pennsylvania has unveiled a new Medicaid feature designed to reduce the number of nursing home enrollees in years to come. Under the Community HealthChoices initiative, insurers will be paid to manage Medicaid’s long-term care services with a financial incentive meant to prioritize in-home care for enrollees. The state is rolling out the program in 14 southwestern counties […]

Skilled Nursing Spending Growth Slowed in 2016

Overall spending on skilled nursing care slowed in 2016, according to the most recent report from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). In all, payers spent $162.7 billion on care at nursing homes and continuing care retirement communities (CCRCs), an increase of 2.9% from 2015. That’s slower than the 3.7% growth between 2014 […]

Post-Acute Crunch at Non-Profit CCRCs Predicted for 2018

Post-acute concerns could be a thorn in the side of non-profit continuing care retirement community (CCRC) operators next year. Citing industry-wide declines in census, admissions, and revenues amid changing payment models, Fitch Ratings, Inc. identified skilled rehabilitation care as a main concern for non-profit CCRCs in an otherwise sunny report about the state of the industry issued […]

Care Coordination in ACOs Might Not Actually Drive Savings

Accountable care organizations (ACOs) are built on a basic premise: By working together, providers across the health care continuum can save Medicare money and boost quality. But the largest share of the savings may simply come from shifting patients out of skilled nursing and home health settings, a new study suggests — and not on […]

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 […]