Bill Would Expand Nursing Homes’ Access to Federal Background-Check Database

A new piece of legislation before Congress would expand nursing homes’ ability to perform detailed background checks on potential employees, according to its sponsor. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, a New York Democrat, earlier this week announced a bill to improve health care worker hiring practices in an effort to reduce elder abuse. The initiative — known […]

Verma: New Abuse Warning Icon ‘Isn’t Really Going to Impact Very Many Nursing Homes’

Despite widespread anger in the skilled nursing industry, a controversial new warning icon for facilities with previous reports of abuse and neglect will affect only a relatively small proportion of properties, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) administrator Seema Verma told lawmakers in Washington on Wednesday. Testifying before the House Committee on Energy & […]

Providers, CMS Must ‘Band Together’ to Improve Skilled Nursing Care for Behavioral, Mental Health Patients

In a health care landscape full of challenges, staffing consistently ranks as the top concern for skilled nursing facilities. But the second-most prevalent concern is patients and residents who have mental health needs and substance use disorders, according to a top federal official — and there are no easy answers for how SNFs should cope. […]

CMS to Implement Stricter Standards for State Nursing Home Surveyors

The federal government on Thursday rolled out yet another initiative aimed at nursing home safety, announcing a multi-pronged effort to strengthen its oversight of State Survey Agencies (SSAs). The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will implement a variety of new assessment tools in the State Performance Standards System (SPSS), its rubric for grading […]

Four More Nebraska Nursing Homes to Close Amid Persistent Payment Crunch

Just about a week after changing hands, four skilled nursing facilities in Nebraska announced plans to soon shut down amid financial difficulties that their new owners blamed on a tough overall state budget landscape. The four facilities — Blue Hill Care Center in Blue Hill, Crestview Care Center in Milford, Mory’s Haven in Columbus, and […]

California AG Criticizes Proposed Delay of Phase 3 RoP Rules for Nursing Homes

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra criticized a proposed federal rule that would delay certain aspects of Phase 3 of the Requirements of Participation for skilled nursing facilities, arguing that the move would roll back key protections for residents. Announced in July, the proposed rule seeks to reduce reporting and paperwork burdens through delaying certain parts […]

Omega CEO Pickett: Medicaid-Focused Model Can Work in Skilled Nursing

With capital chasing upside and new development dominated by high-end “medical resorts,” the availability of long-term care beds has emerged as a big-picture issue for the skilled nursing industry. While it may not be a nationwide problem just yet, certain markets — from Wisconsin to California — have begun to show the early signs of […]

Record-Setting $1.3B Nursing Home Fraud Case Ends in 20-Year Prison Sentence

Philip Esformes, who used to control a network of skilled nursing and assisted living facilities running from Miami to Chicago, was sentenced to 20 years in prison on Thursday. The legal publication Law360 first reported the news. The U.S. Justice Department called the case, which resulted in 20 guilty verdicts in April, the largest single […]

Skilled Nursing Sell-Off in Texas Goes Beyond Payment: ‘The Problem is Not the Medicaid Rate’

Texas’s failure to pass a program to increase Medicaid payment to skilled nursing facilities was the latest step not taken in improving the reimbursement in the Lone Star State. The legislation, which would have set up a long-term care quality provider participation program (QPPP) to funnel additional compensation to SNFs for meeting certain quality metrics, […]

Voters Could Decide on Medicaid Nursing Home Rate Increases in Massachusetts

A ballot initiative that would overhaul the way Massachusetts’s Medicaid program pays for nursing home services last week moved one step closer to reaching voters. The office of state attorney general Maura Healey certified a nursing home reimbursement proposal among other potential ballot questions for Bay State voters to consider in 2020, local NPR station […]

CMS Expands Power to Ban Providers with ‘Problematic’ Affiliations from Medicare, Medicaid

The federal government on Thursday finalized a rule that will expand its power to remove potentially unscrupulous health care providers from Medicare and Medicaid eligibility. Under the new final rule, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) can kick providers out of the programs if they have a previous affiliation with a banned organization, […]

CMS Chief Medical Officer: More Changes Coming to Nursing Home Compare, Quality Measures

The past several years have seen sweeping overhauls of nursing home enforcement on the federal level, and the Medicare program’s top clinical officer says her agency isn’t done beefing up its efforts. Dr. Kate Goodrich, the chief medical officer for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), promised that more changes are coming to […]

Managed Medicaid Could Compound SNF Headaches in Kansas as Aetna Pledges Improvements

After health care providers reported a range of issues with reimbursement, one of Kansas’s three managed Medicaid insurance companies promised improvement at a recent state government hearing. “Clearly, the feedback we’ve received and some of the issues that have been brought to our attention and some of the issues we’ve seen internally have been extremely […]