CMS Finalizes $750M Medicare Payment Boost for Nursing Homes in Fiscal 2021

The federal government on Friday finalized a previously proposed rule that will bring a 2.2% Medicare payment bump to the nation’s skilled nursing facilities. Under the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS) 2021 payment rule, facilities will see a total increase of $750 million in Medicare reimbursements over the next fiscal year, which begins […]

Home Health Heavyweight Encompass Sees Potential to Replace Skilled Nursing with IRFs Post-COVID

Widespread outbreaks of COVID-19 at skilled nursing facilities have increased calls to accelerate the shift to in-home care whenever possible, but one major home health provider took things a step further by floating the potential for replacing SNF care with stays at inpatient rehabilitation facilities (IRFs). Speaking on the company’s second-quarter earnings call this week, […]

HHS to Send Additional $5B to Nursing Homes, Increase Staff Testing Requirements in Hotspots

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will be sending $5 billion to all skilled nursing facilities in the U.S, President Donald Trump announced on Wednesday. “Nursing homes in higher risk areas will be receiving more funding,” Trump said in his coronavirus briefing on Wednesday. “This money can be used to address critical needs, […]

Verma: CMS Wants to Partner with Nursing Homes, ‘Move Away’ from Focusing on Fines

The federal government’s top Medicare official this week emphasized a desire to work closely with leaders in the nursing home landscape, pointing to industry feedback as a key driver behind a sweeping plan to send point-of-care COVID-19 testing units to the nation’s nursing facilities. “CMS obviously has a regulatory function with nursing homes,” Centers for […]

Operators Greet Nursing Home COVID Testing Initiative with Cautious Optimism, Pointed Questions

One day after the federal government announced an ambitious plan to send point-of-care testing units for COVID-19 to all of the nation’s more than 15,000 nursing homes, leaders in the space expressed cautious optimism — while often emphasizing that they have more questions than firm answers. Starting next week, the Department of Health and Human […]

Federal Government Will Send Point-of-Care COVID-19 Testing Units, Kits to All Nursing Homes in U.S. [Updated]

UPDATE, July 15: CMS and HHS on Wednesday provided more information about the initial roll-out of this program. Click here for the latest. The federal government on Tuesday announced that it would send point-of-care testing supplies for COVID-19 to all skilled nursing facilities in the country, starting next week, according to Admiral Brett Giroir, Assistant […]

Longwood Management, Affiliates to Pay $16.7M in False Claims Act Settlement Over Rehab Services

Longwood Management Corporation, along with 27 individual affiliated skilled nursing facilities, will pay $16.7 million to settle federal allegations of rehabilitation billing fraud, the Department of Justice announced Monday. The government accused the Los Angeles-based firm of pressuring therapists to hit predetermined targets for rehab minutes under the Ultra High category, which provided the greatest […]

Home Health Giants Look to Accelerate Diversions, Capitalize on ‘Long Haul Back for the SNFs’ Post-COVID

Operators of post-acute care facilities have seen the steady diversion of patients to the home setting in recent years, and multiple home health heavyweights believe the COVID-19 pandemic will only accelerate that trend into the 2020s. The flow of hospital patients bypassing the institutional skilled nursing facility “is picking up more steam right now,” LHC […]

Though Data on Outcomes Sparse, CMS Han’t Forgotten PDPM Monitoring — While Wage Index Drops Loom

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has been slow to make moves on audit demonstrations for the Patient-Driven Payment Model (PDPM), the Medicare reimbursement overhaul for skilled nursing facilities that took effect last year. But that doesn’t mean that the agency has forgotten its promise to closely monitor patient outcomes and scrutinize SNFs’ […]

Vowing to Cut Red Tape, CMS Forms Office of Burden Reduction and Health Informatics

Framing the move as an extension of existing efforts to remove regulatory burdens for health care operators under the current administration, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) on Tuesday unveiled a new office dedicated to eliminating rules it deems “duplicative, unnecessary, and excessively costly.” The Office of Burden Reduction and Health Informatics will […]

Spending $5 Million a Week on COVID-19, Signature HealthCARE Faces ‘Toughest Period in Our Company History’

Like many nursing home operators, Signature HealthCARE has seen its fair share of strain during the COVID-19 crisis, with skyrocketing costs prompting the provider to lay off 100 corporate employees earlier this month. But its CEO has indicated that the stress on the Louisville, Ky.-based company may just be starting. “We think we did it […]

Verma: Fee-for-Service Medicare ‘Insufficient’ to Cover Vulnerable Beneficiaries Post-COVID

Early research into the impact of COVID-19 on seniors — both among the general population, and in nursing homes — has revealed endemic connections among race, income, and the likelihood of infection and death. Those patterns, reinforced by a new set of data probing COVID-19’s impact on Medicare beneficiaries, should prompt a more rapid move […]

CMS Orders Medicare Advantage Plans, MACs to Cover COVID-19 Tests Under New Nursing Home Guidance

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) on Friday instructed Medicare Advantage plans and Medicare Administrative Contractors (MACs) to begin covering all COVID-19 tests required for nursing home residents under new testing guidelines. The move came after the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) updated its guidance around nursing home testing strategies last […]

PDPM Boosts Medicare Rate 9% Early in COVID-19 Crisis: ‘RUGS-IV Would Have Been a Fiscal Disaster’

Skilled nursing facilities received a 9% Medicare reimbursement boost during the early days of the COVID-19 crisis under the new Patient-Driven Patient Model, a new analysis has determined — providing a crucial fiscal lifeline that may not have existed under the structure that PDPM replaced. “RUG-IV would have been a fiscal disaster for SNFs dealing […]