Verma Submits Resignation as CMS Chief Ahead of Biden Transition, Touts Nursing Home COVID Work

Seema Verma, the administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services submitted her official resignation on January 14, ahead of the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden on January 20 — and touted the agency’s work with nursing homes, particularly amid the COVID-19 public health emergency. “As the Trump Administration comes to a close, I […]

Verma Calls for Outcomes-Based Nursing Home Reform: Despite Aid, ‘Far Too Many Residents’ Have Died

The U.S. regulatory process for skilled nursing facilities needs to be overhauled to focus on outcomes, Seema Verma, the outgoing administrator for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), argued in an opinion piece published January 8. “Despite nursing homes receiving infection control guidance, government-funded testing, training, supplies, staffing, and over $7 billion in […]

Most Skilled Nursing Facilities Still Face Medicare VBP Cuts as Proportion of Winners Drops

The proportion of skilled nursing facilities that earned incentive bonuses under an alternative Medicare payment model dropped in fiscal 2020, with the vast majority of properties either losing money or breaking even. Sixty-five percent of SNFs saw negative adjustments under the SNF Value-Based Purchasing (VBP) program, according to a new analysis published this week in […]

COVID-19 Bill Includes Some Offsets to Part B Cuts Scheduled for Next Year

The new spending bill passed by Congress on Monday night, which includes $900 billion in COVID-19 relief, also contains some respite for cuts to Medicare Part B that posed a significant threat to therapy operations in skilled nursing facilities. The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 is now awaiting President Trump’s signature, and it includes a […]

ProMedica Senior Care’s Parker Sees Growth Ahead — Even as ‘Major Disruption’ Looms for Industry in Early ’21

When Welltower Inc. (NYSE: WELL) and health system ProMedica teamed up to take over nursing home giant HCR ManorCare in 2018, the players positioned the move as a way to vertically integrate a continuum that could follow a patient from the hospital, to a skilled nursing facility, to home health. The real estate investment trust […]

CMS to Resume Updates to Nursing Home Compare, Special Focus Facilities List in January

The federal government last week advised nursing homes that a variety of COVID-related freezes on updates to the public Nursing Home Compare database will end soon after the start of the new year. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) on January 27 will update quality and health inspection metrics on the consumer-facing resource, […]

Biden Nominates California Attorney General Becerra for HHS Secretary

President-elect Joe Biden has selected Xavier Becerra, the current attorney general of California and a critic of President Trump’s nursing home policies, to helm the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under the incoming administration, the New York Times reported Sunday. Prior to serving as California’s top prosecutor, Becerra represented the Los Angeles area […]

MedPAC: Nursing Homes on Solid Financial Ground Despite COVID, Medicare Boost ‘Poor Approach’

A member of a federal advisory board on Medicare policy last week recommended against a payment boost for nursing homes, concluding that despite the negative effects of COVID-19, operators have maintained steady access to capital — and generally make too high of a margin on Medicare-covered residents. “Even with increased costs, Medicare payments are more […]

NIC: Stalled Skilled Nursing Occupancy of 74% ‘Threatens Long-Term Survival’ of Facilities

Occupancy at the nation’s skilled nursing facilities remains stalled well below pre-pandemic levels, prompting a major data provider in the space to sound alarm bells about the financial state of the space heading into a potentially devastating winter. The nation’s SNFs were 74% full during the third quarter of 2020, the National Investment Center for […]

CMS Finalizes Proposed Cuts to Medicare Part B Therapy Services for 2021, Expands Telehealth Coverage

The federal government on Tuesday finalized its proposed physician fee schedule for the 2021 calendar year, formalizing cuts to Medicare reimbursement rates for therapy services provided to residents covered under Part B — while also expanding some telehealth flexibilities offered during COVID-19. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) in August floated a 9% […]

CMS to Retire Old Nursing Home Compare Site on December 1

The end is near for the older version of the federal government’s primary consumer-focused nursing home resource. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will formally phase out its eight original Compare tools — including Nursing Home Compare — on December 1 in favor of its new unified Care Compare site. CMS unveiled the […]

2021 Will See ‘Many Facilities Fail’ Without Federal, State Help

Nursing home and senior living providers in the not-for-profit sector are facing significant strains from the surge in COVID-19 nationwide. Leading into the Thanksgiving holiday, operators are pleading with those in the community to refrain from gathering amid challenges both operational and financial. “Nursing homes really are at the brink,” Deke Cateau, the CEO of […]

New Medicare Claims Analysis Reveals Depths of COVID-19’s ‘Double Whammy’ Effect on SNFs

When elective surgeries were halted or suspended in spring in an attempt to preserve hospital capacity, the number of patients leaving the hospital setting dropped significantly — and the number of patients leaving that setting for skilled nursing fell by nearly half as well. A new analysis of all Medicare fee-for-service claims data from January […]

Curve Health Sees Value-Based Progress at Nursing Homes — Even If It’s Still Technically Fee-for-Service

The federal government has talked a big game about shifting toward value-based payments for Medicare and Medicaid providers, but fee-for-service reimbursements have remained a primary force governing operations in the post-acute and long-term care sector. COVID-19 has subtly shifted that dynamic, however — especially in the field of telemedicine, which has seen skyrocketing adoption rates […]