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 […]

On-Site Ombudsmen Lead to More Skilled Nursing Deficiencies on Surveys

When an ombudsman remains on site during post-acute and long-term care facility surveys, the building’s quality scores may be negatively affected, according to a study in published this week in JAMDA, journal of AMDA — The Society for Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine. Researchers determined that ombudsmen may direct assessors to more attention to on-site […]

Uber-Style Nurse Staffing Platform connectRN Lands Athenahealth Vet as New CEO, Plots Expansion

With changes in Medicare reimbursement rules and heightened pressure to cultivate stronger clinical outcomes, technology has increasingly emerged as a solution to help providers find and retain staff. connectRN, a mobile software platform that assists registered nurses (RNs), licensed practical nurses (LPNs), nursing assistants, and other staff in finding available employment slots at multiple facilities, […]

Therapy Cuts Were ‘Inevitable’ Under PDPM — and Providers Must Prepare for Possible Payment Drops

Reports of therapist layoffs and cuts in therapy hours hit the news within days of the implementation of the new Medicare reimbursement system for skilled nursing facilities, sending shock waves throughout the rehab provider community. But according to one major skilled nursing trade group, the cuts to therapy were baked into the system of the […]

Hospitals Update, Refine Discharge Processes to Meet New Skilled Nursing Data Rules

The new federal guidelines mandating that hospitals offer patients detailed information about available post-acute providers is prompting their acute-care counterparts to solidify and deepen their discharge policies. The rule, finalized last month, calls for hospitals to provide information about residents’ SNF options — with detailed data on quality measures — to help patients make the […]

SNFs Could Safely Embrace Group, Concurrent Therapy Under PDPM — as Long as Residents’ Needs Back It Up

The arrival of the new Patient-Driven Payment Model (PDPM) on October 1 has created a flurry of changing operational strategies — and a reframing of how operators and staff track clinical outcomes. One of those shifts has been the rise of group and concurrent therapy services, which multiple voices have identified as a key potential […]

New York State Rolls Out Tighter Regulations for Skilled Nursing Dialysis Services

While more skilled nursing facilities are using home dialysis to diversify their offerings to patients, New York State’s Department of Health has introduced a new licensing model — with more regulatory steps for operators to complete. Dialysis services have been identified as a potential area of growth under the new Patient Driven Payment Model (PDPM); […]

‘CMS is Watching’: Changing Therapy Patterns Raise Concerns About Skilled Nursing Audits, Care Quality

The first week of the new Medicare payment model for nursing homes has brought stories of rapidly shifting therapy patterns among some providers, and voices from the consulting and advocacy worlds are warning that any sudden movements could cause adverse effects — both immediately and down the road. The advent of the Patient-Driven Payment Model […]

Marquis Health Joins Compass in Latest Skilled Nursing Dialysis Partnership

Dialysis services have emerged as a potential growth area under multiple new Medicare payment models, and a skilled nursing provider in the Northeast has joined a growing list of companies partnering with vendors providing renal care. Marquis Health Services earlier this month teamed up with Compass Home Dialysis to provide staff-assisted bedside hemodialysis services at […]

Therapy’s PDPM Paradox: Clinicians Have More Control, But Smaller Rehab Staffs Needed for Now

The new Medicare payment model for nursing homes took effect this week with a bang, as therapists across the nation criticized a wave of staffing reductions in the immediate wake of the October 1 start date. Several companies implemented workforce cuts as the federal government shifted to the Patient-Driven Payment Model (PDPM), which moves incentives […]

Trump Signs Order Seeking Parity Between Fee-For-Service, Medicare Advantage Rates

President Trump on Thursday signed an executive order asking top federal officials to explore a wide variety of Medicare Advantage expansion efforts, including a call to more closely align the rates paid by MA plans and traditional fee-for-service Medicare. Among the order’s provisions is a request for Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) secretary […]