Democrats Ask CMS to Halt Skilled Nursing Regulatory Rollback

A group of 12 Democratic U.S. senators slammed the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services in a letter sent last week, claiming that its leadership’s decision to ease regulatory restrictions on nursing homes has put seniors in danger. “We write with deep concern over a string of actions by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid […]

Managed Care Payments Continue to Squeeze Skilled Nursing Providers

As the shift to value-based payments and managed care grows, data shows that skilled nursing providers are seeing revenue per patient under these agreements slide as the patient mix increases. The National Investment Center for Seniors Housing (NIC) found that managed Medicare patient mix at standalone skilled nursing facilities has been growing steadily. In the […]

Virtual Behavioral Health Services Can Cut Skilled Nursing Costs

Telehealth services that focus on behavioral health can reduce the overall costs of care for long-term care (LTC) residents by keeping them out of the hospital and emergency department (ED). The technology allows LTC facilities, particularly rural ones, to deliver needed behavioral health services to their residents, a new study found. Specifically, the services can […]

Spending on Nursing Care to Increase Steadily Through 2026

Annual expenditures on skilled nursing care will increase by 3.9% this year and keep rising through 2026, according to a new study from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Office of the Actuary. This rise in nursing home spending tracks with overall gains in outlays for health care services: Between 2017 and 2026, […]

HHS Proposes New Payment System for Skilled Nursing Providers

The new proposed Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) budget was released on Monday, and it’s a mixed bag for skilled nursing providers. President Trump’s spending blueprint would make changes to Medicaid by creating a “market-based health-care grant” that could fund programs in addition to the traditional Medicaid program — a change that would […]

Senate Budget Plan Cuts $2 Billion from Skilled Nursing Facilities

UPDATE: The Senate’s spending bill has passed both houses of Congress, and President Trump signed it into law Friday morning. Should the Senate’s attempt at passing a two-year budget succeed, skilled nursing operators could be in for another serious financial hit. “We are disappointed that the Senate budget proposal includes a $2 billion cut to […]

Therapy Cap Repeal Part of House, Senate Budget Bills

Both the House and the Senate proposals to keep the government open and funded include a repeal of the controversial cap on Medicare-funded therapy services. Long opposed by the skilled nursing and physical therapy industries, the rule placed a $2,010 cap on therapy services for Medicare recipients. While Congress had routinely granted exemptions to the caps, those […]

Volatile Market, Rising Interest Rates Add to Skilled Nursing Pressures

Just when it seemed like the skilled nursing industry had enough potential issues on its plate for 2018 — potential cuts to Medicaid and Medicare, ongoing reimbursement pressures, and staffing woes — the historically healthy stock market took a major tumble. Sabra Health Care REIT (NASDAQ: SBRA), Ventas Inc. (NYSE: VTR), and other health care […]

Why Getting an Extra CMS Star Can Boost a SNF’s Census

Consumers are using the Five-Star Quality Rating System to make decisions about skilled nursing care — and there could be a major financial incentive for providers to earn that extra star. Adding a single star to a skilled nursing facility’s rating from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) boosts admissions in many cases, […]

How OpenTable Inspired One Skilled Nursing Software Provider

Skilled nursing operators are facing increased incentives to collaborate with providers across the care continuum, and electronic health record (EHR) software is often identified as a potential solution. But such a strategy can only work if every provider in a given chain of care uses the same software, which can create barriers both for SNFs […]

What SNFs Can Expect During a Government Shutdown

Though the federal government officially shut down early Saturday morning, skilled nursing and other long-term care operators have little reason to worry about reimbursements — at least for the time being. Medicare and Veterans Affairs-related reimbursements must continue even if the government suspends discretionary spending, as these programs are mandatory. In addition, because state governments […]

SNFs’ Place in New Bundled Payment Model Unclear

The skilled nursing industry is still sorting out how it will participate in a newly announced bundled payment model rolled out by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services on Tuesday. Early analysis of the text from CMS seems to exclude skilled nursing facilities, home health agencies and other post-acute care providers from applying for […]

CMS Rolls Out New Bundled Payment Model

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) on Tuesday introduced a new alternative payment model, the Bundled Payments for Care Improvement Advanced (BPCI Advanced). The model, coming out of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation, is a voluntary bundled payment program that enables participants to earn additional payments for a beneficiary’s episode of care if quality is maintained […]

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 […]

House Bill Seeks to Abolish SNF Three-Day Rule

A bill reintroduced in the House of Representatives Wednesday aims to strip away a long-standing Medicare provision that places restrictions on beneficiaries who seek rehabilitation services in skilled nursing facilities (SNFs). Known as the Creating Access to Rehabilitation for Every Senior Act (H.R. 4701)—or the CARES Act of 2017—the bill would eliminate Medicare’s three-day prior […]

Partial Win for REITs, Non-Profit Operators in Final GOP Tax Plan

Congressional Republicans on Wednesday passed their long-planned tax reform package, and while President Trump has classified the deal as a Christmas gift to American taxpayers, the effects for skilled nursing operators and investors remains less than clear-cut. For instance, non-profit developers of continuing care retirement communities (CCRCs) received mixed holiday blessings: The compromise tax bill saving […]