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 […]

Backed with $60M, PatientPing Looks to Expand Care Transitions Network in a Post-COVID Landscape

Even before a global pandemic upended the post-acute care continuum, transitions between settings represented one of the biggest pain points for operators and patients. Fresh off a $60 million Series C funding round announced last week, PatientPing has its sights set on national coverage for its software network that connects hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, home […]

CMS Issues New Guidelines for Resuming Non-Emergency Surgeries as COVID-19 Restrictions Ease

The federal government on Tuesday unveiled a new set of guidelines for the safe resumption of non-emergency health care services, including surgeries and other inpatient procedures. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released the updated recommendations as many states have begun tentatively lifting the strict stay-at-home orders that had been in place since […]

As Officials Mull Stronger Nursing Home Enforcement, Restorative Justice Holds Key to True Reform

As the federal and state governments slowly start to flex their enforcement muscles on nursing homes in the wake of COVID-19, my mind keeps going back to a concept that’s traditionally been the domain of social scientists and prison-reform advocates: restorative justice. Unlike our current crime-and-punishment system, which typically focuses on punitive measures such as […]

Without Funding and Resources, CMS’s New Nursing Home Testing Guidance ‘Hollow’

Without the funds and the resources needed to meet COVID-19 testing recommendations, the federal government’s guidance on reopening nursing homes could create more confusion for skilled nursing facilities — and more challenges on top of the considerable strain they already face in combating the spread of the illness. “At a high level, I really think […]

CMS Issues Guidance to States on Reopening Nursing Homes: Universal Testing Needed to Lift Visitation Ban

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released guidelines on reopening nursing homes on Monday, with parameters around testing requirements and visitation — while emphasizing that nursing facilities will be among the last institutions that can safely reopen as the U.S. takes tentative steps toward moving out of COVID-19-induced lockdowns. CMS announced that states […]