Skilled Nursing Facilities Cut Hospitalizations in CMS Initiative

A multi-year initiative from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to lower hospitalizations in long-term care has its first set of finalized results, with data showing that the plan is working so far. CMS on Friday announced that all seven participating sites saw declines in hospitalizations. Six of the seven had statistically significant drops in […]

CMS Official: Focus on Intent of New SNF Regulations

Skilled nursing providers are trying to understand the details of sweeping new Medicare requirements and survey process changes. But SNFs should not get so preoccupied with the finer points that they lose sight of the fundamental goals that the Centers for Medicare & Medicare Services (CMS) intends to achieve with the updates. “The main point […]

AHCA CEO: Skilled Nursing Providers Must Branch Out to Survive

This year might have presented the hardest operating environment ever for skilled nursing operators, American Health Care Association (AHCA) President and CEO Mark Parkinson said this week at the organization’s annual conference in Las Vegas. Favorable demographics ultimately will be a boon to the sector, but in the meantime, there are some strategies that can […]

Quality, Scope of Medicare Advantage Plans Varies Widely

As Medicare Advantage becomes increasingly common in the skilled nursing space, consumers may still have trouble determining whether a plan works best for them — or even provides quality coverage with access to a wide variety of physicians and SNF care. And even if a potential MA enrollee finds a plan that appears to cover […]

House Democrats Ask CMS to Uphold Arbitration Ban

House Democrats on Wednesday called on Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Seema Verma to change her mind on reinstating the use of arbitration clauses in skilled nursing contracts. Referencing the recent problems at nursing homes in the aftermaths of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, 46 Democratic representatives wrote a letter to Verma asking […]

Paying the Price: HHS Secretary Steps Down Amid Scandal

Department of Health and Human Services secretary Tom Price resigned from his post Friday amid an investigation into his use of private jets at taxpayer expense. The government spent more than $1 million for Price’s travel on private and military aircraft since May, according to Politico, which first reported on the secretary’s travel habits. Those […]

Nursing Home Complaints Up 33%, Some States Slow to Respond

Nursing home complaints handled by state authorities rose by one third between 2011 and 2015 — even as occupancy at skilled nursing facilities declined slightly. In addition, a handful of states accounted for the majority of late investigations, according to a new data brief from the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Office of the […]

Skilled Nursing Providers Have Mixed Feelings on Bundled Payments

Less than two-thirds of acute and long-term care providers have found that bundled payments both lower costs and improve care, according to a new survey, though the company behind the numbers says it’s a little more complicated than that. Archway Health, a Watertown, Mass.-based firm that advises health providers on bundled payment models, asked 70 […]

Skilled Nursing Occupancy Drops to Five-Year Low

Skilled nursing occupancy rates have dropped to their lowest levels in the last five years, and the bottom still may not be in sight. SNFs were 81.7% occupied in the second quarter of 2017, according to the most recent data from the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care (NIC). That’s a drop from 82.7% in […]

Kansas Failed to Follow Up on Half of Skilled Nursing Deficiencies

Officials in the state of Kansas frequently took skilled nursing facilities at their word when following up on plans to fix certain deficiencies — a violation of federal requirements for SNFs that participate in Medicare and Medicaid. The Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services only verified SNFs’ strategies to correct deficiencies 52% of the […]

Common Ownership of SNFs, Hospitals on the Rise Among Investors

Over the past decade, the behind-the-scenes relationship between hospitals and skilled nursing facilities has warmed through more common investors, and researchers from Harvard University are raising questions about competition and antitrust regulations. The percentage of acute care hospitals having common investor ties to the post-acute or hospice sectors increased from 24.6% in 2005 to 48.9% in […]

Iowa Sen. Presses CMS Over Abuse Protections for Skilled Nursing Residents

Sen. Chuck Grassley, an Iowa Republican, joined a growing chorus by questioning whether the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is doing enough to protect skilled nursing residents from abuse. In a letter penned last Friday, Grassley pressed CMS on “why it has failed to ensure that nursing home abuse and neglect cases are reported to law […]

SNFs Could Benefit Under Bundled Payment Changes

Skilled nursing facilities are in for a short-term reprieve if a proposal to reduce some bundled payments by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is finalized, according to a recent Fitch Ratings report. CMS proposed reducing some bundled payment models and canceling mandatory programs yet to be implemented. The move, while largely unsurprising given the current […]

CMS Suspends Skilled Nursing Reporting Rules in Harvey’s Wake

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) on Thursday announced an emergency suspension of Medicare quality reporting requirements for skilled nursing and other health care facilities affected by Hurricane Harvey. Skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) located in 32 Texas counties and five Louisiana parishes will be automatically granted exceptions for submitting Quality Reporting Program data […]

ACOs Saved $1 Billion, Reduced SNF Spending

With three years of data for accountable care organizations (ACOs), the shared savings program from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has demonstrated the potential to cut down on care costs. And the savings are frequently coming from skilled nursing facility (SNF) care, according to a recent report from the Office of Inspector General […]

OIG Audit Reveals Inadequate Abuse Protections for Skilled Nursing Residents

Abuses at skilled nursing facilities frequently go unreported, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) determined in a new report that also accused the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) of not doing enough to protect residents. HHS’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG) reviewed the emergency room records for 134 Medicare beneficiaries with any […]

Skilled Nursing Must-Reads: SNFs in a Decade, Post-Acute Confusion

The last five days were dominated by a pair of major real estate investment trust (REIT) dramas — Sabra Healthcare REIT, Inc.’s (NASDAQ: SBRA) successful shareholder vote to acquire Care Capital Properties (NYSE: CCP), and Quality Care Properties’ (NYSE: QCP) decision to seek receivership for the struggling HCR ManorCare’s facilities. But much more happened in […]

How Certain Nurses Can Lower Hospital Readmission Rates at SNFs

For skilled nursing providers looking for ways to reduce unnecessary hospitalizations, taking on advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) could be the way forward. That’s according to Marilyn Rantz, professor of nursing for Missouri University’s Sinclair School of Nursing. In 2012, the nursing school received almost $15 million from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) for an initiative aimed […]