CMS Expands Ability of Hospitals to Provide Long-Term Care Services to COVID-19 Patients

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis called on the leader of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to establish flexibilities for caring for long-term care residents with COVID-19 — by letting skilled nursing facilities send them to the hospital. While acknowledging that such individuals might not meet normal hospital admission criteria, DeSantis argued in a […]

Parkinson Warns of State Reopening Plans’ Impact on Nursing Homes, Potential Medicare Relief Clawbacks

Citing current patterns of COVID-19 infection rates at nursing homes, the leader of the nation’s largest post-acute and long-term care association on Wednesday warned against states opening their economies too early — a move that he said could only worsen the crisis. “We are very concerned about states opening up too early for this simple […]

Post-Acute Facilities Feel Short-Term COVID Pain, But May Have the Easiest Path Back

Prior to the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, skilled nursing facilities that specialize in post-acute care were a rare target of true investor excitement in the greater institutional senior care continuum. With a shiny new Medicare payment model that gave providers more financial credit for the high-acuity services they’d increasingly added over the years, and […]

After Fronting $100B, CMS Suspends COVID-19 Medicare Payment Advance Program

Citing the steady release of grant money from the dedicated health care stimulus fund, the federal government on Sunday announced the immediate suspension of a program that provided advances of Medicare Part A and B reimbursements. The Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) halted the Advance Payment Program and indicated its intention to “reevaluate” […]

CMS Releases Nursing Home Staffing, Census Data to Help States Make PPE and Testing Decisions

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) on Friday released a public database of staffing and resident counts for nearly 15,000 nursing homes, with the goal of potentially helping states make more informed decisions about the distribution of personal protective equipment (PPE) amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Using fourth-quarter 2019 data from the Payroll-Based Journal […]

SNFs Could Face Fines of $1K Per Week For COVID-19 Reporting Violations

Nursing homes will soon have to start reporting all positive COVID-19 cases to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) – and could face civil monetary penalties (CMPs) for not meeting the reporting requirements. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) administrator Seema Verma said on a Monday morning call with reporters that skilled […]

COVID-19 Crisis Reveals Deep Cracks, Conflicting Priorities in Nation’s Nursing Home Infrastructure

Over the course of decades, lawmakers have built a jury-rigged structure to support the American post-acute and long-term care landscape. At the base, Medicaid supports long-term care residents who can no longer live on their own without around-the-clock care. Medicare dollars pay for higher-acuity care that seniors require after hospital stays — and prop up […]

CMS Doubles Payment Rate for COVID-19 Tests to Expand Nursing Home Access — as Verma Blames Labs for Shortfalls

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will increase its reimbursements for high-volume lab tests used to rapidly diagnose COVID-19 cases as part of the federal government’s push to expand testing access — particularly among the vulnerable skilled nursing population, the agency announced Wednesday. The reimbursement for COVID-19 diagnostic lab tests that use certain […]

PPE Shortages to Play Central Role in Future Nursing Home Lawsuits

Problems with securing sufficient quantities of personal protective equipment (PPE) span the health care continuum, but in the skilled nursing setting, many providers are grappling with severe shortages — even as they try to contain a contagious disease that presents unique dangers to their patient population. Widespread shortages of masks and gowns, coupled with a […]

$1.5B Medicare Cash Influx to Skilled Nursing Facilities Has Strings Attached — and Some May Not Keep It

Late last week, some operators of skilled nursing facilities — along with many other providers that perform Medicare-reimbursed health care services — woke up to a sudden influx of cash in their corporate bank accounts. But they may not necessarily be able to keep it. Without much fanfare, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services […]

Skilled Nursing Facilities to See 2.3% Medicare Raise — or $784M — Under Fiscal 2021 Proposed Rule

The federal government late Friday released its proposed rule for skilled nursing facility payments for the coming fiscal year, which will see the nation’s nursing homes receive a 2.3% Medicare pay bump. “This estimated increase is attributable to a 2.7% market basket increase factor with a 0.4 percentage point reduction for multifactor productivity adjustment,” the […]

CMS Clears Nurse Practitioners to Perform Some Medical Exams in SNFs in Response to COVID-19

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) on Thursday suspended several rules with the goal of maximizing the frontline healthcare workforce during the COVID-19 emergency, with the result that nurse practitioners can now perform some medical exams in the skilled nursing setting. “It’s all hands on deck during this crisis,” CMS Administrator Seema Verma […]

Skilled Nursing Facilities Could Soon See $1.5B Under CMS’s Emergency Relief Plan, With More on the Way

The federal government this week announced that hospitals and other Medicare-reimbursed health care providers will receive the first disbursements from a $100 billion emergency COVID-19 stimulus fund. For skilled nursing facilities that primarily derive their income from Medicare, the windfall could be significant. “We estimate an allocation of about $1.5 billion to skilled nursing based […]

CMS Approves $34B in Medicare Payment Advances for 17,000 Providers

The federal government has already signed off on nearly $34 billion in advance Medicare payments to providers as part of a program intended to help operators weather temporary financial disruptions amid the spread of COVID-19. Initially announced on March 28, the Accelerated and Advanced Payment Program has already seen 25,000 applications, the Centers for Medicare […]

Nursing Homes Shouldn’t Fear Overreacting to COVID-19 — Even If It Means Getting Ahead of CDC, CMS

As the chief medical officer for publicly traded nursing home giant Genesis HealthCare (NYSE: GEN), Dr. Richard Feifer has a bird’s-eye view on the strategies that hundreds of individual nursing homes have implemented in the fight against COVID-19. Appearing on the most recent episode of SNN’s “Rethink” podcast, Feifer was blunt about the decisions that […]