CMS Releases Final RAI Manual, Item Sets as MDS Shift Looms

The skilled nursing industry is one step closer to Minimum Data Set (MDS) changes set to take effect on Oct. 1, with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently finalizing revisions to the Resident Assessment Instrument (RAI) manual. The final MDS 3.0 RAI User’s manual was made available online Thursday afternoon, following a […]

Sabra CEO: Reimbursement Hikes May Be Even Bigger Next Year to Account for Inflation 

Nursing home occupancy continues to slowly improve, a trend that along with higher reimbursement rates going forward, will improve the bottom line for Sabra Healthcare REIT (Nasdaq: SBRA), according to executives. Rick Matros, CEO of Sabra, said during the company’s second quarter earnings call on Tuesday that he expects a large increase to next year’s […]

Nursing Home Occupancy Creeps Up to Hover at 81%, While Admission Roadblocks Persist

While staffing shortages continue to create admission roadblocks, the demand for skilled nursing care is recovering. From April to May, SNF occupancy decreased 3 basis points to end at 81%, according to the latest skilled nursing monthly report released by NIC MAP Vision. Pre-pandemic occupancy was 88.9%. Still, occupancy is up 97 basis points compared […]

While More is Needed, Operators are ‘Generally Pleased’ With 4% Increase in SNF Final Rule

Nursing home operators had a mixed reaction to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) final payment rule for 2024. While some operators said that they were generally appreciative of the 4% increase in Medicare reimbursement, they are also calling for more help and understanding from federal agencies in tackling the workforce crisis – […]

Ensign CEO Expects a Long Comment Period for Potential Minimum Staffing Mandate as Company Focuses on Deals, Retention

Nursing home operators can expect a long comment period once the federal minimum staffing mandate comes out, potentially drawing out into the following year before anything is finalized. Barry Port, CEO of the Ensign Group (Nasdaq: ENSG), said during the company’s second quarter conference call on Friday, that this is the tiniest bit of clarity […]

A Payor Mindset, Population Health Focus Are Key to Success as the SNF Industry Evolves

Leaders at nursing homes could create long-term value for their organizations if they adopted a population health focus, empowered local leaders and pursued actively value-based purchasing models. That’s according to a report published by CliftonLarsonAllen (CLA) earlier this month. In an industry facing seismic changes, SNF operators should seize strategic opportunities, empower local leadership, and […]

‘A Significant Cut’: CMS’ Latest Payment Proposal Is ‘Problematic’ for Nursing Homes

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is proposing to reduce payment for physician services under the fee schedule compared to last year, the federal agency announced late Thursday. The reductions would affect the provision of therapy in nursing homes. Indeed, the proposal represents a “significant cut” that will put nursing home “providers in […]

‘We’re Onto Something’: Nursing Homes Focus on Speciality Programs to Meet Evolving Resident Needs

Rising acuity at nursing homes has meant a greater need for the presence of various clinical specialties at facilities. But navigating better interdisciplinary team care is a complicated matter, made more so with staffing shortages, tighter regulation and lower reimbursements. As the needs of the nursing home population continue to evolve, many providers believe it’s […]

‘Still Losing Money:’ Care Initiatives CEO Warns of SNFs Forced to Sell or Close, Keeps Focus on Ancillary Growth

While many states have enacted long-anticipated Medicaid rebasing, some nursing home leaders say it’s too little too late. States like Iowa, with smaller facilities largely run by independent owners, are seeing closures despite receiving $15 million to increase Medicaid reimbursement rates beginning July 1. Reality has hit many such independent owners, according to Michael Beal, […]

Medicare Advantage Bundled Payment Model Tied to Less Skilled Nursing Facility Use

A Medicare Advantage bundled payment model for hip and knee replacements offered by Humana (NYSE: HUM) was associated with reduced skilled nursing facility use. These bundled payments were also linked to reduced spending overall for lower extremity joint replacements (LEJR) – while maintaining quality of care, according to a study published in JAMA Network. Of […]

Medicare Rules Create Barrier to SNF Care for Cancer Patients, Burden Facilities with Costs

Concerns about lack of skilled nursing access for cancer patients, as well as oncology-related costs borne by skilled nursing facilities, have prompted operators to call for action from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). Several nursing home professionals raised this issue in comments to CMS’ proposed Medicare payment update for 2024. One oncology […]

HHS Secretary Becerra Urges RSV Vaccine for Nursing Home Residents

Following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendation to administer the RSV vaccine to seniors aged 60 and older, HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra issued a statement Friday backing the recommendation. Becerra said the move will ensure stronger protection for nursing home residents ahead of winter months. The vaccines are the first licensed in […]

Centers Health Care Owner Allegedly Misused More Than $83M in Government Funds for Nursing Homes, Including to Buy Israeli Airline

Owners, operators and landlords of Centers Health Care in New York are facing a lawsuit filed by the state Attorney General Letitia James on Wednesday, which alleges the four SNFs illegally misused more than $83 million in taxpayer money. Diverted funds went toward, among other things, funding the purchase of Israeli airline El Al, according […]

CMS Makes More Nursing Home Performance, Ownership Data Public in Latest Transparency Push

Moving ahead with its reform initiatives to make nursing home ownership more transparent, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) on Wednesday began posting names of affiliated owners and aggregate data related to staffing and other metrics for ownership groups. The agency made the information available on Nursing Home Care Compare and; consumers […]

SNFists Associated With Nursing Home Strategy to Increase More Lucrative Stream of Post-Acute Patients 

A higher employment of physicians and advanced practitioners at nursing homes – or SNFists – isn’t associated with statistically significant changes in rehospitalization rates. Instead, facility adoption of these SNFists may represent a strategy by nursing homes to maintain rehospitalization rates as operators attempt to shift patient case mix in favor of those receiving post-acute […]

Evolving Nursing Home Business Model Sees Rise of Third-Party Docs, Therapists, Back Office Staff

As rising acuity and reimbursement challenges stymy nursing home workforce growth, third party contracts have been increasingly responsible for providing daily services. Whether its providing resident-facing clinical work, including use of third party doctors, supplying medical equipment or rendering back office services that focus more on ensuring proper documentation for reimbursement, third parties are increasingly […]