HHS Strategic COVID-19 Testing Plan Includes Federal Support, But States Have to Execute

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on Sunday released its “COVID-19 Strategic Testing Plan” to Congress, and argued that a targeted testing strategy “based on diagnosis, contact tracing, and smart surveillance” is the best solution to allow the country to emerge from pandemic-inducted lockdowns. The report, which was released as part of requirements […]

How Nursing Homes Can Bolster Infection Control — for COVID-19 and Beyond

Amid the national emergency caused by COVID-19, infection control in skilled nursing facilities has come under intense scrutiny, with past violations examined under the media microscope — and surveys from the government focused solely on the issue. That scrutiny is only likely to increase due to the challenge nursing homes face trying to contain COVID-19 […]

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 […]

Inside an Ambulance Company’s Plan to Redeploy EMTs as Nursing Home CNAs — During COVID and Beyond

Staffing shortages were a problem for skilled nursing facilities well before the current national emergency, but COVID-19’s behavior has exacerbated the challenges. Asymptomatic workers who moved from facility to facility — and who, by nature of their work, from patient to patient — were a major part of the reason the Life Care Center of […]

Fitch Ratings Drops Welltower’s Outlook to Negative Amid COVID-19 Pressures

Fitch Ratings on Wednesday revised its rating outlook for Welltower Inc. (NYSE: WELL) to “Negative,” down from “Stable,” while affirming the rating at “BBB+.” The Toledo, Ohio-based Welltower has a portfolio in which senior housing facilities accounted for 62% of net operating income as of March 31, while skilled nursing facilities account for about 15% […]

Aid Bill Would Pause MFAR Medicaid Crackdown During COVID-19, Boost Federal Match by 14%

House Democrats on Tuesday introduced a major aid package with a provision that would indefinitely delay the implementation of a controversial rule that imperiled billions in Medicaid funding for skilled nursing facilities. The bill also would boost the Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP), or Washington’s share of state Medicaid rates, by 14% — up from […]

CareTrust Keeps 2020 Guidance Amid COVID-19: ‘There is a Possible Path Through This’

Several of the major health care real estate investment trusts (REITs) have responded to the challenges and upheaval of the COVID-19 pandemic by withdrawing their earnings guidance for the year — a move that’s entirely understandable given the number of unknowns about the impact of the resulting emergency on tenants. But the San Clemente, Calif.-based […]

Nursing Home Giant ManorCare Only ‘Able to Get About 10% of What We Need’ to Test for COVID-19

The nursing home chain HCR ManorCare has — like many other skilled nursing operators — been badly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic still moving through the U.S. And like many other operators, it’s struggling to find the needed personal protective equipment (PPE) and testing kits, despite mandates from multiple states requiring testing and full stockpiles […]

Under Interim Final Rule, Mandatory COVID-19 Reporting for Nursing Homes to Begin This Week

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) on Friday released an interim final rule that, among other provisions, will require nursing homes to begin reporting detailed COVID-19 information to the federal government this week. While CMS and the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) had previously announced the requirement — after weeks of […]

FEMA Could Begin Sending PPE to Nursing Homes in Early May

With personal protective equipment (PPE) in short supply across the country, skilled nursing facilities have felt left out in efforts to bolster health care capacity in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic — even though by most measures, they are arguably on the front lines of the battle to contain the illness caused by the […]