Coronavirus Stimulus Bill Includes $200M for CMS Infection-Control Efforts at Nursing Homes, $100B in Health Grants

The $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus bill that was approved late Wednesday in the Senate includes $200 million in funding for a federal push to bolster infection-control efforts in the nation’s nursing homes. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has placed infection control at the center of its emergency nursing home inspection protocols, suspending […]

Emergency Medicaid Waivers Expand to 13 States, Eliminating Prior Auth and Approving Alternate Care Sites

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) late Monday approved 11 new state Medicaid waivers, opening the door for a host of emergency solutions to the COVID-19 pandemic — from an elimination of prior authorization requirements to the potential provision of care at unlicensed facilities. After Florida and Washington state landed the first 1135 […]

CMS to Enforce Tougher Survey Guidelines in Wake of COVID-19 Deaths at Kirkland Nursing Home

The federal government on Monday announced the release of an updated survey tool for nursing home inspectors, with an even stricter focus on infection-control policies — derived directly from lessons learned at a facility in Washington state that served as the epicenter of the first COVID-19 outbreak in the United States. The Centers for Medicare […]

Therapy Continues During Crisis, But Worries Over Protective Supplies and Employment Loom

Many therapy teams consider their services essential to nursing home residents — even after the federal government guided the sector to prohibit unnecessary visits to facilities amid the spread of the novel coronavirus. Even with the push to reduce “unessential” services, the government opened the floodgates for nursing facilities to serve overflow patients from hospitals […]

While Recognizing Dangers, California Tells Nursing Homes to Prepare for COVID-19 Patients [UPDATED]

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) issued recommendations for skilled nursing facilities on preparing for COVID-19 — and told them to prepare to receive and care for residents with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 infections. The all-facilities letter (AFL) sent on March 19 tells SNFs to prepare for COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel […]

CMS Move to Delay Elective Surgeries Could Create Lasting Strain on Skilled Nursing Facilities

Skilled nursing facilities, and post-acute providers in general, will feel pain even beyond the immediate short-term challenges of protecting residents and staff from the spread of the novel coronavirus, several experts predicted Thursday. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services late on Wednesday recommended the delay of “all elective surgeries, non-essential medical, surgical, and dental […]

COVID-19 Brings Private Equity Investment in Nursing Homes into the Spotlight

Officials had already expressed concerns about the rise of private equity investment in skilled nursing facilities, citing a lack of transparency and concerns over quality. Then the coronavirus crisis hit. As nursing home operators struggle to fight back a disease described as “almost a perfect killing machine for the elderly,” several resident advocates raised worries […]

Coronavirus Briefs: Cases at Ill. Nursing Home Double in a Day; Federal Medicaid Match Jumps 6.2%

A note to our readers: As the coronavirus crisis continues to unfold, SNN will bring you the information that you need in one easy-to-access place. The weeks ahead will bring challenges both macro and micro, with potentially sweeping federal action needed to “bend the curve” and maintain our health care system’s ability to function — […]

Post-Acute Bed Capacity Concerns Loom as COVID-19 Cases Grow

As the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S. mounts, concerns about hospital bed capacity are rising in proportion — and skilled nursing facilities need to be ready to help ease the stress on the acute care system, according to multiple providers. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) seemed to confirm this […]

CDC: Sharing Staffers Among Multiple Nursing Homes Hastened Coronavirus Spread

A preliminary analysis from the federal government concluded that the sharing of staff members among multiple nursing homes — along with employees continuing to work while sick — helped to hasten the spread of the novel coronavirus in Washington state. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) analyzed the timeline of a COVID-19 outbreak […]

CMS Expands Nursing Home Telehealth Coverage, Waives HIPAA Penalties During COVID-19 Outbreak

The Trump administration on Tuesday announced an emergency expansion of telehealth coverage for Medicare beneficiaries amid the COVID-19 outbreak, removing multiple regulatory barriers to doctors providing remote care for nursing home residents. Retroactive to March 6, Medicare can pay for virtual consultations provided through telehealth platforms across the country, including those conducted in a patient’s […]

Genesis Reports One COVID-19 Case, Confirms Hospital Demand for Overflow Beds at Nursing Homes

Genesis HealthCare (NYSE: GEN), one of the largest post-acute operators in the U.S., reported one confirmed case of the COVID-19 disease at one of its facilities, in an otherwise optimistic fourth-quarter and year-end earnings call for 2019. The Kennett Square, Pa.-based operator, which has hundreds of skilled nursing facilities and assisted and senior living centers […]

Therapists Generally Considered Essential Amid Nursing Home Visit Ban — But Some Told to Stay Away

When the federal government prohibited all non-essential visits to nursing homes on Friday, in-house therapy teams and third-party companies were left wondering exactly who counted as “essential” — and whether they were part of the exempted health care workers that can continue to enter facilities. In general, SNN found that therapy services are continuing throughout […]

Officials Eye Nursing Homes as Failsafe for Overloaded Hospitals During Coronavirus Spread

A sweeping ban on nursing home visits dominated headlines both inside and outside the industry over the weekend, but buried in the federal government’s recent emergency COVID-19 guidelines was a waiver of the three-day hospital stay rule for Medicare skilled nursing coverage. Under normal conditions, a Medicare beneficiary must remain in the hospital for three […]

As Admission Holds Loom, Skilled Nursing Facilities and Hospitals Must Stay in Constant COVID-19 Contact

The residents and patients at skilled nursing facilities are uniquely imperiled by COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus that’s rapidly altering the routines of everyday life worldwide. As a result, SNFs across the country have gone into lockdown, with the federal government on Friday issuing a blanket ban of non-essential visits. Their hospital […]

Nursing Homes Will Weather Coronavirus Crisis — But No Excuse for Lapses

Public health officials and the nation’s most prominent nursing home industry leaders haven’t minced words when describing the threat that COVID-19 presents to residents and operators, and neither will we: The next few months will present the some of the most serious challenges that long-term and post-acute care providers have ever faced. The best nursing […]