Skilled Nursing Provider Sava Sees Dialysis Expansion as Cornerstone of Post-COVID World

Early in December, Concerto Renal Services announced that it was expanding its partnership with the skilled nursing provider SavaSeniorCare, with the addition of on-site dialysis treatments to a facility in Georgia. For Concerto, the partnership with Sava at the Dunwoody Health and Rehabilitation Center is the fourth such agreement between the two companies and marks […]

As SNFs Prep for COVID Vaccination, Questions Remain for Frontline Workers on Speed and Credibility

With two COVID-19 vaccines officially authorized for use, the immunization of health care workers and long-term care facility residents is finally underway in earnest. The Food and Drug Administration granted emergency use authorizations (EUAs) to Pfizer’s (NYSE: PFE) COVID-19 vaccine on December 11 and to Moderna’s (Nasdaq: MRNA) on December 18. There are several considerations […]

COVID-19 Bill Includes Some Offsets to Part B Cuts Scheduled for Next Year

The new spending bill passed by Congress on Monday night, which includes $900 billion in COVID-19 relief, also contains some respite for cuts to Medicare Part B that posed a significant threat to therapy operations in skilled nursing facilities. The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 is now awaiting President Trump’s signature, and it includes a […]

With Promising Results from Abbott’s COVID Tests, HHS Commits to Ongoing Shipments for Nursing Homes

With one COVID-19 vaccine authorized by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and another likely to gain approval soon, the end of the pandemic could be coming into view. In the meantime, though, testing remains a critical element of the response, particularly for skilled nursing facilities, and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) […]

As Some Senators Decry ‘Worsening Crisis’ in Nursing Homes, New Stimulus Plan Includes Liability Shield

A bipartisan group of senators released a stimulus plan on Monday consisting of two different aid packages, $748 billion and $160 billion apiece — one of which includes a controversial liability protection for health care providers and other businesses. The latter aid package contains parameters, favored by business interests of multiple stripes, on liability for […]

Promises, Questions Abound as Azar Floats Christmas Vaccination Target for Nursing Home Residents

The emergency use authorization (EUA) granted to Pfizer’s (NYSE: PFE) COVID-19 vaccine late on Friday launched a flurry of promises and commitments to get the vaccine out to vulnerable long-term care residents as quickly as possible. Alex Azar, the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) suggested on Sunday in an interview […]

With Nursing Homes Prioritized and Approval Inching Closer, CVS Pulls Back Curtain on COVID Vaccine Plans

With an official recommendation that health care workers and long-term care facility residents be prioritized when a vaccine is approved, the next issue becomes getting them their shots — and ensuring they feel safe taking them. The recent recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) was […]

BD Exec: Antigen Tests Are Reliable on COVID-19, But Community Spread Plays Role in False Results

The federal government’s push to send out rapid point-of-care antigen test for COVID-19 to all nursing homes officially wrapped in the early months of autumn. But for many skilled nursing facilities, the use of the tests was fraught, with questions lingering about accuracy and refills of supplies. Those concerns began to ease as fall wore […]

‘If There’s No Trust, There’ll Be More Hesitancy’: Nursing Homes Must Overcome Staff Skepticism of COVID Vaccine

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) was emphatic in a Tuesday meeting that it has the systems and processes in place to keep track of any adverse events from a COVID-19 vaccine, whenever one is approved. Whether that is enough to quell the concerns of the health care workers and long-term care facility […]

2021 Will See ‘Many Facilities Fail’ Without Federal, State Help

Nursing home and senior living providers in the not-for-profit sector are facing significant strains from the surge in COVID-19 nationwide. Leading into the Thanksgiving holiday, operators are pleading with those in the community to refrain from gathering amid challenges both operational and financial. “Nursing homes really are at the brink,” Deke Cateau, the CEO of […]

New Medicare Claims Analysis Reveals Depths of COVID-19’s ‘Double Whammy’ Effect on SNFs

When elective surgeries were halted or suspended in spring in an attempt to preserve hospital capacity, the number of patients leaving the hospital setting dropped significantly — and the number of patients leaving that setting for skilled nursing fell by nearly half as well. A new analysis of all Medicare fee-for-service claims data from January […]

Feds Look to Expand Special Focus Facility List of Poor-Performing Nursing Homes, Create New Ranking System

The two U.S. senators who last year released a “secret” list of nursing homes under consideration for inclusion on a formal list of facilities with major quality issues are now calling for expanded oversight of poorly performing skilled nursing facilities in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Sens. Pat Toomey and Bob Casey, both of […]

As Admissions Stall and Aid Dries Up, ‘Losses are Coming’ for Nursing Homes in ‘Bleak’ First Half of 2021

The steps taken by regulators to cut red tape for skilled nursing facilities during the COVID-19 pandemic have been extremely helpful in stabilizing operations, and the financial support from various rounds of stimulus funds has kept balance sheets steady. But with COVID-19 surging again in many parts of the U.S. and occupancy seemingly flatlining, the […]

Verma Pushes Back on Criticism of CMS Response to Life Care COVID Outbreak: ‘Our Inspection Was Critical’

The nation’s top Medicare official took to Twitter to respond to a mainstream news report critical of the federal government’s handling of the first major COVID-19 outbreak at a skilled nursing facility. “60 Minutes” this past Sunday profiled that outbreak — which devastated a Life Care Centers of America facility in the Seattle suburb of […]

COVID Test Refills Flowing to Nursing Homes, But Supply Concerns Loom Amid Spikes and Workforce Shortages

As cases climb across the country, community spread will send increasing numbers of counties into the so-called yellow and red zones — in turn, requiring more and more skilled nursing facilities to test staffers according to the September guidelines from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). As of the most recent CMS data […]

Parkinson: Even with Successful Vaccine, Census Recovery Will Take ‘A Couple Years’

While many sectors of the U.S. need a successful vaccine to truly recover from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is especially paramount for skilled nursing facilities, Mark Parkinson, president and CEO of the American Health Care Association (AHCA), said on Friday. Parkinson made that point during a guest appearance on the third-quarter earnings […]

Private Equity-Backed Nursing Homes Log Similar COVID Outcomes as Other Facilities, But Less PPE

Nursing homes owned by private equity (PE) firms had COVID-19 outcomes comparable to facilities with other ownership structures, including similar staffing levels, case counts, and COVID-19 deaths — as well as deaths from any cause, according to a study published October 28 in JAMA Network Open. The study examined 11,470 nursing homes in the U.S. […]