CMS Penalties Fund Program Designed to Reduce Readmissions, Improve Skilled Nursing Outcomes

Thirty nursing homes in the state of Washington will benefit from a federal program that injects penalty recoveries back into initiatives that boost nursing home quality — and the ramifications of the funding could go well beyond the facilities in that one state. The grant, totaling more than $644,000, comes from the Centers for Medicare […]

Nearly Half of Post-Acute Staffers Have Minimal Health IT Knowledge — or None at All

Post-acute providers continue to struggle with information technology and data-sharing — particularly around care coordination and value-based payment models — a new survey from Black Book Market Research reveals. In fact, 49% of providers who were surveyed reported that their staffers had very low levels of health IT levels of understanding — or they had […]

New Federal Nursing Home Safety Bill Would Increase Staffing Minimums, Levy $10K/Day Fines

A new piece of legislation before Congress seeks to protect individuals in nursing homes by implementing more stringent staffing protocols — including increased clinical hours and training — among other safety measures for residents. Co-sponsored by Rep. Jan Schakowsky of Illinois and Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut — both Democrats — the Quality Care for […]

SNFs Appear to Have Gamed the System When Staffing Was Self-Reported

The federal government has spent the last few years focusing on staffing as a key area of improvement for nursing homes, requiring operators to provide payroll-based evidence of their labor hours and tightening the requirements for achieving the top scores — all based on the assumption that there’s a direct line between staffing and quality. […]

Foundations Health Sees Direct Connection Between Skilled Nursing Growth, Employee Retention

Staffing struggles are nothing new for skilled nursing operators, but one provider in Ohio specifically credits investments in staffing and culture for its recent growth. Foundations Health Solutions, a skilled nursing and physical therapy company that operates 57 properties across Ohio, has boosted margins and expanded its footprint by streamlining the relationships between corporate, clinical, […]

‘CMS is Watching’: Changing Therapy Patterns Raise Concerns About Skilled Nursing Audits, Care Quality

The first week of the new Medicare payment model for nursing homes has brought stories of rapidly shifting therapy patterns among some providers, and voices from the consulting and advocacy worlds are warning that any sudden movements could cause adverse effects — both immediately and down the road. The advent of the Patient-Driven Payment Model […]

Bill to Ease Skilled Nursing Staffing Woes Receives Another Chance in Congress

A bipartisan pair of lawmakers on Wednesday introduced a bill that its supporters say would ease persistent staffing strains on the nation’s nursing home operators. The Nursing Home Workforce Quality Act would remove a mandatory two-year ban on certified nursing assistant (CNA) training that the federal government currently levies on skilled nursing facilities that have […]

Pennsylvania Official Pushes for Better SNF Vetting, Warns of Workforce Crisis

The state of Pennsylvania should adopt stronger policies for vetting nursing home operators in the wake of the Skyline Healthcare collapse, a report issued Tuesday from Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale recommended. “Nearly 90,000 Pennsylvanians live in more than 700 nursing homes throughout the state, and they represent just a fraction of our aging population,” […]

How Skilled Nursing Facilities Can Win Under the New Five-Star System

The federal government hit skilled nursing facilities with a flurry of changes to its quality rating system earlier this year, but by diving into their own data, SNFs can pinpoint how to do better — while making the best use of their limited resources. Some key steps include scrutinizing a facility’s Certification and Survey Provider […]

Even as Demand Rises, Nursing Homes Face Major Behavioral Health Hurdles

Adding behavioral health services has frequently been floated as a way that nursing homes can diversify their offerings and attract new residents — particularly as demand for the treatment of depression and other mental health issues continues to grow among older Americans. But a significant swath of operators report persistent challenges in caring for residents […]

Immigration Crackdown Could Hurt Skilled Nursing Operators Beyond Staffing

The current presidential administration’s hard-line stance on immigration has caused serious concerns among health care employers, as any efforts that could shrink the available pool of workers will only exacerbate persistent workforce pressures. But in addition to representing a sizable chunk of the average nursing home’s staff, immigrant workers also contribute more to the trust […]

Nursing Home Strike Threat Drives Momentum for Medicaid Rate Boosts

The looming specter of a strike at nursing homes in Connecticut has prompted leaders in the state to support increases to daily Medicaid rates for institutional care. Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont this week expressed support for three Medicaid rate boosts through 2021, a move that the CT Mirror — which first reported the news — […]

Focus on Behavioral Residents Lands SNFs $10.5M to Expand Services

As the prevalence of behavioral health issues grows among the nursing home-aged population, one group of skilled nursing facilities received a major grant to help improve mental health care among its residents. CareChoice Cooperative, which is based in St. Paul, Minnesota, earlier this year received $10.5 million to bring the Resident Centered Behavioral Health (RCBH) […]

Doctors, Software, Training: Preparing for ‘Non-Negotiable’ PDPM Coding Pressures

Starting October 1, skilled nursing facility operators will have no choice but to become proficient with a specific type of medical coding that previously had no bearing on reimbursements — and leading industry voices say there are multiple paths to getting there. ICD-10 codes, specific diagnosis identifications long used by hospitals, will play a key […]

CMS: Hundreds More Buildings Could Receive One-Star Staffing Ratings Under New Rules

The new, stricter skilled nursing staffing standards slated for implementation by the federal government next month weren’t entirely unexpected, but they raise questions about the broader problem of understaffed facilities — and hundreds of buildings could be in the crosshairs. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced March 5 that it would overhaul […]

Greystone Taps Senior Living Vet Handelson to Run Chain of 28 SNFs

Skilled nursing operator Greystone Healthcare Management announced the appointment of Stephanie Handelson, a longtime leader in the senior living industry, as CEO. Handelson formally assumed the top spot at the chain of 28 skilled nursing facilities on Monday, succeeding interim CEO Gerry Jenich. The Tampa, Fla.-based firm operates as the Greystone Health Network, with home […]

Medicaid Pressures, Worker Shortages Lead to SNF Closure Wave in Wisconsin

Nursing homes in Wisconsin are blaming the state’s low Medicaid reimbursements for a wave of nursing home closures and persistent financial struggles, Wisconsin Public Radio reported earlier this month. Nursing home advocates are asking lawmakers in the state to invest $83.5 million in the next two-year budget as a result, the media organization reported. The […]

Investing in Specialized Care Will Drive Skilled Nursing Occupancy in 2019

Adding specialized services could be a daunting task for skilled nursing providers coming off of a year of occupancy rate freefall, at least for most of 2018. But as they prepare for the new Medicare reimbursement system, the role of specialization in driving occupancy will only grow. That’s according to a webinar hosted Wednesday by […]