AHCA’s Parkinson: Long-Term Care Sector Needs to Face Infection Control Problems

The COVID-19 pandemic blindsided the skilled nursing sector when it hit in late winter and early spring this year, but the field has to be willing to acknowledge pre-existing problems with infection control and make changes accordingly. That’s according to Mark Parkinson, the leader of the nursing home trade group the American Health Care Association […]

Markups, Supply Concerns Loom Over Federal Nursing Home Testing Push: ‘We Don’t Have Anything Like a Free Market’

The federal government on Tuesday announced a plan to send a new set of point-of-care COVID-19 testing devices, from the medical device manufacturer Abbott, to nursing homes starting next week. And while the new round of devices is welcome for skilled nursing providers, many of the questions around paying for supplies and using the devices […]

Shut Out of Nursing Facilities, a Post-Acute Mental Health Practice Pivots to Virtual on the Fly

When skilled nursing facilities went into lockdown in March to try to keep COVID-19 out of their buildings, group activities and all nonessential visitors and personnel were banned. How nursing homes interpreted the definition of “essential” personnel could vary, but Executive Mental Health, a psychology practice based in Los Angeles that provides services to acute […]

Giroir: With PCR Tests Out of Reach For Most Nursing Homes, Antigen Testing ‘Is Clearly a Life-Saving Option’

The nation’s top COVID-19 testing official gave more insight into the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) efforts to expedite and expand the use of rapid point-of-care antigen testing in skilled nursing facilities across the U.S. during a media briefing held Tuesday. HHS announced on Monday that it was expanding coverage for licensed health […]

HHS Expands Coverage of Point-of-Care Tests for Nursing Home COVID-19 Screening, Superseding State Bans

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced Monday that it is extending coverage for prescribing or administering point-of-care COVID-19 tests to screen for the illness in congregate settings such as skilled nursing facilities. The move overrules state directives that restrict or ban outright the use of such tests. The extension of coverage under […]

Feds to Require Nursing Home Staff Testing as Often as Twice Weekly, But Antigen Follow-Ups Not Always Needed

Nursing homes will be required to test staffers for COVID-19 as often as twice weekly depending on the prevalence of the virus in the surrounding community, and a top federal official emphasized that repeat testing for negative antigen results may not be necessarily required in all cases. The White House late Tuesday initially revealed the […]

One Nursing Home’s Fines Can Become Another Facility’s Technology — But With Strings Attached

With COVID-19 forcing skilled nursing facilities to drastically restrict visitation, technology and virtual communication have emerged as critical tools to maintain social ties between residents and their loved ones. And there are federal funds — collected from facilities deemed to have run afoul of various rules — available to help SNFs bolster their technological offerings. […]

CMS Widens Criteria for Nursing Homes to Receive Testing Devices, But Concerns Over Accuracy Grow

The federal government late last week released an updated blueprint for distributing the second wave of nearly 12,000 point-of-care COVID-19 testing units destined for nursing homes, with a significantly wider definition of hotspots than the initial round. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has designated about 11,800 facilities as targets for the second […]

Point-of-Care Shipments on Track as One Device Maker Pulls Ahead — But SNFs Will Still Be ‘Tight on Tests’

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) reaffirmed Wednesday that the federal government is on track to ship point-of-care COVID-19 testing devices to all skilled nursing facilities with the proper waivers by the end of September — as one of two dedicated device manufacturers has emerged to shoulder more of the load. “We are […]

Why Even a COVID-19 Vaccine May Not Be a Silver Bullet for Nursing Home Residents, Staff

The prospect of a COVID-19 vaccine sits at the center for the public’s hope of any return to pre-pandemic normalcy: With no effective treatments and outbreaks rising alongside relaxed lockdown rules, it’s difficult to imagine any real change without a proven vaccine. But in a twist of dark irony, the population most susceptible to COVID-19 […]

CMS Proposes Permanent Extension of Some Telehealth, Therapy Waivers After COVID-19 Emergency

The federal government on Monday introduced a proposed rule that would, if finalized, make permanent at least some of the emergency telehealth flexibilities implemented during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, while potentially allowing a greater frequency of remote nursing home interventions. President Trump on Monday signed an executive order requiring the Department of Health and Human […]

How Empowering Nursing Home Staff to Take Risks Can Improve Care: ‘We Need to Pay for What We Value’

Through their work with consulting firm Copernicus Inc., CEO Claudia Blumenstock and consultant Ellen Bartoldus have heard countless firsthand stories of the strains that COVID-19 has put on nursing home staff across the country. And as former nursing home administrators themselves, the pair has a clear vision for how to fix the endemic problems that […]

Eli Lilly Launches COVID-19 Clinical Trial in Nursing Homes with Symphony as Partner

Pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly and Company (NYSE: LLY) will soon begin a phase-three clinical trial of a potential coronavirus treatment in the long-term care setting, with nursing home operator Symphony Care Network as a partner. Up to 2,400 residents and staff of nursing homes and assisted living properties will participate in the on-site study, the […]

HHS Boosts Initial Nursing Home Testing Shipment by 400, Promises ‘Affirmative Action’ on Kits

The federal government is shipping 398 point-of-care COVID-19 testing devices to 384 skilled nursing facilities this week, along with 199,000 tests, with a continued focus on states with significant outbreaks, according to an update from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The shipments come on top of 654 testing instruments sent to 635 […]

CMS Releases List of First Nursing Homes to Receive Devices Under COVID-19 Testing Initiative

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) on July 22 released the list of the first skilled nursing facilities to receive point-of-care COVID-19 testing devices under an initiative announced last week. The nursing homes identified by CMS will be receiving Quidel Sofia and Sofia 2 Instruments and BD Veritor Plus Systems, along with the […]

CMS: 26% of Nursing Home Medical Visits Conducted Via Telehealth Since March

Telehealth services accounted for a little more than a quarter of all medical visits to nursing homes covered by fee-for-service Medicare between March and June, according to the federal government’s top Medicare official. The figure, noted in an essay by Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) administrator Seema Verma, marks the first nursing home-specific […]

Antigen Testing for Nursing Homes ‘Great for Screening’ But Can’t Be Only Tool for Potential Outbreaks

Skilled nursing operators and infectious disease experts have expressed optimism about the government’s push to send point-of-care testing tools and test kits to facilities across the U.S. But they also emphasize that it’s one only tool among many that SNFs need to be deploying as they try to keep COVID-19 out of their facilities. The […]

Operators Greet Nursing Home COVID Testing Initiative with Cautious Optimism, Pointed Questions

One day after the federal government announced an ambitious plan to send point-of-care testing units for COVID-19 to all of the nation’s more than 15,000 nursing homes, leaders in the space expressed cautious optimism — while often emphasizing that they have more questions than firm answers. Starting next week, the Department of Health and Human […]