New CMS Rule Requires Hospitals to Provide Skilled Nursing Quality Data at Discharge

The federal government issued a final rule on Thursday requiring hospitals to give patients access to more information about the post-acute provider choices available — including data on how their post-acute options perform on quality measures such as pressure ulcers, falls, and readmissions. This new rule will not have any impact on anti-steering regulations that […]

CMS Finalizes New Skilled Nursing Payment Rules, Predicts $820M Funding Boost

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) on Tuesday finalized its skilled nursing payment updates for fiscal 2019, formally enshrining the Patient-Driven Payment Model (PDPM) and other changes in a final rule. Under the finalized proposal, the PDPM — which will see therapy payments based increasingly on the complexity of patients’ clinical needs, and […]

CMS Hits 1,400 Nursing Homes with One-Star Reviews Over Staffing Concerns

Less than a month after a New York Times story revealed concerns about insufficient nursing home staffing levels, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) handed out nearly 1,400 one-star reviews. Last week, when CMS updated its Five-Star Quality Rating System for nursing homes, 1,387 facilities received one-star ratings for staffing coverage, according to […]

CMS Wants to Probe Opioid Use at Skilled Nursing Facilities

Amid ongoing concerns about overuse of opioids, the federal government wants to survey nursing home operators about drug safety. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) proposed a survey of  1,200 nursing home administrators or directors of nursing, community-based pharmacists, and physicians to evaluate its medication safety and adverse drug event prevention programs — with […]

MedPAC Again Calls for Skilled Nursing Payment Cuts in Mixed PDPM Review

The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) issued a mostly positive assessment of the new proposed payment rules for skilled nursing facilities, but the organization wants change to come faster than planned. Citing the similarity between the new Patient-Driven Payment Model (PDPM) and the now-shelved Resident Classification System, Version I (RCS-I), MedPAC asserted that the planned […]

Must-Reads: Report Blisters Consulate; Iowa Attempts to Claw Back $25M

Local concerns feature prominently in this week’s roundup of must-read news, where we highlight great skilled nursing stories you might have missed in the past week. Consulate investigation USA Today Network — Florida published an investigation into Consulate Health Care as part of its “Neglected” series, which examines nursing home issues in the state of Florida. The […]

Bacteria Has Nursing Home Facing Down a $278M Fix

A recurring Legionnaires’ disease outbreak at an Illinois nursing home for veterans has caused deaths, lawsuits, and political trouble for Gov. Bruce Rauner. And now a preliminary report shows that fixing the problem at the Illinois Veterans Home at Quincy could stick the state with a hefty bill. Task forces convened by the Rauner administration […]

Democrats Ask CMS to Halt Skilled Nursing Regulatory Rollback

A group of 12 Democratic U.S. senators slammed the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services in a letter sent last week, claiming that its leadership’s decision to ease regulatory restrictions on nursing homes has put seniors in danger. “We write with deep concern over a string of actions by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid […]

House Bill Seeks to Abolish SNF Three-Day Rule

A bill reintroduced in the House of Representatives Wednesday aims to strip away a long-standing Medicare provision that places restrictions on beneficiaries who seek rehabilitation services in skilled nursing facilities (SNFs). Known as the Creating Access to Rehabilitation for Every Senior Act (H.R. 4701)—or the CARES Act of 2017—the bill would eliminate Medicare’s three-day prior […]

Skilled Nursing Must-Reads: Omega’s Strategy Shift, Recruiting DONs

We’re knee-deep in earnings season here at Skilled Nursing News, and at least one major real estate investment trust (REIT) used the reporting period to signal a sea change in its strategy going forward. In case you didn’t catch them the first time around, here are the headlines you need to get up to speed […]

The Steps SNFs Can Take to Reduce Inappropriate Medication Use

Skilled nursing facilities looking to lower the use of potentially inappropriate medications (PIMs) could see success through implementing Multidisciplinary Multistep Medication Review (3MR) intervention, a study published Oct. 10 in the Annals of Internal Medicine suggests. Hans Wouters of the University Medical Center Groningen in the Netherlands, along with his colleagues, recruited 426 nursing home residents […]

Skilled Nursing Facilities Cut Hospitalizations in CMS Initiative

A multi-year initiative from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to lower hospitalizations in long-term care has its first set of finalized results, with data showing that the plan is working so far. CMS on Friday announced that all seven participating sites saw declines in hospitalizations. Six of the seven had statistically significant drops in […]

Amid Fires, California SNFs Face Tough Evacuation Decisions

With wildfires threatening multiple communities in Northern California, skilled nursing and other senior living operators are facing a dilemma all too familiar to those who work in the Gulf Coast states: to evacuate or not to evacuate? For some, the choice was clear: In Santa Rosa, Calif., officials at four Oakmont Senior Living communities evacuated 350 residents […]

Nursing Home Complaints Up 33%, Some States Slow to Respond

Nursing home complaints handled by state authorities rose by one third between 2011 and 2015 — even as occupancy at skilled nursing facilities declined slightly. In addition, a handful of states accounted for the majority of late investigations, according to a new data brief from the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Office of the […]

Skilled Nursing Providers Have Mixed Feelings on Bundled Payments

Less than two-thirds of acute and long-term care providers have found that bundled payments both lower costs and improve care, according to a new survey, though the company behind the numbers says it’s a little more complicated than that. Archway Health, a Watertown, Mass.-based firm that advises health providers on bundled payment models, asked 70 […]

How to Bolster a Skilled Nursing Disaster Plan Today

With Hurricane Maria bearing down on Puerto Rico and Hurricane Jose perhaps set for a glancing blow of New England, skilled nursing operators in various parts of the country are facing more potential tests of their emergency plans. Plus, with new Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) rules about disaster prep set to take […]

Skilled Nursing Occupancy Drops to Five-Year Low

Skilled nursing occupancy rates have dropped to their lowest levels in the last five years, and the bottom still may not be in sight. SNFs were 81.7% occupied in the second quarter of 2017, according to the most recent data from the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care (NIC). That’s a drop from 82.7% in […]

Preferred SNF Networks Reduce Readmissions, But Do They Prevent Choice?

Hospitals that develop preferred provider networks of skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) are seeing lower readmission rates over time than those that don’t. However, establishing these networks does not come without roadblocks. In a recent study published by Health Affairs, a peer-reviewed health care journal, four hospitals with preferred SNF networks were monitored from 2009 to […]