CMS Trumpets Telehealth Potential in Skilled Nursing and Long-Term Care

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued yet another sign of support for expanding the use of telehealth services in skilled nursing facilities, pointing to a variety of studies that show the technology can save the government money. Writing in a mandated report to Congress released earlier this month, CMS highlighted multiple areas […]

CMS to Use Provider Fines to Develop Nursing Home Safety Resources

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) on Tuesday announced an initiative to divert some of the money it collects in provider fines to fund general nursing home improvement initiatives. The three-year Civil Money Penalty Reinvestment Program (CMPRP) will use a portion of nursing home penalty cash to pay for the development of toolkits […]

New Medicare Advantage Telehealth Rules Signal Growing Skilled Nursing Opportunity

New guidelines that could open up telehealth coverage under Medicare Advantage represent a serious opportunity for the industry, according to multiple technology providers — especially as the moves signal growing support for remote care from key federal officials. Under a proposed rule released late last month, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) would […]

Five-Star Ratings Don’t Tell Consumers, Investors About Skilled Nursing Safety

Consumers and investors may rely on the five-star rating system for nursing homes to make key decisions, but a new study suggests that there isn’t much difference in resident safety between buildings along the scale. “Our results reveal that Nursing Home Compare, a policy initiative aimed at improving quality and empowering consumers to make better […]

Senators Blast Nursing Home Operators, CMS Over Emergency Prep Rules

Members of a prominent Senate committee on Friday released a scathing report on emergency preparedness in the nation’s nursing homes, accusing both operators and the federal government of failing residents during storms and other disasters. Compiled by the Democratic members of the Senate Committee on Finance, the report — titled “Sheltering in Danger” — specifically […]

CMS Highlights Key Areas of Skilled Nursing Enforcement, Improvement

Improving surveys, clarifying nursing facilities’ reporting requirements, and providing more detail on citations are some of the current top priorities for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). Karen Tritz, director of the Division of Nursing Homes in CMS’ Quality and Safety Oversight Group, walked through several policies and their status in a presentation […]

CMS Moves to Expand Telehealth Coverage Under Medicare Advantage

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services on Friday unveiled a proposal that the agency says will expand telehealth coverage to enrollees in Medicare Advantage plans. Under the proposed rule, which would take effect in calendar year 2020, Medicare Advantage plans could cover telehealth services for both rural and urban enrollees, as well as in-home […]

CMS Releases New Quality Benchmark Data for Skilled Nursing Facilities

Skilled nursing providers now have a new public set of nationwide quality benchmarks to see how their facilities stack up. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) on Wednesday publicly released its Quality Reporting Program (QRP) data for skilled nursing facilities, listing five key measures derived from both assessments and claims. Available on the […]

Top Tips for Skilled Nursing Providers to Win Under the New CMS Rules

The Patient-Driven Payment Model (PDPM) has gobbled up most of the recent headlines in the skilled nursing industry regarding new regulations, but there’s another set of rules that providers shouldn’t forget about. The industry remains in the thick of the new Requirements of Participation, which the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will finish […]

Bundled Payments Cost Medicare Nearly $300 Million

A new report on the Bundled Payments for Care Improvement (BPCI) program found that the initiative has actually resulted in Medicare losses, counter to its aims. Under BPCI, providers agree to split a set reimbursement amount for a patient’s single episode of care, with the overall goal of reducing costs across the spectrum. But in […]

ACOs Push Back on CMS Savings Estimates In New Analysis

A new analysis from a group of more than 300 accountable care organizations (ACOs) argues that the groups generated much more in savings than official estimates would suggest. The announcement from the National Association of ACOs (NAACOS) claims that ACOs generated gross savings of $1.84 billion for Medicare, almost double the $954 million estimated by […]

Bundled Payment Model Reduced Medicare Spending by Cutting Post-Acute Care

Preliminary results from the bundled payment initiative focused on joint replacements suggest that savings under the program has come largely from cutting skilled nursing and other long-term care services. The results from the early stages of the Comprehensive Care for Joint Replacement (CJR) bundled payment model came shortly after an announcement from the Centers for Medicare & […]

Federal Lawmakers Grill CMS, HHS Over Nursing Home Safety

Representatives from the federal agencies that oversee skilled nursing agencies faced pointed questions from lawmakers on Capitol Hill on Thursday morning, with many expressing frustration with recurring resident safety issues. “We do this over and over again, but yet one-third of Medicare residents have experienced harm,” Rep. Diana DeGette, a Colorado Democrat, said during a […]

Congressmen Ask CMS to Ease Red Tape for Skilled Nursing Facilities

Two leaders of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee this week asked the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to ease regulatory burdens on skilled nursing facilities. In multiple letters to CMS administrator Seema Verma, Rep. Kevin Brady and Rep. Peter Roskam called for reduced compliance burdens for post-acute care providers, hospitals, and […]

OIG to Investigate CMS Oversight of Skilled Nursing Staffing Measures

In the wake of controversy over nationwide skilled nursing staffing levels, the health care industry’s top government watchdog has stepped in to investigate. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of the Inspector General (OIG) announced that it will launch a probe into the way skilled nursing facilities maintain their staffing records — […]

OIG Wants to Revise Anti-Kickback Rules to Ease Care Coordination

As the federal government increasingly emphasizes care coordination among players across the health care continuum, the industry’s top watchdog signaled that it could soon overhaul its anti-kickback regulations to help providers avoid pitfalls. The Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the Inspector General (OIG) this week published a call to providers, asking for […]

PDPM Success Rests on Taking Credit for Existing Skilled Nursing Services

As skilled nursing operators scramble to adapt to a new Medicare reimbursement model ahead of its implementation next fall, the secret to success could lie in taking credit for the services most SNFs already provide. At Zimmet Healthcare Services Group’s annual conference in Atlantic City, N.J. last week, multiple speakers emphasized the importance of identifying […]