Medicare SNF Spending Jumps 4.4% Despite Lowest Number of Beneficiaries in a Decade

Skilled nursing was one of three health care sectors to experience an increase in Medicare spending, while spending overall for 32 million Medicare beneficiaries declined in 2020. An analysis conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation confirmed SNF spending experienced a 4.4% bump, or $1.1 billion increase between 2019 and 2020, despite a decrease in utilization; […]

Nursing Home Advocacy Group Pushes Back on ‘Unattainable’ Staffing and Spending Law

As the nursing home workforce emergency worsens across the country, aging services organizations are pushing back on “illegal and unconstitutional” staffing laws. LeadingAge New York, for example, on Monday filed a lawsuit seeking to overturn two state mandates: one requiring a minimum staffing ratio and another which dictates where nursing homes may direct their funds. […]

Slow Gains in Staff Vaccine Uptake May Point to Why Test-Out Option was Omitted From Mandate

Though many nursing home providers and industry advocates pushed for test-out options when the COVID-19 vaccination mandate for health care workers was first announced, data from Mississippi shows a minimal increase when such an exemption was instituted. Staff vaccination rates increased from 43% before the state enacted a test-out mandate to 51.3% over three months […]

Completely Out of Touch: Biden’s Minimum Staffing Proposal Comes as Skilled Nursing Reels From Labor Crisis

As state and federal policymakers clamor to set nursing home minimum staffing standards – most recently in the Biden administration’s expansive reform proposals – leaders in the space are asking a pointed question: Why now? The industry has already lost nearly 238,000 caregivers in the last two years – an issue that has only been […]

White House Throws Its Weight Behind SNF Value-Based Purchasing Expansion, with Staffing Measures Targeted

The value-based purchasing program (VBP) available to skilled nursing facilities, while garnering the attention of the Biden administration in its sweeping reform initiatives, was already under the microscope with federal agencies. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) already has been authorized to apply nine measures to the program in adherence with the Consolidated […]

No Viable Path for Many SNFs to Improve, Avoid Penalties in Value-Based Purchasing

The value-based purchasing program (VBP) may not be offering sufficient incentives for nursing homes to improve, particularly for low-performing facilities in areas with underserved populations. Only 0.7% of poor-performing skilled nursing facilities were able to improve enough to avoid a financial penalty under VBP, a JAMA study found – the program didn’t “offer a viable […]

States Across Country Log Record COVID-19 Cases in LTC, With Deadliest Months Potentially Yet to Come

Several states reported the highest average weekly number of new COVID-19 cases in long-term care facilities in November or December, Kaiser Family Foundation reported, and several reported the highest average weekly number of new COVID-19 deaths in such facilities in December. The KFF issue brief, published January 14 by Priya Chidambaram and Rachel Garfield, used […]

COVID-19 Outbreaks in Long-Term Care Continue, But Mitigation Efforts May Be Working

Outbreaks of COVID-19 have continued in long-term care facilities across the U.S., with an attendant rise in cumulative cases and deaths. But an issue brief on the case data from the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) published last week also suggests that mitigation efforts might be having a positive impact on the outbreaks’ severity. Predictably, total […]

‘Patchwork’ Government COVID Response Put Long-Term Care Residents at Risk

While the federal government has provided sweeping guidelines for nursing homes in the fight against COVID-19, the state-level response has been wildly inconsistent, according to a new analysis from the Kaiser Family Foundation — a disconnect that may have increased the risks for vulnerable residents in certain areas. “This state-by-state approach to the COVID-19 pandemic […]

Managed Medicaid Could Compound SNF Headaches in Kansas as Aetna Pledges Improvements

After health care providers reported a range of issues with reimbursement, one of Kansas’s three managed Medicaid insurance companies promised improvement at a recent state government hearing. “Clearly, the feedback we’ve received and some of the issues that have been brought to our attention and some of the issues we’ve seen internally have been extremely […]

I-SNP Developer AllyAlign Closes $10M Round Led by McKesson Ventures

AllyAlign Health on Tuesday announced the closure of a $10 million strategic funding round led by McKesson Ventures as the developer and administrator of Medicare Advantage eyes growth. The Richmond, Va.-based firm partners with long-term care providers to launch and maintain Medicare Advantage special needs plans, helping them future provider-sponsored managed care plans. SNFs have […]

Editor’s Take: Skilled Nursing Industry Can Ignore Medicare Advantage at its Own Risk

Every industry gathering has a theme, whether it’s an intentional move by the organizers or not. But the most illustrative conference experiences come when attendees and those in charge both can’t stop talking about the same subject — as was the case this past week at the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care’s […]

Spending on Medicare Advantage Plans Nearly Doubled Over Last Decade

Between 2007 and 2017, payments to Medicare Advantage (MA) plans for services covered under Part A and Part B almost doubled, jumping from $78 billion to $210 billion, according to a new report from the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF). Put another way, as a proportion of overall spending on Medicare, MA plans have grown from 18% […]

Assuming Risk Key to Medicare Savings Under New Payment Models

Accountable care organizations (ACOs) only generate savings for the government if they accept risk, according to an analysis from the Kaiser Family Foundation. ACOs generated net savings of $47 million in 2016, the Menlo Park, Calif.-based non-profit found in an independent analysis of publicly available ACO data and previously unpublished numbers from the Centers for […]

Top 10 States for Aging, Mapped

High-quality nursing homes and a healthy senior population have made Colorado, Maine and Hawaii the best states in the U.S. for growing old, according to new rankings from U.S. News & World Report. To come up with its rankings, U.S. News examined the 50 states across 12 metrics using data from sources such as the Kaiser […]

Quality, Scope of Medicare Advantage Plans Varies Widely

As Medicare Advantage becomes increasingly common in the skilled nursing space, consumers may still have trouble determining whether a plan works best for them — or even provides quality coverage with access to a wide variety of physicians and SNF care. And even if a potential MA enrollee finds a plan that appears to cover […]

Concentration of For-Profit, Chain SNFs Grew Over Last Six Years

For-profit skilled nursing operators captured a gradually larger share of the United States SNF market from 2009 and 2015, while non-profits increasingly ceded ground to governments. In 2015, for-profits accounted for 68.4% of the nation’s 15,583 certified nursing facilities, according to a Tuesday report from the Kaiser Family Foundation. That’s compared to a 23.8% share […]