ICD-10 Coding Will Be Crucial Under PDPM — But SNFs Don’t Need to Become Experts

The Medicare payment model taking effect on October 1 this year represents a sea change for skilled nursing providers in that patient condition, rather than therapy minutes, will drive reimbursement. It also represents a sea change in the mechanics of reimbursement. Under the Patient-Driven Payment Model, ICD-10 codes will form the basis of reimbursements, making […]

Report Revives Potential for Massive Medicaid Cuts Through Block Grants

A plan to fundamentally change the way the federal government funds Medicaid — which could lead to hundreds of billions in cuts — may be back on the table after seemingly dying two years ago. The Trump administration is currently mulling ways to convert Medicaid to a block-grant system, Politico reported late last week, reviving […]

CMS Implements Stricter Nursing Home Staffing Survey Rules for States

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced Friday that it will use payroll-based journal (PBJ) data to bolster state oversight of nursing homes, effective immediately. Specifically, CMS will use PBJ data to identify and provide state survey agencies with a list of nursing homes that have several days in a quarter without a registered […]

Lessons from Medicare Cuts to Skilled Nursing Go Beyond Winners, Losers

At face value, the statistics look grim: Nearly three-quarters of the nation’s skilled nursing facilities will see pay cuts in 2019 under the government’s value-based purchasing (VBP) program after failing to reach mandated readmission benchmarks. But the numbers themselves don’t tell the full story, according to players in the long-term health care space. Based on […]

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 […]

Providers Must Target Rehab Contracts, Cash Flows Now Ahead of PDPM

As skilled nursing providers start preparing for the new Medicare payment model, they need to zero in on how much money they’re making now on the various services they provide. Specifically, they need to brush up on their ICD-10 codes, which will play a key part in the setting of their reimbursement rate, as well […]

NY Times: Lower Census Causing Hundreds of Nursing Homes to Close Each Year

The New York Times covered the issues stemming from declining nursing home occupancy on Friday, detailing how shrinking numbers of residents has led to empty beds and hundreds of closures. Nicholas Castle, a researcher at the University of Pittsburgh, told the Times that 200 to 300 nursing homes close in the United States each year. […]

Skilled Nursing Must Look Past Schools, Government to Solve Workforce Shortage

Staffing shortages in skilled nursing facilities made national headlines last month, but the dearth of workers and registered nurses have been a headache for nursing homes for years now. Some of the fixes can range from bonuses for hard-to-staff shifts to higher-level partnerships with local businesses and governments. But one thing is clear: The problem […]

Uncertainty Surrounds New ‘Arbitrary’ Skilled Nursing Payment Rules

Early reactions to the finalized skilled nursing payment rules from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) are in, with one leading provider group issuing a stark warning about the days ahead. “While the skilled nursing profession welcomes a new payment model, we are concerned with the language in this rule about the Patient-Driven […]

RNs Top List of Most In-Demand Jobs Across All Sectors in 2018

A shortage of qualified workers continues to plague the skilled nursing sector, and recent data from job board Monster backs it up. According to a new report from the Weston, Mass.-based online classifieds company, job openings for registered nurses were the most popular type of position posted during the first half of 2018. The health care […]

Nursing Homes Should Focus on Dining To Boost Resident Experience

A skilled nursing facility can bolster resident quality of life by focusing on its dining, a study from the LeadingAge LTSS Center @UMass Boston suggests. That’s according to Natasha Bryant, senior research associate at the LTSS Center, who worked on a study that examined the impact of a person-centered care approach and household model on resident life […]

Providers Strike Back at Lawmakers’ Call for Tighter Regulations

The skilled nursing industry pushed back strongly against the idea that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has reduced federal oversight of nursing homes, as argued recently by 17 state attorneys general. “There was no rollback of anything,” Dr. David Gifford, senior vice president of quality and regulatory affairs at the American Health […]

Nobody Applies to More than Half of Long-Term Care Jobs in Wisconsin

Long-term care operators around the country have dealt with a lack of qualified workers for some time now, and leaders in one Midwestern state say it’s escalated to a full-blown crisis. Nearly 20% of caregiver positions in Wisconsin are currently unfilled, as compared to about 14.5% just two years ago, according to a report released […]

Providers Push Back Against MedPAC’s ‘Blunt’ Proposed Cuts

The most recent report from the Medicare Payment Advisory commission (MedPAC) claims that skilled nursing reimbursements are too high, but one leading trade group says MedPAC’s own numbers paint a much bleaker picture. Data in the report showed that the total margins for freestanding skilled nursing facilities were 0.7% in 2016, down from 1.6% in 2015. […]

Provider Organizations Express Concerns With Bundled Payments Program

Not allowing post-acute care (PAC) providers to take the lead in the Bundled Payments for Care Improvement Advanced (BPCI Advanced) program will hamstring the government’s ability to improve savings and care, several associations argued in a letter to the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI). LeadingAge and other prominent long-term care associations raised concerns about […]

Industry Responds to Democrats’ Call for Skilled Nursing Scrutiny

In a Valentine’s Day letter to top health officials, a group of influential Senate Democrats asked the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to reconsider certain rollbacks of nursing home regulations. In response, a leading industry group on Wednesday wrote back to the senators to clarify and rebut some of their points. “We think […]

HHS Proposes New Payment System for Skilled Nursing Providers

The new proposed Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) budget was released on Monday, and it’s a mixed bag for skilled nursing providers. President Trump’s spending blueprint would make changes to Medicaid by creating a “market-based health-care grant” that could fund programs in addition to the traditional Medicaid program — a change that would […]