‘CMS is Watching’: Changing Therapy Patterns Raise Concerns About Skilled Nursing Audits, Care Quality

The first week of the new Medicare payment model for nursing homes has brought stories of rapidly shifting therapy patterns among some providers, and voices from the consulting and advocacy worlds are warning that any sudden movements could cause adverse effects — both immediately and down the road. The advent of the Patient-Driven Payment Model […]

OIG Calls on New York to Crack Down on Nursing Home Safety

The federal government’s top health care watchdog has called on state officials in New York to beef up enforcement of nursing home safety rules after uncovering multiple violations in a recent audit. The Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Office of the Inspector General (OIG) this month released a report accusing the Empire State […]

OIG Calls on CMS to Crack Down on Abuse in Nursing Homes, Other Settings

The federal government’s top health care watchdog on Wednesday released a new report accusing the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) of not doing enough to monitor and punish elder abuse in nursing homes and other settings. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) determined that CMS could perform detailed analyses of diagnosis […]

OIG Takes Back $48M in Fraudulent Medicaid Payments as Nursing Homes Lead List of Open Cases

Despite the second straight year of declines in overall recoveries, the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) top watchdog arm took back nearly $50 million in Medicaid reimbursements from nursing homes in fiscal 2018. The HHS Office of the Inspector General (OIG) this week reported a haul of $48.7 million from nursing providers accused […]

Crackdown on Improper Medicare SNF Payments May Cost More Than It Saves

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) made a splash last month when it claimed that skilled nursing facilities received $84 million in Medicare payments for treatments that didn’t qualify — but now a group of doctors claims that the proposed cures might be worse than the disease. Writing in a blog post for […]

Ensign Group Completes Five-Year OIG Oversight Agreement

Leading skilled nursing provider The Ensign Group (Nasdaq: ENSG) on Thursday announced that it has successfully completed a five-year Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) oversight period. The Mission Viejo, Calif.-based company initially entered into a corporate integrity agreement (CIA) with the HHS Office of the Inspector General (OIG) back in October 2013; at […]

Vanguard Healthcare Settles Medicare, Medicaid Fraud Claims for $18 Million

A Tennessee-based skilled nursing provider this week agreed to pay the federal government $18 million in order to resolve claims of Medicare and Medicaid fraud. Vanguard Healthcare, LLC of Brentwood, Tenn. — along with several of its affiliated firms — reached the deal with the Department of Justice, which accused the provider of providing “grossly […]

OIG: 46% of Medicare Patients in LTACs Experience Harm

Almost half of Medicare patients experience either adverse events or temporary harm events inside the walls of a long-term care hospital (LTCH) according to a November report from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The Office of Inspector General (OIG) found that 21% of Medicare patients in LTCHs — also known as long-term […]

OIG Touts Nearly $3B in Medicare, Medicaid Fraud Recoveries in Fiscal 2018

The Department of Health and Human Services’ top fraud watchdog recovered nearly $3 billion from providers in fiscal 2018, a figure that included more than $18 million in improper payments at nursing homes. The HHS Office of the Inspector General (OIG) touted its $2.91 billion haul in its most recent semiannual report to Congress, released […]

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 […]

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 […]

OIG Targets Hospice Services in Skilled Nursing Facilities, Recommends Cuts

When the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) top watchdog arm issued an overall warning about the state of hospice care earlier this summer, skilled nursing facilities were specifically singled out as areas for improvement. The HHS Office of the Inspector General (OIG) accused hospices of using residents in nursing homes to artificially inflate […]

OIG: More Than 60% of Therapy Claims Don’t Meet Medicare Requirements

More than 60% of outpatient therapy claims filed over a six-month period didn’t meet Medicare’s requirements — a figure that has a key government watchdog agency concerned. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of the Inspector General (OIG) looked at a representative sample of 300 Medicare therapy claims filed in the final […]

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 […]

Care Coordination in ACOs Might Not Actually Drive Savings

Accountable care organizations (ACOs) are built on a basic premise: By working together, providers across the health care continuum can save Medicare money and boost quality. But the largest share of the savings may simply come from shifting patients out of skilled nursing and home health settings, a new study suggests — and not on […]

CMS Delays Enforcement of Smoking Rules, Other Phase 2 Requirements

Skilled nursing operators can breathe a little easier as the second phase of the new Requirements for Participation takes effect this week: The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has delayed penalties for several of the new requirements. For the next 18 months, CMS won’t take enforcement action — in the form of civil […]

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 […]

Kansas Failed to Follow Up on Half of Skilled Nursing Deficiencies

Officials in the state of Kansas frequently took skilled nursing facilities at their word when following up on plans to fix certain deficiencies — a violation of federal requirements for SNFs that participate in Medicare and Medicaid. The Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services only verified SNFs’ strategies to correct deficiencies 52% of the […]