Our long-term care news is continually updated from dozens of sources around our industry and the web.

CMS begins publicizing disputed nursing home deficiencies

McKnights (01/26/2023) – The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services on Wednesday updated its consumer-facing nursing home website to show whether facilities were formally disputing cited deficiencies.

Just over 1,000 disputes were noted. Some of them date back several years in a system that is supposed to take 60 days to review challenges. Full story »

Costs Beyond Labor: Nursing Home Providers Push for Savings Amid Margin Crunch

Skilled Nursing News (01/24/2023) – Rising costs in all areas of running a nursing home — not just labor — are squeezing profit margins, compelling providers to adjust operations, make investments and pursue innovations in a quest for greater efficiencies.

While skilled nursing facility operators try to get a grip on labor shortages, workforce costs surged by as much as 30% in 2022, according to some providers who spoke with Skilled Nursing News. But creeping food, beverage, equipment and supply prices, as well as insurance costs, are putting a strain on their budgets. They report costs in these areas increasing between roughly 5% and 15%, and more in some cases. Full story »

Senators call on CMS to end push for mandatory staffing in nursing homes

McKnights (01/24/2023) – A bipartisan group of US senators representing rural states is calling on the Biden Administration to halt its plan to mandate staffing levels in nursing homes, saying it’s the wrong step to take as facilities are already struggling to retain and hire professional staff.

“We fear a one-size-fits-all staffing mandate would undermine access to care for patients, particularly in rural communities,” reads a Jan. 20 letter from 13 senators to Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure. “Additionally, blanket staffing standards may not provide enough flexibility to nursing homes in light of well-known and long-standing obstacles to the recruitment and retention of direct care workers, especially in rural and underserved areas.” Full story »

Hybrid COVID immunity conveyed by infection, shots lasts up to 12 months: study

McKnights (01/20/2023) – Hybrid immunity of infection and immunization provides up to 12 months of protection against hospitalization or a severe, second COVID infection, according to a new study.

The research, published Wednesday in The Lancet, reviewed 26 other studies from around the world involving patients with varying levels of immunization and illness. People who had COVID but were not fully vaccinated still had some immunity at 12 months, but infection alone gave limited protection. Full story »

Couldn’t Have Happened at a Worse Time: Nursing Homes Struggle to Increase Booster Rates as Covid Surges

Skilled Nursing News (01/06/2023) – As nursing home operators find themselves in the middle of a tripledemic – with Covid-19 cases, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and the flu on the rise during winter months – concerted efforts to get staff and residents boosted against Covid have fallen by the wayside.

And nursing home operators dealing with staffing shortages and burnout, and rising costs related to inflation, say that they need more support to convince residents and staff to get the latest boosters. Full story »

BREAKING: FDA approves new experimental drug to treat early Alzheimer’s

McKnights (01/06/2023) – The Food and Drug Administration has approved the experimental Alzheimer’s drug Leqembi (lecanemab-irmb) for clinical use in patients with early disease.

Leqembi is a monoclonal antibody that targets the brain’s amyloid plaques, which are widely thought to contribute to the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. Made by Eisai and Biogen, it is recommended for patients in the early stages of dementia and is delivered using repeat infusions. The FDA’s decision was based on the results of clinical trial data showing a reduction in brain amyloid burden for participants with mild cognitive impairment or mild dementia who took Leqembi. The data also showed patients had “moderately” less decline, by 27%, in measures of cognition and function over an 18-month period. Full story »

Free COVID tests now available to all aging services providers

McKnights (01/09/2023) – Nursing homes and other aging services providers across the US can now access free COVID-19 test kits through an expanded partnership between the Department of Health and Human Services and LeadingAge.

The nonprofit aging services organization initially launched the service Dec. 22, designing it to assist providers of affordable seniors housing amid a surge of COVID and other respiratory viruses and the holiday season. Full story »

Executive Outlook 2023: A New Playbook for Skilled Nursing

Skilled Nursing News (01/03/2023) – Over the last two years, skilled nursing providers have faced a pandemic and a labor crisis. As 2023 dawns, leaders across the industry are taking stock of their changed organizations and a reshaped business environment, and are preparing to execute strategies formulated in the COVID crucible.

As Signature HealthCARE CEO Joe Steier puts it: “Every quality health care operator needs to write a new playbook for skilled nursing.” Full story »