State Watch: Long-Term Care News from Around the Nation

As assisted living regulations evolve, Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements fluctuate, and healthcare reform begins to take effect, many states are facing their own challenges as they continue to develop, operate, and implement new rules and programs. Here is a collection of long-term care related news bites from across the nation.

From MLive.com (Michigan)—Local Senior Community Launches CCRC-Without-Walls Program

“Aging baby boomers who might consider a retirement community but don’t want to move out of their homes are the target for a new program offered by Porter Hills. For an upfront membership fee and monthly payments, the program provides all the services needed for home care, ranging from help with everyday tasks to skilled nursing care,” reports MLive.com. “Only 12 similar programs existed in the country before Porter Hills launched Avenues on July 1, Yachcik said. The programs are known in the industry as continuing-care retirement communities “without walls,” according to a Wall Street Journal article. Depending on the services included, they can be an alternative to long-term care insurance.” Read more

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New Jersey Department of Health Releases Q1 Nursing Home Staffing Level Report

Each quarter, New Jersey’s health department updates its nursing home staffing level report, which shows staff-to-resident ratios for Registered Nurses, Licensed Practical Nurses, and Certified Nursing Assistants. View the latest report with Q1 2012 data.

Assisted Living Today Lists Pennsylvania’s Top 20 ALFs

“Renowned for its historical sites, large cities and Amish farming regions, Pennsylvania is the perfect place to get a taste of what America is all about. The state is also home to a range of top-notch assisted living facilities which now  fall under the umbrella of “personal care” homes,” writes Assisted Living Today. “To help shine a spotlight on the best senior housing options that Pennsylvania has to offer and make finding the perfect assisted living facility easier, we’ve compiled a list of elegant assisted living communities in PA that are worthy of the being recognized as the state’s Top 20 Assisted Living  Facilities.” View the list.

From SEIU Healthcare 775NW (Washington)—Seattle First City to Support Caregiver Campaign

“The Caring Across Generations Resolution was passed, making Seattle the first city in the country to pass local legislation around the issue of protecting critical services for our most vulnerable: people with disabilities and older Americans,” reports SEIU Healthcare. “In Washington State, the amount of people needing homecare will increase in future years, with the number of seniors doubling to 1.5 million in the next 15 years. In response to the increasing need for homecare in Washington State and throughout the country, Seattle City Council members Nick Licata and Mike O’Brien are supporting the Caring Across Generations Resolution that addresses the lack of affordable quality care options for the elderly and people with disability, and the need to life caregivers out of poverty.” Read more

From the CT Mirror (Connecticut)—Nursing Home Workers Strike Affecting Residents’ Care

“On July 3, more than 160 employees went on strike to protest the imposition of a new compensation package that cuts caregivers’ wages and other job benefits. Nurses, aides and support staff from four other HealthBridge nursing homes in Milford, Newington, Stamford and Westport are also on strike,” reports the CT Mirror. “As union workers picketing in shifts from early morning to late at night, HealthBridge has hired replacement workers to ensure the centers continue providing what the company terms the highest quality care. But this is far from an accurate portrayal, residents’ family members say. Deborah Chernoff, spokesperson for New England Health Care Employees Union, District 1199 said residents and family members complain of having to deal with the replacement workers whom they consider ‘strangers.'” Read more

From the Department of Justice—DOJ Settles Senior Housing Discrimination Lawsuit in California

The Justice Department today announced an agreement with a California municipality and a homeowners’ association to resolve allegations of discrimination on the basis of familial status in violation of the Fair Housing Act. The settlement, in the form of a consent order, must be approved by the United States District Court for the Northern District of California,” says the U.S. Justice Department. “The department’s lawsuit, which was filed on November 21, 2011, alleged that the city of Santa Rosa, Calif ., and La Esplanada Unit 1 Owners’ Association, a homeowners’ association, unlawfully sought to restrict residency at a housing development to seniors aged 55 and older. While the law allows an exemption for senior housing, the suit alleged that neither the city nor the homeowners’ association took the steps, such as routine age-verification, necessary to qualify for an exemption to the Fair Housing Act .” Read more