State Watch: Long-Term Care News from Around the Nation (4/16/2012)

As assisted living regulations evolve and tighten, 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 stories from across the nation.

From The Columbus Dispatch—Ohio’s Plan to Care for Dual Eligibles Gains AARP’s Support

“Two stakeholders applauding the state’s new proposal to better coordinate care for some of Ohio’s sickest patients were skeptics not so long ago,” reports The Columbus Dispatch. “When the administration of Gov. John Kasich made public in January its intention to change how health care is delivered to people eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid, the Ohio Association of Area Agencies on Aging went public with its concerns. At one point, it enlisted the help of Ohio’s Democratic congressional delegation to petition Kasich to make sure the area agencies remained a part of long-term-care management for Medicaid patients.” Read more

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From the Marion Star: Ohio Nursing Home Funds Will Be Tied to Standards

“Effective July 1, Ohio nursing homes must meet any five out of 20 standards or risk losing nearly 10 percent—$16 per patient per day—of their full Medicaid payments for services they provide. Those that fall short will be docked based on how many standards were not met,” reports the Marion Star. “While the state expects all nursing homes to meet the new requirements this year, it hopes to raise the bar on the standards in coming years. Future funding for nursing homes could be tied to whether they reduce the number of times their residents go to the hospital, for instance, or increase the number of bathrooms that are wheelchair accessible.” Read more

From AARP—Michigan Relies Too Much on Nursing Homes for Poor Seniors

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“Mounting evidence indicates Michigan can improve long term care, place older residents in a setting they overwhelmingly favor and save the state millions of dollars by providing more home and community based services as an alternative to nursing home care,” a recent AARP report reveals. “Rebalancing the state’s system of long-term supports and services saves taxpayers $57,338 per participant and enables Medicaid dollars to support nearly three older citizens for every one person in a nursing home, a national analysis indicates.” Read more

From the Daily Record—Washington Nursing Home Banned from Accepting Medicare/Medicaid Residents

“The inability of Kittitas Valley Health and Rehabilitation Center to accept Medicaid and Medicare patients will put a crimp on nursing bed spaces in the community,” reports the Daily Record. “The state halted Kittitas Valley Health and Rehabilitation Center’s ability to accept new Medicaid and Medicare residents this week due to numerous deficiencies in patient care. A stop placement order went into effect Wednesday. Residents in the facility prior to Wednesday will receive Medicaid and Medicare funding for 30 days, the state order said.” Read more

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From the Clarion Ledger—Mississippi Medicaid Program Transitions People Out of Nursing Homes

“Bridge to Independence—or B2I—is [Mississippi’s] name for its Money Follows the Person initiative, a federal grant to help states decrease their reliance on institutions that provide long-term care. Three Mississippians have left institutions so far since February; a total of 74 have been referred,” reports the Clarion Ledger. “With a $42.4 million grant from the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid through 2016, B2I officials hope to move a total of 595 people out of institutions by that year, including some with mental disabilities.” Read More

From nursing home trade group: Fla. Nursing Homes Suffer the Worst from Tax Law’s Medicare Cuts

“Florida’s skilled nursing facilities (SNFs), more commonly referred to as nursing homes, suffered a $60.5 million Medicare cut resulting from so-called “bad debt” provisions included in the recently-passed Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012, according to a new study from Avalere Health,” according to the Alliance for Quality Nursing Home Care. “$60.5 million represents the highest SNF Medicare cut of all states nationally – and is double the size of Ohio’s SNF Medicare cuts, which ranked second nationally at $30.5 million.” Read more