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

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 Toledo Blade (Ohio)—Senior Housing Construction Booming in Toledo Area Despite Recession

“While the recession became a wet blanket that smothered much of the nation’s construction industry the last four years, one niche that continued to maintain a steady pace and now has begun to grow slightly is housing for seniors. “I don’t know if there’s really a trend there yet, but it’s a niche that’s been fairly consistent,” said Gary Haas, vice president of contracts and administration for Rudolph/Libbe Inc. “We see it with the baby boomers aging and retiring and people living longer that the demand is there and the money is loosening up,” he said,” reports the Toledo Blade. “The development slowed in the recession, but it’s back, and it’s going to be incredible what happens in the next 10 years,” said Pete Douglas [president of the Douglas Co., a Toledo-based general construction contractor with a senior-housing focus]. Read more

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From the North Country Public Radio (New York)—Hospital Closure Eliminates 60 Nursing Home Beds

“Adirondack Health director Chandler Ralph — head of the hospital that includes medical facilities located primarily Lake Placid, Tupper Lake, and Saranac Lake — unveiled a plan today that will swiftly change the medical and senior care climate in the North Country,” reports the North Country Public Radio. “The non-profit will mothball the Lake Placid Hospital, which was built in the 1950s, transferring operations there to an expanded campus on the 13-acre property nearby that now includes the Uihlein nursing home. As part of the cost-cutting plan, Ralph says Adirondack Health will also eliminate roughly half of their nursing home beds over the next 12-24 months.” Read more

From Sunshine State News (Florida)—Assisted Living Facilities Rulemaking Smackdown: Industry vs. Advocates

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“The rulemaking process is intended to draft what Department of Elder Affairs in a statement called “mutually acceptable proposed rules addressing the safety and quality of services and care” – changes that involve things like data collection and emergency management, but don’t require changes in the law. The 15-member panel includes seven state officials, representatives of four providers or provider associations, and four consumer advocates, one of whom works for the state. They signed a pledge to negotiate in good faith,” reports Sunshine State News. “But Brian Lee, the former state ombudsman whom Corley fired soon after Scott took office, scoffed at the rulemaking as a way to sweep industry abuses under the rug.” Read more

From The New York World—Residents in NYC Nursing Homes Suffer Above Average Rates of Bedsores

“Six years after the state Department of Health declared “War on the Sore,” residents in New York City nursing homes experience painful and preventable bedsores at a rate almost 50 percent higher than the national average. In New York City, 16 percent of high-risk residents have one or more of the painful wounds, compared with 11 percent nationwide,” reports The New York World. “Statewide, victory remains just as elusive. In 2011, according to an AARP analysis of the data reported to the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, New York ranked 44th among states in preventing the development of sores among high-risk residents.” Read more

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From ArkansasMatters.com—New Nursing Home Alternative Puts Arkansas Elders in Family Homes

“A new nursing home alternative is being offered in Arkansas. The Department of Human Services (DHS) Division of Aging and Adult Services (DAAS) runs the Adult Family Home (AFH) program, which is a new concept in Arkansas that has been used in many other states for several years,” reports ArkansasMatters.com. “The goal of the program is to help people stay out of nursing homes by offering a family-style living environment in single family homes that have been certified by DAAS to help care for the elderly.” Read more

From the TimesUnion.com (New York)—Albany County Socked by $4.8 Million Public Nursing Home-Related Bill

“Albany County owes the federal government $4.8 million it doesn’t have in its budget,” reports the TimesUnion. “The county’s bill—the second-largest in the state—stems largely from a dispute between the state Department of Health and the federal agency that oversees the arcane process through which counties are reimbursed for caring for low-income New Yorkers in their public nursing homes. And while all parties seem to agree the cash-strapped counties are not at fault, they are still on the hook for at least $46.5 million statewide at a time when their budgets are already strained under the new property tax cap.” Read more

From the Providence Journal (Rhode Island)—R.I. House Budget Hikes Funding for Elderly in Assisted Living Facilities

“One year after slashing their funding, House lawmakers approved providing an additional $206 a month to elderly and disabled residents residing in assisted-living facilities who receive the state supplemental security income payment,” reports the Providence Journal. “Last year, lawmakers approved slashing the SSI payment from $538 to $332 a month, effective October 2011. Article 18, restoration of the funding, takes effect July 1.” Read more