State Watch: Long-Term Care News From Around the Nation (7/23/2012)

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 the Associated Press—Kansas Nursing Homes Concerned With Election Law

“Managers of some Kansas nursing homes say they are concerned that their residents might not have the paperwork required to vote under the state’s new voter identification laws,” reports the Associated Press. “State election officials are working with the nursing homes to help residents navigate the new system but some managers say they are still waiting for support.” Read more

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From the Wall Street Journal—States’ Fiscal Health Threatened by Rising Medicaid Costs, Pensions

“Rising Medicaid costs and pension expenses for public employees threaten states’ abilities to provide basic government services as they continue struggling with unreliable tax bases in a weak economy, according to a task-force report,” reports the Wall Street Journal. “The report by the State Budget Crisis Task Force, which is co-chaired by Paul Volcker, a former Federal Reserve chairman, and Richard Ravitch, a one-time lieutenant governor of New York, says states’ growing gaps between entitlement spending and available revenue are becoming unsustainable. Such challenges are squeezing spending on education, infrastructure and other services.” Read more

From the Los Angeles Times—Older Pennsylvanians Protest State’s Strict Voter ID Law

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“In March, Pennsylvania became the ninth state to require voters to show a particular photo identification card.,” reports the Los Angeles Times. “The new law says a proper ID card must be issued by the government or a nursing home, and it must contain a name, photo and expiration date. Those who do not have such a card and have not driven before must go to a state driver’s license office and present four forms of identification, such as a birth certificate and Social Security card. [Governor Tom] Corbett said many of the state’s universities were updating their ID cards to comply with the law. Nursing homes and assisted-living centers are authorized to make photo ID cards for their residents, he said.” Read more

From WSAZ3 (Ohio)—State Unveils Nursing Home Anti-Drug Abuse Effort 

“Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine announced plans Tuesday morning to stop pharmaceutical drug thefts in adult care facilities. DeWine plans to offer investigative assistance to every nursing home, assisted living agency and residential care facility in Ohio,” reports WSAZ3. “He says the effort is in response to growing concerns over prescription drug abuse, including drug diversion (theft), by care facility employees. In many cases employees steal prescription drugs to feed their own addictions, the addictions of a loved one or to sell the medication on the streets.” Read more

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California Association of Heath Facilities—Calif. Skilled Nursing Homes Score High in Federal Quality Survey

“The federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has updated its Nursing Home Compare website to help consumers obtain additional information about quality measures in skilled nursing centers. California skilled nursing facilities were ranked best in the nation in three categories.

California providers scored top marks in preventing weight loss and depression – and nursing home residents in the state showed the least amount of decline in their activities of daily living (ADLs). The state’s providers were second best in the nation in preventing falls which resulted in serious injury. Overall, California providers performed better than the national average in a majority of quality indicators. Read more

From Wicked Local (Massachusetts)—Dementia Care Bill Makes Changes to Nursing Home Training

“State Rep. Kathi-Anne Reinstein, D-Revere, announced Gov. Deval Patrick has signed a bill she co-sponsored aimed at improving dementia care,” reports the Saugus Wicked Local. “The legislation establishes minimum care standards at dementia special care units and nursing homes and will provide dementia-specific training required for direct care workers, activity directors and supervisors in traditional nursing homes and special care units.” Read more