State Watch: Long-Term Care News from Around the Nation (8/27/2012)

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 Herald Online (Pa.)—Arrested Man Pretended to be Doctor, Saw Hundreds of Senior Care Patients

Authorities say a Georgia man, arrested Friday for practicing medicine without a license, worked at five Midlands-area senior centers and rehabilitation facilities run by West Columbia-based Agape Senior. The company operates 23 assisted living, skilled nursing care, rehab and hospice facilities in the state,” reports the Herald. “Lexington County authorities are trying to determine whether Addo had some medical training that allowed him to convincingly impersonate a doctor. They have found no evidence that Addo is licensed to practice medicine anywhere in the United States, Allard said. There is also no indication that Addo is wanted for any crimes anywhere in the U.S.” Read more


From The Detroit News (Michigan)—Seniors’ Need for Mobility Vs. Public Safety

The number of elderly motorists is on the rise in Michigan, where the ranks of drivers 85 and older have grown 83 percent in just over a decade. Balancing seniors’ needs for mobility with public safety has become a national issue as baby boomers enter their golden years and medications keep them healthier longer,” reports The Detroit News. “In Michigan, the need to get around is more pressing with limited mass transit options, urban sprawl making walking to stores and appointments much more difficult and an outmigration of population that often leaves the elderly with few family members nearby to be able to take them places.” Read more

From the San Francisco Chronicle (Calif.)—SNF Patients Can Sue Over Understaffing


“A state appeals court reinstated a lawsuit against the owner of 16 nursing homes in Alameda County on Wednesday and said patients can sue long-term care facilities for failing to meet California’s nurse-staffing standards,” reports the San Francisco Chronicle. “State law authorizes residents of the facilities “to bring actions themselves to remedy violations of their rights,” including the “right to reside in an adequately staffed facility,” said Presiding Justice Ignazio Ruvolo in the 3-0 ruling.” Read more

From Kaiser Health News—Medicare Takes Center Stage in Close Pa. Races

“As a physician running for Congress in the Philadelphia suburbs, Democrat Manan Trivedi frequently talks about Medicare on the campaign trail. But last week, the dozens of seniors and baby boomers who packed an event wanted to discuss little else,” reports Kaiser Health News in collaboration with Politico. “GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney’s selection of Wisconsin Republican Paul Ryan as his running mate may have energized the Republican base, but it has also fired up the Democratic faithful who say that Ryan’s proposals to revamp Medicare would end guaranteed health benefits for seniors. In the week since Romney’s announcement, Medicare has been catapulted from an issue that political strategists said could make a difference in close races to a central component of congressional campaigns nationwide—especially in states like Pennsylvania, Florida, Minnesota and Ohio with large numbers of older voters.” Read more

From the (Florida)—Medicaid Plan Would Transform Health Care in Fla.

“Florida’s fast-growing Medicaid program—which cares for the state’s impoverished children and for most senior citizens in nursing homes—would lose roughly a third of its federal money under budget plans embraced by Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and his running mate Paul Ryan,” reports the Sun Sentinel. “The biggest impact may be on those who seek nursing-home care. About 60 percent of Florida’s nursing-home patients – 77,239 in fiscal 2010 — rely on Medicaid. The cost that year was $2.7 billion, 13 percent of the Medicaid budget, according to the state Agency for Health Care Administration. “Many would be left out in the cold,” said Brian Lee, executive director of Families for Better Care, an advocacy group in Tallahassee for nursing-home residents. “If nursing homes are not getting paid, they aren’t going to take them. So it could be a desperate time for potential residents.” A spokeswoman for the industry in Florida said nursing homes cannot expel residents and would not turn away new patients, but she warned that the block-grant proposal would force cuts in staff, transportation, maintenance and patient activities designed to create a homelike environment.” Read more

From The New York World—N.Y. Falls Short On Pledge to Move Thousands Out of Nursing Homes

“Five years after the federal government awarded New York State $82 million to help move 2,000 nursing home residents back into private residences, just 670 have made the transition — even as more than 20,000 New York nursing home residents say on surveys that they would like to leave the facilities,” reports The New York World. “New York isn’t the only state to fall short. Nationally, fewer than 20,000 people had moved by the deadline, a recently released performance report by Mathematica Policy Research revealed. But New York has fared especially badly. While the state houses the most nursing home residents in the country and accounts for 1 in 10 of those nationally who say they want to live in the community, New York  only successfully moved out 2.5 percent of participants nationally. Texas, by contrast, accounted for more than one-quarter of all transfers.” Read more