State Watch: Long-Term Care News from Around the Nation (9/24/12)

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 Buffalo News (New York)—Presbyterian Senior Care Sells Two Skilled Nursing Facilities

Presbyterian Senior Care of Western New York recently sold two skilled nursing facilities for $1.63 million to a downstate nursing home operator who plans to keep operating them, reports The Buffalo News.


The 95-bed Harbour Health and 122-bed Hawthorne Health MultiCare Centers for Living were sold to Benjamin Landa, the co-owner and head of SentosaCare LLC of Woodmere, the state’s biggest for-profit nursing home group.

Presbyterian had acquired both facilities in receivership in 1980 but has been losing money on them because of low Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement rates, according to the former owners. Read more

From the (Fla.)—Senior Care Homes Burned by Fire Assessment Fees


“Group homes and assisted living facilities here are being hammered by skyrocketing fire assessment fees that some owners fear will drive them out of business. Many of the owners think that’s just what the city has in mind,” reports the Sun Sentinel. “City officials say they’re only trying to recover the true cost of providing fire-rescue services to the facilities and say they have the data to back up the charges. … most assisted-living facilities, nursing homes and group homes are facing about a 58 percent increase – and it’s as high as 73 percent for some.” Read more

From the Alliance—Which States Will be Hit Hardest by $782 Million Medicare Sequester Cuts?

“Filling in details and context to what National Journal characterized as a “vague” Office of Management and Budget (OMB) report detailing how the sequestration provision of the Budget Control Act will impact federal programs, the Alliance for Quality Nursing Home Care today released new Avalere data specifically delineating the impact of a 2% across-the-board cut, by state, to seniors’ Medicare-funded skilled nursing facility (SNF) care.

The following 10 states will be more negatively impacted by the SNF cuts, going into effect on Jan. 1, 2013:

  1. California – $75.9 million
  2. Florida – $66 million
  3. Texas – $51 million
  4. New York – $47 million
  5. Illinois – $46.2 million
  6. New Jersey – $37.5 million
  7. Ohio  – $37.3 million
  8. Pennsylvania – $36.9 million
  9. Michigan – $30.2 million
  10. Massachusetts – $28.4 million

Nationally, the sequester cuts will total $782.5 million for 2013, and $9 billion in the next decade, according to Avalere findings.”

From AALTC—Most Nursing Home Residents are Women

Nearly two-thirds of the 3.3 million Americans residing in U.S. nursing homes, at 65.4%, are women, according to recent government studies.

“Women live longer than men and as a result are more likely to spend their final years of life in a skilled nursing facility,” said Jesse Slome, executive director of the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance, the industry trade group. “While long term care insurance is often associated with nursing homes, we actually call it nursing home avoidance insurance because of its ability to pay for care in the person’s home, something most people would prefer.”

From the (Fla.)—Lawsuit Claims Nursing Homes’ Medicaid Residents Charged Too Much 

“In what could become a class-action lawsuit, attorneys for a disabled Tallahassee woman allege that many nursing-home residents are required to turn over too much income when they enter Florida’s Medicaid program. The lawsuit, filed last week in Leon County circuit court, stems from a longstanding requirement that Medicaid beneficiaries help pay for a portion of nursing-home care if they have income from sources such as Social Security. They are allowed to retain some money to cover expenses like health insurance and relatively minor personal needs,” reports the “But the lawsuit contends that Florida is violating federal requirements by preventing beneficiaries from keeping income to pay nursing-home bills that were wracked up before they became eligible for Medicaid.” Read more

From the Journal Sentinel (Wisc.)—Taxpayers to Pay $650 Million More in Medicaid Costs

“Taxpayers need to chip in about $650 million more toward state health care programs for the poor and elderly during the next two-year budget cycle, Gov. Scott Walker’s administration said Tuesday,” reports the Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel. “The additional sums are needed because of rising health care costs, more people joining the programs, increased use of services by those in the programs and a lowering aid rate from the federal government. The funding request is for Medicaid programs, which are paid for jointly by state and federal taxpayers and cover nursing home stays and programs such as BadgerCare Plus for low-income people and Family Care for the elderly and disabled.” Read more

From (La.)—City Council Plans to Mandate Generators at Nursing Homes

“In reaction to the days-long blackout after Hurricane Isaac that left some of the city’s most vulnerable stuck without power in stifling heat, the New Orleans City Council has vowed to craft a law mandating that owners of nursing homes install backup generators powerful enough to sustain air conditioners and life-saving equipment,” reports “The day after Isaac struck, at least 37 Louisiana nursing homes, and their 4,110 residents, were operating on generator power, the Department Health and Hospitals told The Times-Picayune at the time. At some sites, including at least four within the city, backup generators failed, weren’t designed to power air conditioning or were ill-equipped to run for days on end.” Read more

From the (N.C.)—Assisted Living Community Ordered to Close; Residents Relocating

“Residents of Waterbrooke Assisted Living, an 80-bed facility in operation for nearly three decades, were told Thursday night that they would be relocated by Saturday,” reports the “Residents said they were not given a specific reason, but were told the facility will be closed for health and safety reasons. Some residents said the facility is in need of repair and that owners have not maintained it well.” Read more