State Watch: Long-Term Care News from Around the Nation (10/1/12)

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 Tulsa World (Okla.)—Sun Healthcare Closes Tulsa Nursing Home, Will Sell Facility

“A troubled Tulsa nursing home has relocated all of its residents and closed its doors two years after launching a lengthy legal battle against state and federal regulators who cited it with numerous problems,” reports Tulsa World. “The company that owns the home has also applied to change the ownership of six other nursing homes and an assisted living center it owns in Oklahoma but said it does not plan to close those facilities. Woodland View Care and Rehabilitation Center, at 7707 S. Memorial Drive, will surrender its license to operate on Monday, according to state Health Department records. The home is licensed for 176 beds but had only 47 residents when it began transferring them to other facilities, state officials said. The closure was part of an agreement between the nursing home’s parent company, Sun Healthcare Group Inc., and federal regulators to settle a federal lawsuit filed by the company in Tulsa.” Read more

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From WNYC.org (New Jersey)—Bill Supports NORCs to Let Seniors Age in Place

“Legislation that would create a pilot program to provide support services in communities with high concentrations of senior citizens has been approved by the Senate Health and Senior Services Committee and goes to the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee for consideration,” reports WNYC.org. “The bill (S-1796), would appropriate $250,000 for a pilot program in Mercer County to service “Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities,” or NORCs, which are defined as contiguous areas in which at least 50 percent of households are headed by someone who is 60 or older. The communities usually are composed of seniors who have opted to stay in their homes and have become de facto senior communities and differ from traditional senior-designated communities because it was not built to house seniors, advocates say.” Read more

From WECT.com (N.C.)—Assisted Living Community Fighting to Stay Open

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“An assisted living facility in Columbus County is fighting to stay open as it finds itself surrounded in scrutiny. The state tried to shut down Waterbrooke in Tabor City this past weekend until a judge blocked the order,” reports the local NBC affiliate. “A Columbus County social services worker has been on site since Thursday. That’s when state officials tried to shut down Waterbrooke Assisted Living. Officials claimed residents were in imminent danger and were being neglected. Documents from the state show in February an unannounced visit led to a complaint that the facility failed to provide supervision of residents. Because it didn’t have enough evidence, the state didn’t take any action at that time.” Read more

From Galesburg.com (Ill.)—Nursing Homes Sustain Cuts, Adjusted RN Staffing Level

“The 2.7 percent Medicaid rate cuts that Illinois nursing homes received for the current fiscal year included language setting minimum staffing levels that pleased nursing-home owners and infuriated advocates for residents,” reports Galesburg.com. “The Illinois Department of Public Health earlier this year proposed rules to JCAR that would have required at least 20 percent of the “nursing and personal care” to be provided by registered nurses rather than a combination of RNs and lesser-trained licensed practical nurses. The Health Care Council said research didn’t support the 20 percent level, and the nursing-home industry suggested RNs should provide 10 percent of the nursing and personal care. …The resulting agreement, which was part of SB 2840, includes $70 million in Medicaid cuts — a 2.7 percent cut rather than the 15 percent cuts nursing homes originally feared. The agreement also included HCCI’s preference for 10 percent staffing levels.” Read more

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From WDSU News (La.)—Nursing Home Faces Closure After State Investigations

“The fate of an Uptown nursing home is uncertain as the state tries to cut off its funding, citing irregularities and concerns about residents’ welfare,” reports WDSU. “The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals is trying to shut down the John J. Hainkel, Jr. home. The move comes after numerous state probes into complaints there and a WDSU I-Team investigation last February. The state revoked the Hainkel Home’s license and notified officials that Medicaid funding will be cut off later this month.” Read more

From Healthcare Finance News—Calif. Nursing Home Penalized $1.25 Mn. for Unfair Labor Practice

“An administrative law judge ordered the buyer of Yuba Skilled Nursing Center, Nasaky/Thekkek Health Services, to pay what the National Labor Relations Board estimates to be approximately $1.25 million in back pay and interest, rehire 50 employees and recognize the union (the Service Employees International Union, United Healthcare WorkersWest) that represented the workers under the seller of the nursing home,” reports Healthcare Finance News. “The union complaint said that the owners of Yuba Skilled Nursing Center failed to recognize and bargain in good faith with the existing union as required by law, and by refusing to rehire employees of the previous owner, discriminated against union employees.” Read more

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