State Watch: Long-Term Care News from Around the Nation (10/15/12)

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 Times Union (N.Y.)—Private Company Plans to Buy, Turnaround N.Y. County Nursing Home 

“The company that hopes to run Albany County Nursing Home says it will continue the tradition of serving the county’s poor and hard-to-place residents,” reports the Times Union. “When unveiling the proposed county budget for 2013 on Wednesday, County Executive Daniel McCoy announced a plan to turn over the nursing home to Upstate Services, an alternative the county pursued when it became clear the state would not approve a plan to build a new facility. Upstate Services has been on a buying spree of struggling nursing homes and is gaining a reputation for turning them around. The company bought eight facilities in 2011 and 2012, and served as receiver for at least three of them. Receivership is granted when an independent third party takes control of a property that has severe financial or quality problems.” Read more


From the Arizona Jewish Post—Jewish Communities Grapple with Boomer Retirement Boom

“Mirroring the general population, similar expansions are taking place at Jewish retirement homes and centers around the country. Service providers also worry about meeting the needs of elderly people who chose to stay at home, many of them in what’s known as NORCs: naturally occurring retirement communities,” reports the Arizona Jewish Post. “In 2001, the national federation umbrella organization—now known as the Jewish Federations of North America—created a NORC Aging in Place Initiative to seek more federal assistance for NORC supportive services efforts, which often are supported with federal and state funds. At the Las Vegas Senior Lifeline, a nondenominational program run by the Jewish Federation of Las Vegas, federation spending on the program’s kosher meals, transportation to doctors and grocery stores, and light housekeeping has risen to $500,000 — substantial increase in the past four years, according to Elliot Karp, president and CEO of the Las Vegas federation. The program also gets government dollars.” Read more… 

From the Ventura County Star (Calif.)—Senior Healthcare Centers Worried About Future


“Leaders of adult day health care centers at financial risk say it’s too early to know whether a Medi-Cal transition that started last week will serve as a safety net. On Oct. 1, a long Medi-Cal transition reached culmination,” reports the Ventura County Star. “Instead of being paid by a state-run agency to provide Medi-Cal care to 784 seniors and disabled people in and around Ventura County, the centers now will be paid by a managed care agency that administers the Medi-Cal insurance program locally, the Gold Coast Health Plan. Leaders of other centers say they were hit hard by payment delays in the state-administered program. They worry some clients may lose their appeals to stay in the program. They cite a 10 percent reimbursement cut that began in December and affected centers not shielded by an exemption. Gold Coast officials say they want to make payments to the centers every other week and use electronic fund transfers to save time.” Read more

From SEIU Healthcare Illinois—2,000+ Workers to Picket 50 Ill. Nursing Homes

“More than 2,000 nursing home workers throughout Illinois will picket at 50 nursing homes in simultaneous actions to demonstrate a need for nursing home owners to invest more resources in resident care,” says SEIU Healthcare Illinois and Indiana. “Persistent quality care concerns—short staffing, supply shortages, worker turnover—have dogged numerous homes in the Illinois Association of Health Care Facilities (IAHCF), particularly since the State of Illinois implemented historic 2010 staffing legislation. Workers, members of SEIU Healthcare Illinois, contend that owners of IAHCF homes should invest some of the cumulative $50.5 million in profits made last year to raise standards at their homes, reduce staff turnover by raising wages and provide adequate staffing levels as stipulated in the new legislation.”

From—Virginia Group Warns of ‘Vote Harvesting’ at Nursing Homes

“A Virginia election-watch organization has sent letters to some 2,000 nursing homes warning that aggressive voter-registration groups may be “harvesting votes” of vulnerable seniors. “Facilities such as yours are often targeted under the guise of ‘helping’ senior citizens, while really having the intention of stealing the vote,” wrote VVA president Reagan George,” reports “The Virginia Health Care Association could not name any incidents at its 300 member facilities. But Steve Morrisette, president of the VHCA, said, “It’s not necessary for outside groups to be involved” in helping nursing-home patients register or vote. Still, in the run-up to a hotly contested fall election, partisan and nonpartisan groups are clamoring for votes wherever they can find them.” Read more… 

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