State Watch: Long-Term Care News from Around the Nation (10/22/12)

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 Morning Call (Pa.)—Senior Care Providers Worried about Pending Medicare Cuts

“As Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama duel over whose plan best protects Medicare, officials and employees at Pennsylvania’s hospitals, nursing homes and home health-care agencies are wondering if either candidate’s cure will harm not the patient, but the provider,” reports The Morning Call. “….with no one suggesting that beneficiaries will take the hit directly, that means the pressure will be on those who provide the services. “We’re the ones between the rock and the hard place,” said Ronald Barth, president and CEO of LeadingAge PA, a statewide trade association of nonprofit senior service agencies. “Seriously, it’s the providers and their employees that are getting squeezed.” Cutting regulations would help a little, he said, but the real need is to keep reimbursements at a viable level. “The government refuses to recognize the cost of services,” he said.” Read more


***Assisted Living Today Releases Top 20 Assisted Living Facilities in Connecticut List

From The Dispatch (Ohio)—New Initiative Brings Healthcare to Homes, Senior Living Communities

“For elderly, homebound or immobile patients, access to medical care can be challenging. A new, innovative service, founded by a Mississippi University for Women assistant professor of nursing, is bringing health care into the home. The program also sees patients who are receiving services from home health and hospice agencies, and patients residing in nursing homes, in addition to assisted living facilities,” reports The Dispatch. “Working as a complement to a patient’s primary care physician, the Golden Triangle Geriatric Collaborative, developed by MUW’s Mary Atkinson Smith, delivers in-home health care services by a staff of board-certified nurse practitioners. Patients are referred by hospitals, nursing homes, case managers, insurance companies, family members, and a variety of other sources.” Read more


From LeadingAge—OSHA Fines OH Senior Care Community for Exposure to Workplace Violence

“Pursuant to investigations undertaken as part of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Site-Specific Targeting (SST) Program and National Emphasis Program (NEP), the agency has cited an Ohio residential care facility provider for exposing employees to workplace violence in violation of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970’s “general duty clause,” reports LeadingAge. “The OSHA investigation revealed that a residential care facility in Fairfield, OH, operated by ResCare Ohio Inc. accumulated a total of 20 workplace violence cases from 2009-2012. Employees have been exposed to physical assaults during routine interaction with residents who have a history of violent behavior.” Read more

From (Fla.)—State Officials Close Fla. ALF Over Fire Concerns

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“After inspecting 39 Northeast Florida adult family care homes and assisted living facilities, the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration temporarily closed one facility and relocated its 14 residents because of concerns about fire risks, agency officials announced Friday,” reports “More than half the facilities were in non-compliance with employment requirements, physical plant standards and administration oversight standards. The facility that was temporarily closed was the Tiki Stafford adult assisted living facility at 3225 N. Myrtle Ave. It will remain closed until Jacksonville Fire and Rescue inspectors deem that it is no longer a fire risk.” Read more

From (N.J.)—Union Accused of Racketeering Claims Victimhood

“In a statement released Friday, 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East says that it is the victim. ‘Among these attacks are slashing of family health benefits, firing workers for organizing unions, and indirectly hiring individuals who threatened NYU students with violence for calling for Straus’ removal from the NYU Law School Board of Trustees,’ the statement reads. ‘The workers of Care One, and all the healthcare workers of 1199SEIU, will continue to hold Straus’ companies accountable and lawfully stand up for working families and nursing home residents.’ The union was one of two affiliates of the Service Employees International Union named in the lawsuit filed by the companies in U.S. District Court in New Jersey.” Read more