National Long-Term Care News Bites: East Coast Nursing Homes Prepare for Hurricane

Here’s a collection of news bites pertaining to the senior housing and long-term care industries, gathered from around the nation. Click the links to read the full article.

From Newsday (N.Y.)—States of Emergency Declared in N.Y., N.J., Conn. as Hurricane Approaches

“In the Rockaways in Queens—considered a flood-prone zone—more than 60 patients on ventilators in nursing homes must be evacuated by 5 p.m. Sunday. Staffing levels at nursing homes across New York in Sandy’s path must be at 150 percent by the same deadline, said Dr. Nirav Shah, state health commissioner. “This is important because we don’t know what’s going to happen in terms of transportation,” Dr. Shah said. “We want to make sure should a prolonged power outage occur, there will be adequate staff to care for patients in these settings.” Fuel, food and medication levels must also be checked and stocked, Dr. Shah said, reports Newsday.” Read more


From NPR—States Iron Out the Kinks in Long-Term Care Insurance

Long-term care insurance provides money for care when you’re too old or sick to wash yourself and cook, though few American use it. Many who do have found that some insurance companies are slow to pay up or deny payments completely. Oregon is one of several states that’s adopting new regulations to improve the industry,” reports NPR. “It used to be that the only way to appeal a long-term care decision in Oregon was in court, an arduous process for a person who may be elderly, sick or in a nursing home. Oregonians now have the right to get an undisputed claim paid within 30 days, thanks to new legislation. They also have a right to an appeals process, says Cheryl Martinis with the state’s consumer services department.” Read (or listen to) more

From the Sidney Herald (Mont.)—N.D. Assisted Living Facility Closing Its Doors


“A Williston, N.D., basic care and assisted living facility will close its doors at the end of this year after 24 years of operation, officials announced to residents and staff last week,” reports the Sidney Herald. “The Kensington, located on West 24th Street, had stopped accepting new residents several months ago and currently has 28 at the facility, according to director Tim Olson and a press release from facility owner Agemark. The apartments on the top two floors of the building are now being rented to other individuals and families, and Olson said the pressures of trying to maintain a staff for the facility were eventually too much for the facility to remain open.” Read more

From the (Conn.)—Background Check for Nursing Home Workers a Year Away

“It could be almost a year until the state launches a new system of criminal background checks on applicants to nursing homes,” reports the “In 2011, the state Legislature approved the background check program, which would include running fingerprints of prospective workers through State Police and Federal Bureau of Investigation databases. The program still is not online, and the state’s federal grant funding for the project was extended until next September. But Matthew Antonetti, principal attorney for the state Department of Public Health, said he’s “hopeful” the project will be complete before then.” Read more

From LifeHealthPro—Texas Nursing Homes Demand More State Funding

Texas lawmakers should increase Medicaid nursing home spending 16.84 percent, to about $6.4 billion, for the two-year period set to start in 2014,” reports LifeHealthPro. “The Texas Health Care Association (THCA) is making that case in a comment on a 2014-2015 budget proposal released by the state Health and Human Services Commission. The commission is asking for $5.5 billion in Medicaid long-term care (LTC) benefits for the poor. The total two-year budget request is for about $49 billion.” Read more

From the Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal—Largest Assisted Living Operators in the Twin Cities

  1. Presbyterian Homes, with 1,759 units in 26 metro locations
  2. Augustana Care, with 1,222 units in 12 metro locations
  3. Ecumen, with 993 units in 13 metro locations
  4. Ebenezer Society, with 952 units in 12 metro locations
  5. Walker Methodist, with 686 units in 6 metro locations

From The Journal News (N.Y.)—Nursing Home Residents Being Pressured to Vote?

State law says election workers have to go to nursing homes in person, distribute absentee ballots to the residents and then collect them. The law is intended to prevent manipulation of the votes of elderly residents. It was changed in 1988 after incidents of health aides casting ballots for their patients in a school district election on Long Island, said John Conklin, a spokesman for the state Board of Elections,” reports The Journal News. “When workers from the Westchester County Board of Elections went to the Somers Manor Nursing Home on Monday to bring the residents their absentee ballots, Theresa Vitale wasn’t yet ready to vote. Nevertheless, the workers told her she had to fill out her ballot and give it to them. Her only other choice was to get herself to the polls. Mailing it in herself was not an option. …Vitale’s experience raises the question of whether the need to prevent fraud is clashing with nursing home residents’ right to vote for the candidates they want.” Read more