National Long-Term Care News Bites: Are ACOs Doomed for Failure?

Here’s a collection of news bites pertaining to the senior housing and long-term care industries, gathered from around the nation. Many of the articles are state-specific, but could eventually have national implications or influence senior care trends. Click the links to read the full article. 

From Kaiser Health News—Are ACOs Doomed to Fail?

Accountable care organizations are widely touted as one of the most effective cost-containing measures of the 2010 federal health law. Yet they have a great deal in common with the integrated delivery networks of the 1990s, leaving some wondering whether the bold experiment might come to the same disappointing end,” reports Kaiser Health News. “I don’t think these things are going to work,” says Lawton R. Burns, who wrote a Health Affairs commentary on the topic along with his colleague Mark V. Pauly of the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School. “ACOs in the end are going to end up costing more money and not necessarily deliver on the quality either.” Read more

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From the New York Times—Nursing Home Faulted for Care Quality During Superstorm

“Amid the worst hurricane to hit New York City in nearly 80 years, the home, the Promenade Rehabilitation and Health Care Center, failed to provide the most basic care to its patients, according to interviews with five employees, federal, city and hospital officials, and shelter directors. Although nursing home officials say they cannot be blamed for what happened, the State Health Department has opened an investigation into Promenade’s actions,” reports The New York Times. “Cold, thirst, fear: The situation grew so dire that the next evening, as the vestiges of the storm blew across the peninsula, ambulances arrived, evacuated the nearly 200 patients over several hours and deposited them in emergency shelters in the city. In most cases, no Promenade staff member accompanied the patients, and many patients traveled without their medical records. Both are violations of state regulations. Interviews with employees indicate that Promenade failed to carry out basic responsibilities, including adding staff for the storm as required by the state, stocking enough medicine and flashlights, and preparing patients’ records in case of evacuation.” Read more

From TribLive—Western Pa. Senior Care Providers Shift Focus of Service

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“The largest nonprofit provider of senior-living services in Western Pennsylvania plans to focus more on short-term nursing care and services in home- and community-based settings, and less on long-term, institutionalized care for residents after experiencing several years of deficits among some of its entities, an official said. “I think it’s really looking at how we can maximize the quality of quality of life and provide quality care in the most cost-effective manner,” said Paul Winkler, president and chief executive officer of Presbyterian SeniorCare in Oakmont,” reports TribLive. “Presbyterian is one of many providers of senior services statewide that are being challenged by more low-income seniors qualifying for government-funded Medicaid coverage, which is insufficient to cover the cost for nursing care, and an increase in the need for free personal care, experts said.” Read more

Assisted Living Today’s List of Top 20 College Courses for Geriatrics & Senior Care

“Demand for senior care professionals is already strong, and as baby boomers grow older, the need for qualified caregivers, policy makers, researchers and providers of elder care services will only grow. Opportunities for new and returning students to study gerontology are abounding,” says Assisted Living Today. View the list.

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From the AFL-CIO Blog: Fair Labor Wage Case Goes to Supreme Court 

“The AFL-CIO has filed a friend of the court brief in a case before the U.S. Supreme Court in which an employer is attempting to avoid paying its workers back wages. The case centers on a Pennsylvania nurse, Laura Symczyk, Genesis Healthcare Corp. and methods employers are using to get around paying wages due under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA),” writes the AFL-CIO blog. “In December 2009, Symczyk filed suit in federal court alleging Genesis had failed to pay her and other employees for time actually worked during what were supposed to be scheduled meal breaks, payment that is required by the FLSA. She filed suit on behalf of herself and “similarly situated” workers. But unlike class-action suits for other employment claims in which workers who are part of the “class” are automatically included unless they opt out, FLSA suits require workers to opt in if they wish to be part of the action. Employers, says AFL-CIO Associate General Counsel Matt Ginsburg, are using the opt-in requirement to seek to limit their liability.” Read more

From the Columbia Daily Tribune (Mo.)—MU Gets $14.8 Million HHS Grant for Nursing Home Care

“The University of Missouri Sinclair School of Nursing announced this morning that it had received a nearly $15 million grant for a nursing home project,” reports the Columbia Daily Tribune. “The project will aim to reduce avoidable hospitalizations for nursing home residents, improve patient care and lower health care costs. The grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services will help provide funding to put advanced practice registered nurses in 16 nursing facilities in the St. Louis area and will be distributed over four years.” Read more

From Vindy.com (Ohio)—Medicaid Cuts Force Nursing Home to Displace 14 Residents

“Fourteen residents will have to find a new place to live by next Friday because Valley Renaissance Healthcare Center, a nursing facility on South Avenue, is planning to end its respiratory-care program,” reports Vindy.com. “The move is part of a growing trend in which nursing homes eliminate services for high-risk patients who require high-cost treatment, especially in light of cuts in Medicaid and Medicare reimbursements. Over the past year, Medicaid reimbursements for Ohio’s 958 nursing homes have been cut by 5.8 percent, which is expected to save taxpayers $360 million over two years… [C]uts at Valley Renaissance resulted in a 6.66 percent decrease in per diem Medicaid funding. So, while the facility received $160 per patient per day in 2011, it gets only $152 per patient per day in 2012.” Read more