National Long-Term Care News Bites: CLASS Act Making Comeback?

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 access the full article. 

From The New York Times: The New Old Age blog—CLASS Act Making a Comeback?

“Now that President Obama has won a second term, the Supreme Court has ruled the Affordable Care Act constitutional and the election has made Congressional attempts to repeal it unlikely, a few advocates for the elderly are quietly talking about resurrecting the Class Act, or some variant of it,” reports The New York Times: The New Old Age blog. “There’s a window of opportunity now,” said Connie Garner, director of the advocacy group Advance Class. “The stars are lined up to have a productive conversation.”  Interestingly, the actuary who lost his job, Robert Yee, agreed that the program could be successful. He had not completed the research when the ax fell, but “from an actuarial perspective, we can make this work,” he told me at the time.” Read more


From Politico: Nursing Home Provider Tax Faces Cuts, Limits Under Medicaid Budget Discussion

“Almost all the states use provider taxes to help fund their Medicaid programs, but the Obama administration says some are essentially using them to game the system — by taxing them, giving the money back and then claiming that money as state spending that the feds have to match,” reports Politico. “That plan would have ratcheted down the amount of Medicaid provider taxes that states are allowed to collect, producing $26.3 billion in federal savings. That’s much less of a sting than the $44 billion in savings recommended by the 2010 Simpson-Bowles deficit commission, which called for the eventual elimination of provider taxes.” Read more

From (Ohio)—Illegal Drugs Discovered in Nursing Home 


“Employees said they made a drug discovery on a vending machine inside the Heartland-Fairfield Nursing Center. Fairfield County sheriff’s investigators believe it’s LSD, a hallucinogenic drug popular in the 1960’s, rarely seen circulating in Central Ohio today,” reports “Detectives said a cleaning crew discovered a sheet of the drug about the size of a business card, during a routine cleaning. They believe it had been there for two or three days. The nursing center turned it over to investigators, who are now working to determine who left it there and why.” Read more

From (Calif.)—Senior Care Facility to Close After Operating Losses

“Desert Regional Medical Center is looking to close its skilled nursing facility in the first quarter after operating at a loss for at least a year,” reports “The 34-bed unit on the fourth floor of the Palm Springs hospital currently houses 15 patients and employs 30 full-time and four part-time employees, said Rich Ramhoff, a hospital spokesman. A definitive date for closure has not yet been set.” Read more

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From the GAO—CMS Needs to Eliminate Duplication, Improve Efficiency of Medicaid Program

The Government Accountability Office recently released a study on the Medicaid Integrity Program, conducted because Medicaid has the second-highest estimated improper payments of any federal program reporting such data. The report assesses the efficiency and effectiveness of the Medicaid Integrity Group (MIG), created to oversee and support state program integrity activities. GAO found that CMS should take steps to eliminate duplication in the program to reduce inefficiency related to hiring separate review and audit contractors for MIG’s National Medicaid Audit Program, and made several recommendations to strength and improve the program. Read more

From the New York Times—Nursing Homes Told to Reinstate Workers

“A federal judge in Hartford has ordered a Connecticut nursing home chain to reinstate nearly 600 workers who have been on strike since July 3, and to rescind the pension and health care cuts it had imposed,” reports the N.Y. Times. “Judge Robert N. Chatigny of the United States District Court in Connecticut ruled on Tuesday night that the nursing homes’ owner, HealthBridge Management, had broken the law by refusing to bargain in good faith and by imposing the cuts before a true negotiating impasse had been reached. Judge Chatigny issued an injunction that ordered HealthBridge to reinstate the workers by next Monday, even if it means ousting hundreds of the replacement workers hired to run the nursing homes after the strike began.” Read more

From Columbus Business First (Ohio)—Senior Care Providers Wary of Dual Eligible Shift

“Operators of Ohio’s nursing homes and assisted-living centers have 10 months to change their financial model after the state got approval for a pilot program to improve the health and reduce the medical costs for a fragile population disabled enough and poor enough to qualify for both government insurance programs. The government hopes to save $243 million over the program’s three years,” reports Columbus Business First. “The businesses providing that care hope it’s a true reduction in duplication and unneeded services, rather than a hit to their already slim bottom lines. “In a year, all of our payments are going to shift from the government to private health plans,” said Tom Slemmer, CEO of National Church Residences, the nation’s largest nonprofit developer of affordable senior housing and a LeadingAge member.” Read more