National Long-Term Care News Bites: 20% of Fla. Nursing Homes on State Watch List

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 Families for Better Care (Fla.)—20% of Fla. Nursing Homes on State Watch List

“State records show that 20 percent of Florida’s nursing homes fail to abide by minimum care standards or fail to properly correct identified problems after an inspection,” reports long-term care watchdog organization Families for Better Care. “More than two-dozen cities are home to multiple watch list facilities; those with the highest concentration include Jacksonville (10), Miami (6), Saint Petersburg (6), and Winter Haven (5). Over the last 30 months, some nursing homes have been on the list for months—even years.” Read more


From the Journal Sentinel (Wisc.)—Staffing Levels Linked to Norovirus Death Rates in Nurse Homes

“Norovirus in long-term care facilities is common. It’s highly contagious. It’s life-threatening for the frail and elderly. And fastidious infection control and disinfection are critical to controlling its spread,” reports the Journal-Sentinel. “Nursing homes with lower ratios of registered nurse staffing had a significantly higher rate of death during norovirus outbreaks in a recent study reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association. No increased risk was observed in nursing homes with higher daily RN hours per resident.” Read more

From The Columbus Dispatch (Ohio)—Nursing Home to Close Over Zoning Issues


“Northview Senior Living Center, Johnstown’s only nursing home, will begin sending out legal notices of the closure next week. Officials did not provide an exact closing date. The center employs 65 and houses 46 residents, the latter of which it will assist in relocating. Employees have been offered severance pay or employment elsewhere, said officials at Zanesville-based Zandex Health Care Corp., which operates Northview,” reports The Columbus Dispatch. “The closure cuts short what might have been a lengthy court battle between Zandex and the village’s zoning board. Zandex officials said they couldn’t afford the fight for Northview, which long had been unprofitable.” Read more

From The State Journal-Register (Ill.)—Long-Term Care Facilities Feel State Budget Pinch

“Organizations that provide long-term care for the elderly in Illinois operate in a kind of business limbo, unsure of when they’ll receive from the state the Medicaid reimbursements they rely on to keep their doors open. Right now, the payment backlog is about six months, forcing organizations to find creative ways to manage without half of the annual revenue that finances care for two-thirds of patients in nursing homes and about 60 percent of those in assisted-living centers,” reports The State Journal-Register. “Illinois deliberately delays paying its bills in an effort to manage its broken finances. The practice shifts the burden onto all sorts of state contractors, including long-term care facilities, which must borrow money and, in some cases, leave jobs vacant as they wait on the state.” Read more… 

From the Post-Gazette (Pa.)—Western Pa. Nursing Homes Getting Poor CMS Ratings

“Western Pennsylvania stands out for all the wrong reasons in a new analysis of information about problems at nursing homes. More reports of those problems, or deficiencies as they’re called, were issued in Pittsburgh than any other city in the state, including the much larger Philadelphia,” reports the Post-Gazette. “Inspectors for the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services gave 446 deficiencies to 35 Pittsburgh nursing homes in three years, the data showed. Pittsburgh’s rate of nearly 13 deficiencies per nursing home outpaced the national average of six to seven per inspection, according to CMS. (The deficiencies are graded A through L, with the worst problems receiving the L grade.) Six nursing homes in three counties of Western Pennsylvania — Westmoreland, Allegheny and Lawrence — accounted for the majority of the state’s worst scores from CMS.” Read more

From Multi-Housing News—Affordable Senior Residence’s Six-Month Lease-Up Evidence of Demand

“The Nevada Rural Housing Authority’s (NRHA) Larios Arms Senior Residence in Winnemucca, Nev., is 100 percent occupied within six months of opening. The 30-unit affordable housing community for senior citizens project is located in eastern Nevada. Leasing began May 21, 2012. The last unit was leased November 21, 2012,” reports Multi-Housing News. “The Nevada Rural Housing Authority partnered with Praxis Consulting Group to provide project development consulting and assist in assembling construction financing by utilizing 9 percent Low Income Housing Tax Credits, State of Nevada HOME funds, an AHP grant from the Federal Home Loan Bank, conventional construction and permanent debt. The development not only addresses a significant need for affordable senior housing in rural Winnemucca, but also provides convenience by placing the development near senior-oriented services.” Read more

From The Leader (N.Y.)—Group Protests Privatization of County Nursing Home

A group of nurses and residents at the Chemung County Skilled Nursing Facility is launching a campaign to protest the idea of privatizing the county-owned facility. Chemung County officials have been considering turning the nursing home, which loses about $500,000 annually, over to a private operator. They’ve spoken to management and staff at the nursing home about the possibility, and mulled hiring a consultant to do a study,” reports The Leader. “But no official steps have been taken, and no final decisions made, Chemung County Executive Tom Santulli said. It’s more expensive for counties to run nursing homes than for private companies, Santulli said. The big reason is the staff at county nursing homes are government employees who receive excellent benefit packages, which are costly to provide. Also, private facilities get higher levels of funding and Medicaid reimbursement, he added.” Read more