National Long-Term Care News Bites: Hurricane Boosts East Coast Assisted Living Census

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 Fox News—Hurricane Boosts Assisted Living Census Increase in Northeast

“Although New York and New Jersey health care officials say it’s too soon to confirm a spike, some senior care operators say they’ve seen a surge in older people relocating to assisted-living or retirement communities after Sandy. Prolonged power outages, wrecked homes and flooded streets have helped convince even the most stubborn seniors that they may not be capable of living independently,” reports Fox News. “Anne Pinter, senior vice president of the national assisted-living company Atria, said her company’s Northeast facilities saw an 18 percent increase in occupancy during October and November, compared with a year ago. Patty Tucker, a spokeswoman for the Health Care Association of New Jersey — a trade group representing assisted living facilities and nursing homes — said there has been an increase in temporary admissions to assisted living facilities. But she said it may be too soon to know if those seeking shelter while their homes are repaired will remain permanently. Pinter said her company typically sees about a 30 percent retention rate in those who initially move in temporarily and then opt for permanent residence.” Read more


From U-T San Diego (Calif.)—Former Nursing Director Gets Prison for Nursing Home Death

“A former California nursing director was sentenced Wednesday to three years in state prison for inappropriately medicating elderly patients at a Kern County nursing home, including one who died, Attorney General Kamala D. Harris said,” reports the U-T San Diego. “California Department of Justice officials allege that Gwen D. Hughes, 59, ordered the hospital’s director of pharmacy to write doctor’s orders for psychotropic medication for 23 patients – not for therapeutic reasons, but to keep them quiet. The investigation found that the drugs hastened three patients’ deaths, and all 23 suffered adverse physical reactions.” Read more

From (Tex.)—Future Hazy for Senior Apt. Complex After Sale


An uncertain future looms for residents of The Overlook senior housing complex, now that the federal government has sold the note to the property in an auction. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development sold the HUD-backed loan last week but will not announce the buyer or sale price until later this month, Overlook developer Brenner Campbell said,” reports WacoTrib. “He said the purchaser likely will acquire the upscale 162-unit property through foreclosure. The current owner, Bear Senior Living LP, defaulted last year after missing the occupancy levels needed to pay the debt service. What is unclear is whether The Overlook will continue to be run as a property for ages 55 and older, and whether the current senior-aged tenants will be allowed to stay, Campbell said.” Read more

From (Fla.)—2,000 Fla. Employees Join Supermarket/Nursing Home Union

“Approximately 2,000 supermarket and nursing home workers, including members in the Florida Panhandle region from UFCW (United Food and Commercial Workers Union) Local 1657, have become members of the RWDSU Mid-South Council,” reports ClickOrlando. “A news release issued Tuesday by UFCW Local 1657, announced the merger “into the RWDSU,” saying the merger was completed earlier this month.” Read more

From the Pittsburgh Business Times (Pa.)—State Eyes Changes in Long-Term Care

“Caring for seniors in their homes costs one-third to one-half as much as a nursing home, even though far more of Pennsylvania’s elderly and disabled live in nursing homes, experts say. Nursing home care in Pennsylvania costs an average $77,646 a year, according to a 2012 study by the University of Pittsburgh and Jewish Healthcare Foundation, and the state spends 22 percent more on nursing care and 8 percent less on home- and community-based care than the national average,” reports the Pittsburgh Business Times. “The cost differential along with the desire by seniors to stay in their homes as long as possible has prompted the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare to consider new ways of paying for long-term care for the elderly and disabled.” Read more

From ProPublica—Feds Release Unredacted Nursing Home Inspection Reports

“In response to a Freedom of Information Act request by ProPublica, the government has released unredacted write-ups of problems found during nursing home inspections around the country. We’re making them available today for anyone who wants to download the complete versions,” says ProPublica. Access the reports here

CMS Announces 106 New ACOs: “Doctors and health care providers have formed 106 new Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) in Medicare, ensuring as many as 4 million Medicare beneficiaries now have access to high-quality, coordinated care across the United States, Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced [on Thursday]. The new ACOs include a diverse cross-section of physician practices across the country. Roughly half of all ACOs are physician-led organizations that serve fewer than 10,000 beneficiaries.  Approximately 20 percent of ACOs include community health centers, rural health centers and critical access hospitals that serve low-income and rural communities.” VIew the 106 newly-formed ACOs

From the Department of Health and Human Services—Medicare Spending Growth Slows

“Medicare spending per beneficiary grew just 0.4% per capita in fiscal year 2012, continuing a pattern of very low growth in 2010 and 2011,” says HHS. “Together with historically low projections of per capita growth from both the Congressional Budget Office and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Office of the Actuary, these statistics show that the Affordable Care Act has helped to set Medicare on a more sustainable path to keep its commitment to seniors and persons with disabilities today and well into the future.” Access the report

From the Pharos-Tribune (Ind.)—Tasing at Nursing Home Spurs Alzheimer’s Training Proposal for Police

“State Rep. Bill Friend, R-Macy, has introduced legislation requiring law enforcement officers to attend training on how to interact with people with Alzheimer’s disease. Friend said he crafted the bill in response to a Peru police officer, who last year Tasered a 64-year-old nursing home resident with advance-stage Alzheimer’s,” reports the Pharos-Tribune. “House Bill 1044 would require six hours of training on Alzheimer’s disease and related senile dementia. Officers currently undergo training on autism, mental illness, addictive disorders, mental retardation and developmental disabilities.” Read more