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LTC Consulting Lens: Good News vs. Bad Weather

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Here we go 2018. If you’re like the most of us here, you probably were covered in snow for the first part of this month and finally just creeping out of it. Or you’re one of those people that completely avoided it – you were in beautiful weather – and you were the ones sending screenshots to your friends of the beautiful forecast you had for the rest of the week, getting us all jealous. Thank you, that was really great. No, it brightened our day, thanks!

Either way, whoever you are, it’s the beginning of the year it’s January. It’s like that fresh snow is out there, nobody stepped on it yet, we like to just keep it positive, keep that holiday cheer going a little bit longer. So for this video I’m going to give everyone some good, positive stories coming out of our industry. So hopefully it’ll brighten up your day a bit.

No. 1 – we have out of Connecticut. There was a pending budget cut for the Medicare Savings Program. Medicare Savings Program was in place by the state in order to help many Medicare beneficiaries – senior citizens – that were getting coverage for their Medicare part B premiums, for some co-pays, deductibles, a lot of out of pocket expenses. And this budget cut that was going into place was going to change the eligibility standard for this program and therefore, many, many seniors were going to lose that coverage. In the beginning of this month, the state announced that although it was going to make about $70 million in savings by going ahead with this budget cut, it was also going to make about 113,000 seniors really, really mad. That was not something that they were just able to pull off, and therefore, they announced that they were keeping everything status quo. The same eligibility standards that were in place are going to stay in place and everybody gets the coverage that they were expecting. So, I don’t know what they’re going to do about that big gap in their budget but maybe a suggestion is don’t try to pass a budget cut that has so much pushback from the whole state. But that’s just a suggestion. I thought that was great news.

Now, I saw in the New York Times this morning an interesting story about hospitals that are losing patience. Many hospitals are losing patience. And they’re running out of patientce because they’re waiting and waiting, the doctors are waiting, for medication to be coming in and the medication in not arriving. When they finally get this medication, the prices are extremely expensive, skyhigh costs, and did you get my joke by the way with the patience thing, I was talking about the other – oh you got it – ok good, I just wanted to make sure, I wanted to make sure you got my joke. The medication is very hard to get and when they finally get it it’s really expensive. They said you know what, let’s pull a page out of the Uber playbook and let’s just cut out the big guys and go straight to the source. So that’s what they did, they got about 300 hospitals together, they went straight to the manufacturers of the medication and they said we want to get these generic medications on our own at a very reasonable cost so we can distribute it to our patients. And that’s exactly what they’re doing. The FDA is actually backing this as well, and it’s going to make available as this thing moves ahead, medication, much more medication, at much more reasonable pricing, which is something that’s really great news for all the other news that we’re hearing about medication prices being sky high and just ridiculous.

Lastly, we have out of Syracuse, New York, actually an LTC client that took over a healthcare facility Bishop Healthcare, Mr. Ed Farbenblum. When they came in, one of the first things they did was announce that they were committing to a $1.5 million salary raise for the nurses and the nurse’s aides in the facility. It made the local news, it was really exciting, and obviously getting started off on the right foot by having the staff happy and appreciative and that spreads to the rest of the facility. So great job Ed and we wish you the best of luck.

And I hope that these stories will keep you smiling, even if your friend sends you one of these-while you’re stuck under the snow, you’ll still be good to go. So until next time, thank you so much for watching and keep warm!


Trump Administration Eases Nursing Home Fines and Gives Long Awaited Relief to industry

The nursing home industry is reaping the benefits of a decision made by the Trump administration to ease up on the use of fines against nursing homes.The policy change will reverse the Obama administration’s policy of fining nursing homes for harming residents or placing them in grave risk of injury, part of President Trump’s resolve to reduce government’s role in federal bureaucracy, regulation and intervention on businesses.

The nursing home industry requested the reversal of these guidelines after 6,500 nursing homes were cited at least once for a serious violation since 2013, for reasons ranging from nursing home neglect to bedsores. As per the new regulations, nursing homes will see lower fines and in some cases possible exemption of amassed fines, even after a resident’s death.

Director of clinical standards and quality at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), Dr. Kate Goodrich, told the New York Times (https://khn.org/news/trump-administration-relaxes-financial-penalties-against-nursing-homes/) the past regulations were becoming a burden on health care providers.“Rather than spending quality time with their patients, the providers are spending time complying with regulations that get in the way of caring for their patients and doesn’t increase the quality of care they provide,” she explained.

Most recently, the average nursing home fine was $33,453. However, records show 531 nursing homes accumulated a combined total of $100,000 in fines. To make matters worse for the industry, in 2016 congress increased the fines to factor in years of inflation that were not previously accounted for.

The nursing home facility will now see some respite, as the new guidelines have been gradually implemented throughout the year. Some nursing homes could be protected from fines that have reached $20,965 or higher, the maximum per-instance fine.At the height of it, fines were being imposed daily to incite a quick solution.This became futile, David Gifford, the American Health Care Association’s senior vice president for quality,said, when the reason for the fine was often remedied by the time inspectors got to them.

The consequence of these fines started to weigh heavily on the nursing home and healthcare industry, which prompted The American Health Care Association’s group president, Mark Parkinson, to write in a letter to Trump in December 2016, “It is critical that we have relief.” It seems that relief has been granted.


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