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The American Health Care Association congratulated President Trump when he was elected, expecting less Washington regulation on the industry during his term. One previous federal requirements was to draw up plans for outbreaks of a new infectious disease. Other news on nursing homes reports on a family’s lawsuit, end-of-life wishes and death data in Michigan, as well.
A ProPublica investigation looks at efforts in the long-term-care industry since the 2016 election to ease federal regulations designed to help eliminate the spread of illness among the most vulnerable patients. News on nursing homes comes from North Carolina, California and Massachusetts, as well.
Several states had planned to take steps to expand health care options for their residents. Then COVID-19 came along. In other health industry news, struggling hospitals try to kick-start non-coronavirus procedures again.
Data, provided after public-records requests were filed, shows that nearly 62% of the deaths in the state were recorded at 80 long-term care facilities. News also focuses on the financial toll the virus is taking on the industry across the country and comes from Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Colorado, Michigan and California, as well.
Opinion writers weigh in on these health issues and others.
The lawyer for the suspended superintendent Bennett Walk released emails showing he regularly updated them about the outbreak at Holyoke Soldiers’ Home and asked for help. News on nursing homes is from Nevada, as well.
The industry is vigorously seeking protection from lawsuits that will likely stem from the wave of deaths in nursing homes across the country. But advocates urge lawmakers not to protect nursing homes were neglect and understaffing were big problems even before the pandemic. In other news: how warnings about overrun hospitals put nursing home patients at risk; the White House fails to meet its goal on nursing home testing; a veterans’ home that had chronic issues to begin with; and a national reckoning.
The Associated Press reports on troublesome efforts undertaken for a while in New York where recovering patients were sent to nursing homes, places that even Gov. Andrew Cuomo called “optimum feeding grounds for the virus.” Other nursing home developments include CMS’ new policy for recording deaths as well as reporting from Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Illinois and Massachusetts.
The GAO says deficiencies in nursing homes included inadequate hand hygiene among staff or the lack of preventive protocols during disease outbreaks. News on nursing homes looks at overhauling the industry, COVID’s racial divide, New Jersey’s share of the blame for deaths, Arkansas’ tracing plans and painful, botched testing in Minnesota, as well.
Opinion writers weigh in on these health care issues and others.
Stat spoke with experts about the potential lasting changes the pandemic could bring to the health industry. Meanwhile, public health experts worry about underfunded community health systems in the midst of the crisis.
The Trump administration’s guidelines urge state and local officials to refrain from allowing virtually all visitors into nursing homes or other senior care facilities until several conditions are met, including that all residents and staff test negative for the coronavirus for at least 28 days. Other news on nursing homes in Canada, Louisiana, California and Nevada is reported.
Opinion writers express views about these public health issues and others.
Medicaid consumes about 20% of state budgets, and even state leaders who have supported expansion of the program are viewing it as a way to avoid sinking into economic devastation.
Advocates say the data is long overdue. “The lid is about to blow off,” said Brian Lee, executive director of Families for Better Care, a national watchdog. Other news on nursing homes is reported from Texas, Virginia, Washington, Colorado, Kansas, Michigan, Tennessee, Massachusetts, and Louisiana.
Before the pandemic, hospitals relied on this strategy to make money: provide surgeries, scans and other well-reimbursed services to privately insured patients, whose plans pay higher prices than public programs like Medicare and Medicaid. Then the pandemic turned the world upside down. In other news on hospitals and costs: rural care deserts, liability protections and payment models.
But the policy change doesn’t require employers to offer these options; they must opt in if they want to give their employees added flexibility. In other insurance and cost news: hospital lobbyists seek higher COBRA subsidies from Congress, UnitedHealthcare to have bigger footprint in ACA marketplace, how Medicaid and ACA subsidies could help recently laid off workers, and more.
When asked why testing wasn’t ordered at the facilities where about a third of all deaths have occurred, President Donald Trump said “I would certainly consider that. I will mandate it if you’d like.” Nursing home news is from New Jersey, California, Wisconsin, Massachusetts and California.
There are still 14 states that still haven’t expanded Medicaid, but two–Oklahoma and Missouri–will likely have ballot initiatives go in front of voters this year. Advocates hope the outbreak will nudge anyone on the fence toward supporting the expansion.
A large share of coronavirus deaths have been in nursing homes. “There’s a risk and a liability when we reopen, no matter how we craft it,” said Kathryn Hyer, a professor at the University of South Florida. “It’s going to be very difficult.” Nursing home news is reported from New York, Maryland, Georgia, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey, as well.