Latest Morning Briefing Stories
Opinion writers weigh in on these pandemic topics and others.
Texas and Washington are opening nursing homes to visitors. Indiana releases numbers that reveal two-thirds of its COVID deaths were in nursing homes and assisted living facilities.
Editorial writers focus on these pandemic topics and others.
Rebates for some Massachusetts health insurance customers and higher profits for CVS Health are two impacts of the pandemic; people used fewer health services.
A Washington Post analysis of coronavirus relief money distribution finds that hundreds of millions of dollars went to dozens of nursing home companies that settled recent lawsuits with the Justice Department over alleged improper Medicare billing, forged documents, substandard care and other abuses.
President Donald Trump’s plan to provide nursing homes with a speedy COVID testing machine puts a limit on the number of test kits. Other nursing home news is out of Massachusetts and West Virginia.
Whether Missouri should expand its Medicaid program will be put to voters next Tuesday. In other Medicaid news: Texas extends pandemic flexibility; telehealth users want permanent change; and many doctors support benefits for unemployed.
Also in Medicaid news: Missouri’s upcoming vote on expansion and an interview with Will Lightbourne, head of California’s Department of Health Care Services, which oversees the state’s Medicaid program.
Centene anticipated higher growth in its Medicaid enrollment due to rising umemployment.
The funds, announced by President Donald Trump Wednesday, are part of renewed efforts to help facilities that care for seniors respond more effectively to the pandemic. Nursing homes in hard-hit areas will be prioritized first.
With record numbers out of work, fewer payroll taxes are coming in to fund Medicare — at the same time more people are enrolling and Congress dips into Medicare’s reserves to help fund COVID-19 relief efforts.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services granted the Joint Commission approval to accredit for only two years, rather than the maximum of six, citing concerns about surveyor performance and comparability of the Joint Commission’s survey process to what CMS uses.
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services administrator Seema Verma sharply disputed the findings. In a response, she said the agency has “deep concerns” with the conclusions, which “are based on unsubstantiated assumptions and incomplete analysis.”
The nursing home industry previously lobbied the Trump administration to relax regulations to certify nurse aides. At the start of the pandemic, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services began to allow caregivers to complete eight hours of online training, instead of the 75 previously required.
Opinion pages focus on these health issues and others.
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ proposed Inpatient Prospective Payment System regulation is at issue.
As nursing homes report coronavirus cases and deaths, a Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services website is supposed to release the data. But there are gaps in the stats. “The biggest thing that needs to be taken away … is in its current form, it is really leaving consumers in the dark,” Sam Brooks, project manager for Consumer Voice, said of the website.
The pharmaceutical giant says the regulations keep Pfizer from helping seniors to pay for an expensive heart condition drug. In other pharmaceutical news, drugmakers are teaming up in a new $1 billion for-profit venture to invest in small antibiotic companies.
According to a proposed rule, CMS would permanently allow telehealth costs to be reimbursable for home health agencies. And CMS’ Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation announced an extension for its pilot Medicare Care Choices Model program.
The latest report showing that Black Americans are disproportionately affected by the pandemic comes from CMS. The agency’s administrator, Seema Verma, said the numbers show the need to value-based care, rather than fee-for-service models that don’t focus on quality of care for patients.