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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.
Nursing homes are being offered financial incentives to take on COVID patients, but it might be backfiring for other residents who are being cleared out to make room. Nursing home officials, however, insist that the evictions are warranted. Other nursing homes news comes out of West Virginia, New York, Georgia and Michigan.
“This pandemic shows us that the lack of good health care options makes us more vulnerable and less resilient,” said Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear (D). In other health industry news: reimbursement reform, pay cuts, mergers and the lasting changes expected from the pandemic.
Senior facilities have been hit the hardest by COVID, forcing a 3-month long isolation for most residents. Now, things are easing up in some states where facilities are beginning to set standards for outdoor visits. News on nursing homes is from New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Oklahoma, Ohio, Illinois, Michigan and Indiana, as well.
State officials say their budgets may not be able to handle the number of people enrolling in Medicaid after losing their jobs and health benefits. Meanwhile, the Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission urges Congress to loosen enrollment restrictions for people who are eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid.
The failure, Politico reports, prevented states from identifying lapses at a crucial time during the pandemic and blocking family members from visiting their relatives — a policy intended to prevent the virus from entering the facility — removed another source of accountability. News on nursing homes is from New York, Louisiana and Michigan, as well.
CMS Administrator Seema Verma says that federal guidelines helped curb the outbreak in nursing homes. But advocates have been critical from the start that the government hasn’t done enough to protect vulnerable residents. Nursing homes news comes out of Texas and Oklahoma, as well.
A Reuters analysis of CMS data shows about a quarter of nursing homes responding to a federal survey reported shortages of direct-care staff during at least one of the last two weeks in May. News on nursing facilities also reports on complaints about FEMA-provided protective gear, a disputed timeline of warnings about the Holyoke Soldiers Home outbreak and the staff’s role in spreading the virus at a VA Center.
More than 40% of the coronavirus fatalities in the U.S. are tied to nursing homes and long-term care facilities. The New York Times investigates what went wrong at the Burlington (Vermont) Health & Rehab Center. Other news on nursing homes comes from Washington, Oregon, Massachusetts, Texas, Louisiana and Nevada, as well.
There are regulatory barriers in place though that would will require HHS coordination with and support from other federal agencies, Congress and state governments in order to make some of the current practices permanent. In other technology news, investment interest in health IT companies dips.
Advocates say that the generous government incentives designed to help patients who are recovering from COVID-19 will only serve to expose more elderly people to some of the factors that led to nearly 26,000 deaths in nursing homes during the pandemic. For example, eight of 20 nursing homes in Michigan selected by the state government to build wings for coronavirus-positive patients are currently rated as “below average” or “much below average.” Meanwhile, CMS says it will fine nursing homes weekly for not submitting outbreak data.
The number is likely to be an undercount because only 80% of nursing homes submitted their reports. The numbers demonstrate a sobering toll among nursing home staffers, as well, with more than 34,400 getting sick and nearly 450 dying from the coronavirus.
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.
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.