Latest Morning Briefing Stories

Nursing Homes’ Multi-Million Dollar Lobbying Machine Gets To Work On Liability Protections

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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.

‘Single Dumbest Decision’: Thousands Of Recovering Coronavirus Patients Sent To New York Nursing Homes

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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.

Even Before COVID, 82% Of Nursing Homes Lacked Adequate Infection Control Practices, Report Finds

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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.

Nursing Homes Should Be Among Last To Reopen CMS Says As It Urges ‘Extreme Caution’

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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.

Pandemic Wreaked Havoc On Hospitals’ Tried-And-True Playbook For Turning A Profit

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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.

White House Recommends All Nursing Home Residents, Staff Be Tested In Next Two Weeks

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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.

CMS Draft Guidelines For Reopening Nursing Homes Allowing Visitors Threaten Residents’ Health, Advocates Warn

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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.

Which Nursing Homes Have Coronavirus Outbreaks? That Data Is Still Not Being Consistently Tracked

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The Trump administration announced in April that it would start collecting data on outbreaks and deaths at long-term care facilities. But there is still no federal count and the information is not expected to be made public for weeks. “There’s no way to actually get ahead of this if we don’t have any data — it tells us where we have a problem. We know nothing about these facilities in terms of their personal protective equipment or in terms of their staffing or their infection control capability,” David Grabowski, a professor of health policy at Harvard Medical School, told NBC News. The lag in data collection is just one of a number of bottlenecks in federal effort to slow the virus’ deadly spread in nursing homes across the U.S. News from senior facilities in New York, New Jersey, Louisiana and Maine is also reported.

‘Devastating’ Toll: Nursing Homes Turn To Federal Government For $10B In Relief Funds

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The coronavirus death toll exceeds 11,000 in nursing homes, which say the requested money would be used for protective equipment, hazard pay and lost revenue. News on the industry also reports on liability protections, a behind-the-scenes look at how infection spread in Maryland facilities, a lawsuit in Arizona to reveal data, a Massachusetts law shielding facilities, one family’s struggle for information, higher wages promised in Illinois and Louisiana’s changing efforts to name facilities with outbreaks, as well.

Nursing Home Industry Seeks Protection From Lawsuits As Death Toll Soars During Crisis

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Meanwhile, patient advocates say legal liability is the last safety net to keep facilities accountable. “If you take the power of suing away from the families, then anything goes,” said Stella Kazantzas, whose husband is among the more than 20,000 patients who have died in nursing homes since the outbreak. In other news on senior facilities: advocates push for a stronger federal response; CMS will form a commission on safety; an elderly social worker dies; veterans’ homes and those in home care struggle; and overall staffing levels drop.

Insurers Turn To Congress With Hands Out Even As They Reassure Investors Outbreak Might Be A Boon

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The extra costs of covering coronavirus care is being offset by missed elective procedures, insurers are reporting. But America’s Health Insurance Plans, the powerful health insurance lobby, is telling a different story in Washington. Meanwhile, worried that the surge in unemployment will bolster support for “Medicare for All” plans, big businesses get behind a bailout for employer-sponsored coverage. And aggressive debt collection continues during the crisis, ProPublica reports.

9% Of Adults Say They Would Delay Seeking COVID-19 Care Because Of Worries About Costs

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Although Congress and President Donald Trump made testing free to patients, and some insurers are waiving copays and deductibles for treatment within their networks, the survey suggests such messages may not be getting to the public. In other costs news: halt in elective care offsets insurers’ COVID-19 costs; a portal is created for provider payments from HHS; and CMS suddenly suspends advance Medicare payments.