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2019 Important Conferences for Senior Housing Professionals (Posted: 10/11/2018)

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2018 Important Conferences for Senior Housing Professionals (Posted: 12/31/2017)

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Looking Back as We Move Ahead! (Posted: 02/01/2018)

As we head into 2018, we would like to take a moment to reflect on Pendulum’s 2017 accomplishments. Please share these achievements with us by clicking this link. Thank you in advance for your business going forward. We appreciate you very much!

Sincerely,
Ric Henry
President | Pendulum, LLC

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Same-Sex Couple Sues St. Louis Retirement Community for Discrimination (Posted: 11/16/2018)

A lawsuit alleges that the Housing Act and Missouri Human Rights Act were violated when a St. Louis retirement community denied admission to an elderly lesbian couple, the Windy City Times reported.

Mary Walsh and Beverly Nance, who have been a couple for 40 years, were refused admission to Friendship Village Sunset Hills, which cited the “Biblical definition” of marriage for its decision.

The National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), ACLU of Missouri, and Relman, Dane & Colfax PLLC filed the suit on the couple’s behalf, the article states.

Michael Adams, CEO of SAGE, the oldest and largest organization in the country dedicated to improving the lives of LGBT older adults, told the Times that the “horrible discrimination experienced by this older lesbian couple—for something as basic as senior housing—is a stark reminder of the challenges that many LGBT elders face.” Adams further stated that 45 percent of same-sex couples who apply for senior housing in Missouri are discriminated against.

While religious exemptions are often cited as reasons for denying service to the LGBT community, Friendship Village Sunset Hills “is not affiliated with or operated by any religion or religious order; it is open to the public and does not inquire about the religious beliefs or affiliations of residents,” according to the suit.

For more information on Fair Housing, visit your online resource center. And please share this news with your Administrator.

Source: Chicago Sun Times

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Family Files Suit after Man with Dementia Allegedly Coerced into Exposing Himself on Facebook (Posted: 10/31/2018)

The family of a 76-year-old resident of an Illinois nursing home has filed a lawsuit claiming facility staff forced the man to expose himself on Facebook Live, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

The suit claims that on July 15, four employees of Holland Home entered the room of Reggie Doe “for the purpose of bullying and abusing (him),” according to the article. Doe, who was a stroke victim suffering from dementia, was coerced into removing his pants and exposing his genitals as the employees streamed the act online, the article states. Per the suit, an employee can be heard taunting Doe, and it is alleged the abuse continued after the streaming stopped.

The suit claims Doe was targeted for being “vulnerable, disabled, and easily manipulated.” Doe’s family seeks $50,000 in punitive damages, according to the article.

For more information on social media, visit your online resource center. And please share this news with your Executive Director and/or Administrator.

Source: Chicago Sun Times

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Judge Rules for Resident's Family Regarding Unsigned Arbitration Agreement (Posted: 10/19/2018)

Language in an arbitration agreement was cited by a Kentucky judge in his ruling that an unsigned agreement was not enforceable, McKnight’s reported.

Judge David Hale ultimately did not agree with Golden LivingCenter Hillcreek’s contention that two previous arbitration agreements with a resident took precedence over a 2016 agreement that was not signed, according to the article. In his decision, Hale noted that the 2016 agreement includes language that the document “supersedes any prior admission contracts.”

Robert Bramer allegedly fell from his bed at the nursing home and suffered a severe head injury that led to his death a few weeks later, the article states. As a result, Bramer’s family filed a wrongful death lawsuit.

For more information on arbitration agreements, visit your online resource center. And please share this news with your Executive Director and/or Administrator.

Source: McKnight's Long-Term Care News

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Non-Profits Exit Skilled Nursing Amid Consolidation, Strong M&A Activity (Posted: 10/05/2018)

Non-profits have felt particularly squeezed by recent skilled nursing pressures on multiple fronts, prompting them to sell off their skilled facilities — typically to for-profit entities.

Many of them are feeling the pressures of staffing, Luann Gutierrez, Greystone & Co.’s managing director for bridge finance, told SNN. In addition, the non-profits that have just one or two facilities are having trouble securing the kinds of vendor contracts that they need to survive in the space.

But the sell-off isn’t limited to standalone skilled nursing facilities run by non-profits, according to Lisa McCracken, who serves as director of senior living research and development at the Chicago-based investment firm Ziegler.

Source: Skilled Nursing News

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AHA Offers 12 Areas of Discussion Regarding Cyber Vulnerabilities (Posted: 09/24/2018)

The American Hospital Association (AHA) recently offered 12 items for hospitals to discuss with their information technology teams regarding cyber vulnerability, Health Data Management reported.

“One of the most important things senior executives can do is to ask the right questions of their information technology teams,” the article states. Each area of discussion includes key questions to ask of IT workers.

The areas of discussion include patient safety and critical mission systems, tactical cyber risk profile, capabilities, cyber security culture, risk mitigation implementation plan, and cyber insurance.

For more information on cyber security, visit your online resource center. And please share this news with your Administrator and IT Director.

Source: Health Data Management

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Low-income, all Medicare seniors in Cleveland will have new primary care option (Posted: 09/19/2018)

CLEVELAND, Ohio - A company providing primary care to low-income seniors soon will open three health care centers in Cleveland. 

Chicago-based Oak Street Health plans to open three 9,000-square-foot community-based centers in the Glenville, West Boulevard and Lee-Harvard neighborhoods by the end of the year. The centers will serve those on Medicare.

At each facility, patients will be provided with transportation to and from appointments, longer visits and around-the-clock access to doctors. 

Source: Cleveland Metro News

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To Avoid Liability, Skilled Nursing Providers Must Avoid Social Media Perils (Posted: 09/12/2018)

Issues related to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) are one way a SNF could be liable because of an errant social media post by an employee, but there are other considerations for liability.

The cases of explicit and exploitative postings make the news, but those cases are outliers in terms of how intentional they are; according to Pitman, the most common issues with employee social media use don’t stem from an intention to abuse. They stem from people using social media the way they do in their everyday lives.

Since it’s so easy for facilities to become liable based on actions that are second nature to most people with a Facebook account, Pitman had some suggestions for SNFs to mitigate the chance of this happening. The first is to have policies and procedures in place to address HIPAA requirements on privacy and security, as well as the resident’s rights to have information maintained confidentially and “to be in an environment that’s free of abuse and exploitation,” Pitman said.

Source: Skilled Nursing News

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Study Finds Apologies "Significantly Reduce" Liability, Legal Costs (Posted: 09/05/2018)

A recent study found that explaining, apologizing for, and resolving adverse medical events can “significantly reduce” legal and liability costs, Georgia State University reported.

Researchers studied 12 years of data at Erlanger, a five-hospital system where physicians purchase their own liability insurance, per the article. In the period after Erlanger implemented a Communication and Resolution Program (CRP), there was a 66 percent reduction in legal claims filed, a 51 percent drop in defense costs, and a 53 percent reduction in reporting of adverse events.  

The findings led to the American Medical Association to adopt a resolution supporting CRP, according to the article.

“Following CRP protocol, when medical errors were explained to the patients and their families, 43 percent were resolved by apology alone, even though 60 percent of those patients had legal representation,” lead researcher Dr. Florence R. LeCraw stated.

For more information on use of apologies, visit your online resource center. And please share this news with your Administrator and Director of Nursing.

Source: Georgia State University News Hub

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Class of 2018 Long Term Care Power Lawyers Graduate in Chicago (Posted: 08/29/2018)

It is with great honor that we announce the graduating class of the 2018 Long Term Care Power Lawyers. We are extremely proud of their commitment to the program and their service to the long-term care industry.

Pendulum, in partnership with the Long Term Care Risk/Legal Forum, puts on this program annually for young defense attorneys in the long term care industry. Ric Henry (Pendulum, LLC President) is a Program Leader, and Erika Casebier (Client & Data Services Coordinator) is the Administrative Liaison. This year marks the second year of the program.

Source: Cision PRWeb

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Under N.D. Law, Nursing Homes Can Sue Adult Children for Unpaid Bills (Posted: 08/20/2018)

An “often overlooked” state statute is cited in several lawsuits filed by North Dakota nursing homes seeking payment for unpaid bills, the Bismarck Tribune reported.

The “filial support” statute requires children to support their indigent parents. Shelly Peterson, executive director of the North Dakota Long Term Care Association, told the Tribune that the statute is only used to pursue payment from adult children when parents transfer income or assets to their children, and the parents don't qualify for Medicaid. Peterson added that, under Medicaid, nursing homes are “legally obligated” to pursue all options in collecting debt.

But families say the statute is unfair. In the article, Becky Pedersen, who is being sued (along with her three siblings) for her father’s outstanding bill of more than $43,000, said, "(The bill) might as well be $500,000, because it's just not something that we had a chance to prepare for.”

The filial support law was adopted in 1877---12 years before North Dakota was granted statehood. Two state lawmakers have said they are “considering modifying or possibly repealing the statute” in the next legislative session, according to the article.

At least 24 states have a filial support law, the article notes. 

Source: Blair Emerson, Bismarck Tribune

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Exploding hospice industry vulnerable to fraud, OIG says (Posted: 08/09/2018)

Medicare paid $16.7 billion for services in 2016—an 81 percent rise from 2006, according to the article. A recent government report reveals that “poor and/or unnecessary care” and a lack of information shared by providers to help residents and families to make informed decisions are among the issues facing the hospice industry.

The report includes recommendations by the Office of Inspector General (OIG) to strengthen the hospice industry, including improving the survey process, providing the federal government “more authority to address poor-performing hospice providers,” educating residents and families, and improving oversight of billing processes.  

For more information on hospice vulnerabilities, visit your online resource center. And please share this news with your Agency Director.

Source: McKnight's Long-Term Care News

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Severe Gaps Exist in Infection Preventionist Staffing, Studies Find (Posted: 08/03/2018)

According to a pair of recent studies, “severe gaps” in staffing infection preventionists (IPs) have resulted from outdated coverage benchmarks, McKnight’s reported.

In one study, IP staffing needs across the Providence Health & Services healthcare system were 31 percent to 66 percent higher than benchmarks currently in place, the article states. Both studies offer a new benchmark of 1.0 IP full-time equivalent per 69 beds and “support the view that IP staffing recommendations should be based on the care and services provided by a healthcare institution, rather than on a single, static ratio, which might not be appropriate for all models,” according to the article.

Source: McKnight's Long-Term Care News

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Arvada Nursing Home Changes Hiring Process after Felon Caregiver Accused of Beating Patient (Posted: 07/25/2018)

Following the alleged abuse of an elderly Alzheimer’s patient at the hands of caregiver and convicted felon, Gwendolyn Kentris, Ralston Creek, a nursing home operated by Haverland Carter LifeStyle Group, has begun to use a new background check resource.

Ralston Creek did not reveal how Kentris passed her background check but stated they will run all current staff through the new system and retrain “key management staff.”

Haverland Carter Director of Marketing and Sales, Dave Walbright, stated that “We have changed to a different service for Ralston Creek Neighborhood to have more stringent background checks similar to what we already do in New Mexico and Oklahoma.”

To put families at ease, Ralston Creek additionally hosted an open forum to answer questions and address concerns.

Kentris currently faces arrest for her alleged abuse of the patient. The family of the patient is pursuing litigation against Ralston Creek.

Source: The Dever Channel

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Prosecutors Request Judge Drop "Nanny Cam" Criminal Charges Against Nurses (Posted: 07/17/2018)

After a security camera filmed two Iowa nurses neglecting Elkader Care Center resident, Cheryll Scherf, for more than 17 hours and subsequently fabricating records to show otherwise Elkader was fined initially $5,000, which was reduced to $975.

Pressley Henningsen, one of Scherf’s attorneys, noted that “These videos show what they show. They show what did happen, and what didn’t happen.”

The two nurses, Heidi Mueller and Nichole Buckley, are presently on trial for wanton neglect, dependent adult abuse, and tampering with medical records. However, prosecutors have asked to dismiss the case until the Iowa Board of Nursing and the Department of Inspections and Appeals complete their investigations.

Depending on the outcome of these investigations, Mueller and Buckley may have their licenses revoked or suspended as well as have their names placed on the state registry of abusers. Mueller has already been fired from Elkader.

Source: McKnight’s Long-Term Care News

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New Study Pushes for Improvements to Cancer Care for Elders (Posted: 07/05/2018)

Because cancer patients aged 65 and older have a higher rate of comorbidities, geriatric syndromes, and disabilities than younger patients, they may require more specialized care according to a study conducted by the American Society of Clinical Oncology.

The study, “Community Oncologists’ Decision-making for Treatment of Older Patients with Cancer,” explores the additional risks that chemotherapy poses to elderly cancer patients and the ways in which health care providers should respond to those risks.

The Institute of Medicine confirms in a report that “Despite the rapidly increasing numbers of older patients with cancer, most oncologists have received little geriatrics training, so common aging-related conditions that influence outcomes are rarely detected.”

The study, which asked participating oncologists to respond to the age-related needs of various hypothetical cancer patients, found that geriatric-relevant information does in fact alter oncologists’ decisions. However, those decisions need to be improved by a more complete knowledge of geriatric care.  

Source: Provider Long Term & Post-Acute Care

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A Denver-area hospital sued a patient for nearly $230,000 over her surgery bill. A jury said not so fast. (Posted: 06/29/2018)

As seemingly astronomical hospital bills continue to plague many Americans, one former patient and her employer-based insurer have refused to pay, resulting in the first in what might be a series of similar court cases.

While St. Anthony North Health Campus in Westminster, CO has sued, arguing that the price they have charged for Lisa French’s 2014 spinal-fusion surgery is in line with the procedure’s costs, the jury is considering to what extent, if any, St. Anthony may have subjected French to predatory pricing.

Though the first to go to a jury, French’s case is by no means a unique instance of billing dispute. ELAP Services—the Pennsylvania based firm that is advising French’s insurer—has handled more than 700,000 similar disputes that ended in settlements.

Regardless of which party the outcome favors, this case will likely have lasting effects on how courts handle billing-disputes between hospitals and health insurers.

Source: Denver Post

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CMS launches tool to help skilled nursing providers achieve interoperability (Posted: 06/22/2018)

According to McKnight’s Long-Term Care News, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services have recently launched their new “Data Element Library” database. With this new tool, members of the public and skilled nursing facilities alike will have quicker, easier access to information.

In a news announcement the CMS states that “Integrating these data elements into EHRs will ultimately allow health information to flow more easily from one provider to another.” This means of communication should streamline advancements in the long-term care world by facilitating interoperability among health care providers.

CMS Administrator, Seema Verma, commented that “We’re excited to add this important building block to the foundation for interoperability that CMS is helping to establish.”

SourceMcKnight's Long-Term Care News

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Study: Medication assistants can help nursing homes during a nurse staffing crunch (Posted: 06/15/2018)

Although medication assistants do not have the extensive training of a licensed nurse, a study recently published in the Annals of Long Term Care shows that these assistants are a safe and useful substitute for a facility facing a shortage of nurses.

According to the study, which was conducted in a 50-bed long term care unit, medication assistants who had received 104 hours of training successfully administered medication with a medication error rate as low as their licensed nursing colleagues.

To ensure the accuracy of these findings, the Geriatric Interest Group will recreate this study at three more nursing homes this year. If successful, these studies could prompt the hiring of medication assistants in nursing homes throughout the United States.

Source: McKnight's Long-Term Care News

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Coalition analysis shows 1 in 5 nursing home residents still getting antipsychotics (Posted: 06/15/2018)

In 2005 the Food and Drug Administration issued a warning against the overuse of antipsychotic medication in nursing homes. That warning, however, did little to substantially reduce the use of antipsychotics, prompting Human Rights Watch this past February to condemn the practice of what many see as inappropriate drugging. 

With 20% of nursing home residents treated with antipsychotics, there is no doubt that the use of this medication is high. However, senior vice president of quality and regulatory affairs for the American Health Care Association (AHCA), David Gifford, prefers to remain optimistic. He has noted that an effort launched in 2012 "has resulted in a dramatic decline in the use of these medications, with more than half of our members achieving at least a 30% reduction." 

AHCA announced in March that it would push providers nationwide to participate in the effort to reduce the overuse of antipsychotics by 10%. 

Source: McKnight's Long-Term Care News

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Federal judge transfers negligence lawsuit against The Willough at Naples to Florida (Posted: 06/05/2018)

Derrick Lewis has filed a lawsuit against Oglethorpe, owner of The Willough at Naples nursing home. Lewis, a resident at the nursing home, claims to have suffered multiple, preventable injuries due to negligence.

One injury to the knee, brought about by a malfunctioning door, led to the next as Lewis slipped in a non-handicap-accesible bathroom. Despite these claims, however, Lewis' home state of Maryland will not hear the case since Oglethorpe does not own properties there. 

Source: Florida Record

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Happy National Nurses Week (Posted: 05/11/2018)

According to Nursing World, the public has rated nursing as the most honest and ethical profession 16 years in a row. Nurses have a commitment to protecting, promoting, and improving health care for all is well, and they serve the public in a wide range of roles and work settings. Therefore, it is important that everyone take one week to celebrate the vital role that nurses play. Happy National Nurses Week!

Source: Nursing World

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Health Benefits and Risks of Animal Interaction in Senior Care (Posted: 05/24/2018)

Pets provide many benefits to seniors, and they also pose some risks, according to an article by Reuters.

There are physical, social, and emotional benefits for residents of nursing homes who have pets or animal visitors, but facilities rarely construct thorough pet policies to mitigate potential hazards associated with animal interaction, according to the article.

While having pets present in a nursing home may relieve stress and anxiety and promote walking, animals can carry or spread disease and cause injury to this vulnerable population. Hand hygiene is just one of many precautions the article states that facilities must take to ensure the safety of its residents.

Source: Reuters

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There is a nursing shortage - and executives are worried it's getting worse (Posted: 05/01/2018)

There is an ongoing nurse shortage, and nursing executives are worried that it is hurting care quality and patient satisfaction, according to an article in Fierce Healthcare.

There were over 200 chief nursing officers surveyed by staffing firm AMN Healthcare who found that more than one-third (34%) fear that nursing shortages have a "considerable" or "great" impact on care quality. Furthermore, 41% said that these staffing problems negatively impact the patient experience. 

Among the nurses surveyed, many expressed concern that the shortages are getting worse. Over 70% said the shortage of nurses at their organizations was either "moderate," "significant" or "severe," with one in three calling it significant or severe, and many nurses only expect it to get worse.

Marcia Faller, Ph.D., R.N., chief clinical officer at AMN Healthcare said that "Nurse leaders are increasingly concerned about worsening staff shortages and their impact on patient and staff satisfaction, as well as nurse recruitment.” Labor costs are also increasing, and resources are being stretched thin, as there are fewer nurses available to do the same amount of job. The study also found that recruiting nurses is difficult, with location and lack of talent being a big problem  More than 80% of the surveyed CNOs said that their organizations have "moderate," "significant" or "severe" difficulty with recruiting nurses. 

Source: Fierce Healthcare

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Jeff Mullins Joins Pendulum, LLC (Posted: 04/11/2018)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (PRWEB) APRIL 11, 2018

Pendulum, LLC is proud to announce the addition of Jeff Mullins as the company’s Senior Vice President, Claims and Risk Services.

Jeff brings more than 20 years of experience in risk management to the Albuquerque-based risk management consulting firm. In his new role as a member of the Executive Team, Jeff oversees all of Pendulum’s claims management programs and third-party administration operations. Pendulum recently announced its new claims management program, offering boutique claims management focusing solely on the aging services/post-acute continuum.

“I’m excited to join Pendulum, a company with a great reputation and high standard of customer service. I look forward to using my experience to help providers within the aging services industry navigate the challenges of claims and risk management.”

Before joining Pendulum, Jeff worked for Genesis HealthCare as the Vice President of Risk Management, overseeing all property and casualty insurance programs, executive and financial risk, occupational safety and health, and general and professional liability claims’ financing. He has also lead teams of specialists in the fields of clinical risk management, environmental safety, claims management, and insurance services.

For more information, call (888) 815-8250 or email info(at)WeArePendulum(dot)com.

For the full news story, please visit: http://www.prweb.com/releases/2018/04/prweb15402459.htm

Pendulum, LLC is based in Albuquerque, New Mexico and provides innovative assessment and risk-reduction protocols combined with software and loss-control tools. Visit https://www.wearependulum.com/ for a complete list of the company’s services.

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Pendulum, LLC Announces Claims Management Program (Posted: 04/10/2018)

Pendulum, LLC, a premier risk management consulting firm, is proud to announce its Professional and General Liability Claims Management program. Pendulum’s new business unit will offer boutique claims management focusing solely on the aging services/post-acute continuum, including Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs), skilled nursing facilities (SNFs), and assisted living facilities (ALFs).

To see this news release on the web, please visit: http://www.prweb.com/releases/2018/04/prweb15398321.htm.

Visit https://www.wearependulum.com/ for a complete list of the company’s services.

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Kansas Agency Seeks to Take Over 15 Nursing Homes That Cannot Make Payroll (Posted: 04/06/2018)

After nursing home operator Skyline Health Care told the state of Kansas it could not make payroll, a state agency has asked 13 district courts for emergency power to take over operations for 15 nursing homes, the Kansas City Star reported.

The Kansas Department of Aging and Disability Services (KDADS) requested the action after New Jersey–based Skyline Health Care, which purchased the Kansas facilities in 2016, notified the state of the payroll situation, according to the article.

In a statement, KDADS Secretary Tim Keck said, “Our most pressing concern at this point is stability. We want to ensure the residents of these facilities continue to receive the care they need, and to make sure the staff, which provides that care, continues to be paid.”

There are approximately 845 residents in the 15 nursing homes, the article states.

Skyline owes roughly $500,000 in bed taxes to the state and has “had trouble paying its vendors recently,” according to the article—which adds that the state of Nebraska is seeking to take over 21 Skyline nursing homes due to payroll issues.

Five of the courts have granted KDADS’s request, but Skyline must also respond to the court filings.

Source: Kelsey Ryan, Kansas City Star

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Family Worries Water Leak at Texas Facility Could Pose Mold Danger (Posted: 03/28/2018)

The children of a Texas assisted living resident say that a water leak has been a persistent problem at the facility and is "getting worse," CBS DFW reported.

Ken Gentry and his wife Candy said they are worried the leak, which has been an issue for eight weeks, could lead to mold. "The air was starting to get a little foul. We are concerned, is there going to be black mold?" Candy Gentry said.

A reporter observed "(a) black and green substance near the refrigerator space and the closet space" in two rooms, according to the article. The Gentrys said the water has begun to seep into their mother's room and "getting her clothes and floor wet," the article notes.

The problem was reported to the facility's executive director. The Gentrys were told that there have been three plumbers out to the facility using "technical high-dollar equipment," but none could find the source of the leak. In a statement, the facility's corporate office said staff has been working with the city, an engineer, and plumbing companies to identify the source and to rectify the matter, according to the article.

Source: CBS DFW

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Researchers Discover Bacteria Resistant to "Last-Resort" Antibiotic (Posted: 03/15/2018)

Bacteria highly resistant to a "last-resort" antibiotic have been discovered by Emory Health Sciences researchers, Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News reported.

Researchers found "heteroresistance" to the antibiotic colistin in Kiebsiella pneumoniae (CRKP), an already "highly resistant" bacteria. Their study notes that there are already few options available to treat CRKP, and colistin is often the final choice, as it is poisonous to the kidneys.

Researchers wrote that new diagnostics that quickly detect colistin heteroresistance are needed, as the bacterial isolates (taken from urine samples of two patients at Atlanta-area hospitals) were undetectable with current tests. While the isolates could be viewed after 24 hours, this time lapse presents problems, the article states.

The study notes that antibiotic-resistant infections are projected to lead to 10 million annual deaths worldwide by 2050, and that CKRP is "among the most significant threats," according to the article.

Source: Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News

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UChicago Medicine's Award-Winning Program Takes on Pressure Injuries and Succeeds (Posted: 03/07/2018)

University of Chicago Medicine's "Countdown to Zero" program is an award-winning program that has reduced pressure injuries at the facility more than 80 percent since its introduction in 2014, Fierce Healthcare reported.

The program "aims to reduce the number of pressure or skin injuries to zero and puts a strong focus on clinical education," according to the article. Training is conducted in a variety of settings, including at patient bedsides and via computer.

Susan Solmos leads the program, which received a 3M Award for Excellence in Skin Safety in May 2014. She said the hospital attempts to "integrate change into practice" and maintain consistency. The primary focus at current is reducing Stage I injuries as well as targeting friction injuries and other conditions that may lead to pressure injuries, the article states.

Source: Fierce Healthcare

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Peer-Reviewed, Journal Published Study Finds CRP Programs 'Sharply Reduce' Litigation Costs (Posted: 02/28/2018)

The first peer-reviewed, journal-published study in the U.S. on the impact of Communication-and-Resolution Programs (CRPs) on lawsuits and claims confirmed that such programs have a significant impact on lawsuit costs, legal expenses, and time to resolve claims, the Daily Telescope reported.

Published in the Journal of Patient Safety and Risk Management, the study examined 12 years of data from an “open” hospital system in Tennessee where physicians pay for their own insurance and are not employees of the hospital. Researchers found that the hospital’s CRP protocol “led to a 66 percent reduction in legal claims filed, 51 percent reduction in defense costs, and 53 percent reduction in the time required to close cases,” according to the article.

Earlier studies examined “closed” systems in which physicians are employees of, and insured by, hospitals.

The collection of CRP studies demonstrates that CRP can be beneficial to patients and physicians, lower healthcare costs, and improve the quality of healthcare, unlike the dominant “deny and defend” practice in the U.S.,” the article states.

Source: Jasmine Petters, Daily Telescope

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Presidents' Day Holiday (Posted: 02/16/2018)

To allow our employees the opportunity to enjoy the Presidents' Day holiday with their families, Pendulum will be closed Monday, February 19, 2018. Normal business office hours will resume at 8:00 a.m. MST on Tuesday, February 20, 2018.

While the office is closed, some employees will have limited access to e-mail and voice mail; however, if you require immediate attention please contact Ric Henry.

Pendulum would like to thank you for your loyalty and continued support!

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Facility's Failure to Protect Staff Results in OSHA Fines of More Than $9K (Posted: 02/14/2018)

A Colorado nursing home where residents "grabbed, kicked, bit, and punched" staff has been fined more than $9,000 by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), McKnight's reported.

To resolve the issues, Pioneer Health Care Center in Rocky Ford must install additional security cameras and alarms, remove dangerous items from the rooms of those patients deemed as violent, and improve training and staff levels, according to the article.

OSHA's investigation resulted from "incidents of violence" in 2017 that determined "certified nursing assistants suffered 'bites, sprains, broken skin, bruising, scratches, soft tissue trauma, and injuries to the head and torso from punches, kicks, and forceful grabs,'" per McKnight's.

The facility has three weeks to determine if it will contest or accept the penalties.

Source: McKnight's

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Arkansas Scabies Outbreak Attributed to Nursing Home Leadership's Inaction (Posted: 01/31/2018)

The scabies outbreak at an Arkansas nursing home in December 2017 that spread to the surrounding community has been linked to failure at the leadership level to properly address the situation—as well as the alleged direction to staff to not leave a paper trail, Arkansas Online reported.

Government records show that leadership at Longmeadow Nursing Care in Camden directed nurses to not document treatment of residents with scabies, a highly contagious skin condition caused by burrowing mites, according to the article. In addition, procedures to contain the outbreak—such as isolating those infected, requiring direct-care personnel to wear protective equipment, and implementing special cleaning techniques—were not utilized, causing it to spread to employees and, in turn, the outside community.

All 29 residents at the facility were infected, resulting in the citing of level "L" Immediate Jeopardy deficiencies—the highest level of severity, the article notes. Weeks before, Longmeadow had been cited by the state for failure to address a smaller scabies outbreak that was also not documented.

According to the article, state surveyor reports regarding the December outbreak document how the facility "failed to follow almost every scabies mitigation protocol."

Source: Hunter Field, Arkansas Online

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Bed Rail Leads to Resident's Suffocation Death; State Cites Facility's Neglect (Posted: 01/26/2018)

State of Minnesota officials squarely placed the blame on nursing home operators for the death of a resident who suffocated after her head was trapped between a mattress and a grab bar, McKnight's reported.

There was no "policy, procedure or system to ensure the proper sizing of mattresses, the fit of the grab bars [or the proper] space between the mattresses and the grab bar device to reduce the risk of entrapment" at Langton Place, per health department findings released by the Star Tribune.

The resident was observed sleeping on her back at roughly 4 a.m., but 90 minutes later, she was found face down and was unable to be resuscitated.

State officials recommended a fine and a correction plan to be submitted. The facility's staff said it is appealing the ruling and that the state's report did not take all facts into account, according to the article.

Click here to read the McKnight's article.

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Nurses Resuscitate Woman with DNR Bracelet; Facility Cited (Posted: 01/15/2018)

The state of New York cited a Syracuse facility after staff nurses resuscitated a woman who was wearing a special bracelet to denote she had a do-not-resuscitate (DNR) order, McKnight's reported.

The nurse who found the woman unresponsive at what is now Bishop Rehabilitation & Nursing Center said she "had not been trained on identifying DNR residents," and when another nurse saw the DNR order in the woman's chart, the resident had already been taken to the hospital, according to the article.

The resident's records also indicated she did not want to be intubated, wanted "limited medical interventions," and that she should only be sent to the hospital "if it was necessary," the inspection report states.

Current Administrator Margaret Mary Wagner was not with the facility when the incident occurred but told Syracuse.com that "(t)his is a human business, and people are going to make mistakes...(w)hen something like that happens, you have to do a root-cause analysis [and] then change the process."

Read the McKnight's article.

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Happy New Year! (Posted: 12/29/2017)

To allow our employees the opportunity to enjoy the New Year's holiday with their families, Pendulum will be closed Monday, January 1, 2018. Normal business office hours will resume at 8:00 a.m. MST on Tuesday, January 2, 2018.

While the office is closed, some employees will have limited access to e-mail and voice mail; however, if you require immediate attention please contact Ric Henry.

Pendulum would like to thank you for your loyalty and continued support. Happy New Year to you and your family!

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Controlling Legionnaires' in Long Term Care (Posted: 12/27/2017)

According to an article by McKnight’s Long-Term Care News, the new CMS requirement for Legionnaires’ disease (LD) will provide direction for the preventative measures long term care (LTC) facilities can take.

According to the article, "nineteen percent of LD outbreaks are LTC related." Since a federal directive is not yet in place, LTC facilities have not had a clear approach for addressing LD, and facilities' current measures may be ineffective and confusing. The new CMS guidelines require facilities to develop policies and procedures that inhibit microbial growth, among other issues identified with the spread of the disease.

The risks of an outbreak are "real," and the costs may be "significant," the article notes. One of the reasons an outbreak may be more likely to occur in an LTC facility than in a hospital is water temperature. Water temperatures in LTC are generally required to be less hot than hospitals, and this may create a suitable bacterial environment for LD, according to the article.

The article also mentions a few Do's and Don'ts regarding LD, such as strict adherence to the policies and procedures set by the facility---so as to physically protect the residents from an outbreak and to protect the company from legal ramifications.

Source: McKnight's

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Holiday Schedule (Posted: 12/22/2017)

To allow our employees the opportunity to enjoy the holidays with their families, Pendulum will be closed Monday, December 25, 2017, and Tuesday, December 26, 2017. Normal business office hours will resume at 8:00 a.m. MST on Wednesday, December 27, 2017.

While the office is closed, some employees will have limited access to e-mail and voice mail; however, if you require immediate attention please contact Ric Henry.

Pendulum would like to thank you for your loyalty and continued support. Happy holidays to you and your family!

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When Done Right, Ridesharing Offers Residents Numerous Advantages - But Know The Risks (Posted: 12/18/2017)

An article in Senior Housing News offers advice to senior living providers that use ridesharing services to transport residents.

Accidents, injuries, driver misconduct, and insurance issues are areas on which providers need to keep a watchful eye, according to the article. If done right, however, using such companies as Lyft can offer a multitude of advantages. "While Brookdale manages a fleet of transportation services, Lyft is integral in giving our residents flexibility and independence at a moment’s notice," Dana Schroering, senior communications specialist at Brookdale, says in the article.

Lyft has sought out senior living providers and currently works with dozens nationwide. Gyre Renwick, vice president of Lyft Business, says the company's goal is to "supplement senior living providers' current capabilities with a better alternative and eventually work towards replacing all of their transportation needs over time as our capabilities grow."

Providers interested in working with a ridesharing company should enquire how the business vets its drivers and if background checks, vehicle inspections, and driving record checks are conducted—and if in-app photo identification of drivers are provided, says John Atkinson, a managing partner at the risk management firm of Willis Towers Watson. Atkinson also says that providers should ask to be listed as an additional insured on the company’s auto liability policy, along with documented evidence of this, according to the article.

Source: Tim Regan, Senior Housing News

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Wrongful Death Suit Filed after Elopement-related Death (Posted: 12/01/2017)

A resident of a Pennsylvania personal care facility who was found dead after eloping from the building did not have necessary precautions in place to prevent her from wandering, a wrongful death suit alleges.

The body of Audrey Penn, 77, was discovered in a roadside ditch three weeks after she wandered from Woodland Terrace at Oaks Senior Living Community, the article states. In addition to the allegations regarding the lack of preventative interventions, the suit claims facility staff waited for two hours to call police after discovering Penn was missing, according to the article. 

The suit alleges staff were not properly trained, and that the facility’s under-budgeting and understaffing” contributed to Penn’s death. The Pennsylvania Department of Human Services pulled the facility’s operating license for “gross incompetence, negligence and misconduct,” the article notes. In a letter contesting that order, a member of the facility’s counsel said that the employee responsible for not reporting Penn’s disappearance was immediately terminated and that two days before the incident, the same employee had been trained on what to do in case a resident went missing, according to the article.

Read the Advisen article.

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Thanksgiving Holiday (Posted: 11/23/2017)

To allow our employees the opportunity to enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday with their families, Pendulum will be closed Thursday, November 23, and Friday, November 24, 2017.  Normal business office hours will resume at 8:00 a.m. MST on Monday, November 27, 2017.

While the office is closed, some employees will have limited access to e-mail and voice mail; however, if you require immediate attention please contact Ric Henry.

Pendulum would like to thank you for your loyalty and continued support. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!

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Planning, Training, and Exercising are Key to Effective Disaster Management (Posted: 05/24/2013)

According to a disaster-planning expert, senior housing administrators and supervisors should focus on planning, training, and exercising when implementing a disaster plan at their facilities, McKnight’s reported.

“We would never expect an R.N. to walk into a job and nurse without any practice, but we do expect administrators and shift supervisors to be disaster managers with no training and one two-hour drill a year,” Keith F. Hansen, assistant director of the Center for Preparedness Education (CPE), told McKnight’s.

Hansen said that facilities should first ensure their plan addresses Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (SMC) and Joint Commission regulations. Staff should then be trained on the plan, and disaster drills should be conducted multiple times. Revisions should be made as necessary; if revisions are made, the aforementioned steps should be repeated, according to the article.

Hansen also said that while a plan to address a disaster is vital, just as important is a plan for post-disaster recovery—a process that can take up to three years. The key areas of focus for this plan are business continuity and behavioral health, the article stated.

“There's lots of psychological trauma that occurs in a disaster, especially if (a) facility has people with mental health or behavioral health issues. Disrupting that schedule can be very hard on people, so mental health is very important,” Hansen told McKnight’s.

Read the McKnight's article.