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2019 Important Conferences for Senior Housing Professionals (Posted: 06/27/2019)

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CDC sounds alarm over deadly drug-resistant salmonella (Posted: 08/22/2019)

A deadly strain of salmonella that has sickened more than 250 people may not respond to the antibiotics commonly prescribed to treat the foodborne infection, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report published on Thursday, the CDC said that from June 2018 to March 2019, 255 people in 32 states were infected with the strain, with 60 being hospitalized and two dying from the infection.
 
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Collapse of 75 jumbled entities leads to dissolution of senior care partnership (Posted: 08/14/2019)

A judge this week dissolved a partnership behind a network of nursing homes and assisted living facilities in several states, criticizing the majority owner’s lack of cooperation and the “complicated jumble of entities” through which he operated.

ELCM was a private-equity acquisition firm specializing in real estate and healthcare investment that had a presence in at least 10 states. But after having multiple facilities placed in receivership because of a failure to deposit rents, pay staff or provide critical resident services, several investors sued to have their partnership dissolved.

Source: McKnight's

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Verma: Trump Takes Nursing Home Safety Very Seriously as CMS Plots New Data-Based Oversight Efforts (Posted: 08/07/2019)

Leaders at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) continued their public push to improve nursing home safety and enforcement this week, laying out plans to mine data to root out bad actors — while also emphasizing that the initiative goes all the way to the top of the federal government

Source: Skilled Nursing News

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What is Legionnaires' disease? Atlanta hotel linked to outbreak of infection (Posted: 08/01/2019)

An outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease at the Sheraton Atlanta during the busy summer travel season is a reminder dangerous germs can lurk in hotel hot tubs, showers and air-conditioning units.

Health officials in Georgia said this week there are now 11 lab-confirmed cases and 55 probable cases of the rare, but serious, lung infection linked to the outbreak. No one has died.

Source: Today

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Terry Shull Joins Pendulum, LLC as Vice President Claim Services (Posted: 07/25/2019)

Pendulum, LLC is proud to announce the addition of Ms. Terry Shull to the company in the role of Vice President Claim Services.

Terry brings more than 30 years of liability claims experience to the Albuquerque-based risk management consulting firm, with most of that experience in long term care and health care professional liability. As part of the Pendulum Executive Team, Terry oversees all of Pendulum’s claims management programs and third-party administration operations. Pendulum’s claims management program offers boutique claims management, focusing solely on the aging services/post-acute continuum.

Source: PRWeb

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A nursing home chain grows too fast and collapses, and elderly and disabled residents pay the price (Posted: 07/24/2019)

NEW BEDFORD, Mass. — Once a week for two years, police Lt. Jeannine Pettiford had visited the nearby nursing home where her 52-year-old cousin with cerebral palsy lived. But on their daily phone call in early May, her cousin had bad news.

"I'm getting kicked out," he told her.

In disbelief, Pettiford asked to speak with a nurse, who told her there were rumors of closure. Her alarm rose when she visited the facility and saw nurses crying. The nursing home's owner, Skyline Healthcare, had told its staff there was no more money.

Source: NBC News

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BREAKING: CMS final rule allows arbitration agreements, proposes one-year delay of 3rd phase of Requirements of Participation (Posted: 07/17/2019)

The Centers for Medicare & Medication Services dropped a pair of bombshell announcements concerning nursing homes late Tuesday afternoon, including a proposal to delay implementation of phase three of the Requirements of Participation one year until November 28, 2020.

The agency also issued a final rule allowing pre-dispute arbitration agreements, but it will prohibit nursing homes from requiring residents to sign them as a condition for receiving care. It also will require providers to inform residents or their representatives that they do not have to sign a binding arbitration agreement.

Source: McKnight's 

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Nursing Home "Quality Measures" Do Not Reflect Quality of Nursing Home Care (Posted: 07/10/2019)

The federal website for information about nursing homes, Nursing Home Compare, reports information for each Medicare-certified and Medicaid-certified nursing facility in three categories – health inspections, staffing, and quality measures – as well as an overall score that combines the three domains.

Source: Center for Medicare Advocacy

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Embattled Skyline operators fined $85k for wage theft (Posted: 07/03/2019)

Failure to pay 106 employees and furnish payroll records to Massachusetts have led the state’s attorney general to cite the owner-operators of the defunct Skyline Healthcare with $85,000 in citations.

Source: McKnight's

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Lawsuit: Woman left inside Montgomery assisted living facility van (Posted: 06/27/2019)

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - The family of an 83-year-old woman has filed a lawsuit saying she suffered a heat stroke from being left in a assisted living facility’s van for six hours.

Source: WSFA News

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Patient dies from fecal transplant, FDA warns (Posted: 06/18/2019)

The FDA alerted healthcare providers June 13 that at least one patient has died after receiving a fecal transplant containing drug-resistant bacteria. 

Source: Becker's Hospital Review

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University of New Mexico researchers develop vaccine to possibly prevent Alzheimer's Disease (Posted: 06/12/2019)

As of now, a cure for Alzheimer’s Disease does not exist, but researchers at UNM believe they have found a way to prevent it. “I really wanted to take this as a challenge to see if we could develop any sort of treatment,” says Kiran Bhaskar.

Source: KRQE News

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Senators Release 'Secret' List of Troubled Nursing Homes Considered for Special Focus (Posted: 06/03/2019)

A bipartisan pair of U.S. senators on Monday released a previously undisclosed list of more than 400 nursing homes under consideration for placement on the federal government’s roster of properties with serious quality issues.

Source: Skilled Nursing News

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Claim seeks $45M for woman impregnated while in long-term care (Posted: 05/29/2019)

Lawyers for an incapacitated woman who had a baby inside a Phoenix long-term care facility have filed a $45 million notice of claim against Arizona. The 55-page claim lays the groundwork for a lawsuit. The woman’s family cites medical records in arguments that she was “violently and repeatedly raped” and may have been pregnant before.

Source: McKnight's

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Why Chicago's confirmed measles case is especially concerning (Posted: 05/20/2019)

Chicago reported its first measles case — and the second confirmed in Cook County — May 19, reports the Chicago Tribune. The confirmed cases come less than two weeks after a study identified the county as most vulnerable for experiencing a measles outbreak.

Source: Becker's Hospital Review

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Lawsuits against senior living communities one the rise (Posted: 05/07/2019)

As the senior population in the U.S. increases, so does the need for more and more senior living communities. And with more senior living communities come more claims and lawsuits raised against them, so when they lose – it’s down to insurers to pay for the damages.

One of these cases involves a 103-year-old resident of a Sunrise Senior Living facility in Willowbrook, Illinois – Ruth Smith, who gets by with the help of a walker. One year ago, she went on a field trip to see a movie when she fell down concrete steps in the theater, leading to her death six weeks later. Her estate filed a lawsuit against the Sunrise Senior Living facility, claiming that aides didn’t provide adequate attention.

Assisted Living Facilities

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Nursing home sued over strangling of 76-year-old patient (Posted: 05/02/2019)

A Connecticut nursing home is being sued over the strangling death of a 76-year-old patient who police say was killed by her 81-year-old boyfriend in November.

The Connecticut Law Tribune reports the lawsuit filed Monday by the estate of Patricia Ann Way says Autumn Lake Healthcare at Bucks Hill in Waterbury should have known about her boyfriend’s violent history and failed to protect her. The estate’s lawyer says the lawsuit seeks “at least seven figures” in damages.

AP News

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Provider advocates say 'abrupt' changes to Nursing Home Compare are confusing consumers (Posted: 04/26/2019)

Industry trade groups slammed changes to Nursing Home Compare that went into effect on Wednesday, concerned that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is “moving the goalposts” for providers.

CMS’s switches to the ratings system caused about one-third of skilled nursing facilities’ ratings to drop drastically overnight without any corresponding dip in quality or staffing levels, the American Health Care Association estimated. 

Source: McKnight's

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Lethal Plans: When Seniors Turn To Suicide In Long-Term Care (Posted: 04/18/2019)

When Larry Anders moved into the Bay at Burlington nursing home in late 2017, he wasn’t supposed to be there long. At 77, the stoic Wisconsin machinist had just endured the death of his wife of 51 years and a grim new diagnosis: throat cancer, stage 4.

His son and daughter expected him to stay two weeks, tops, before going home to begin chemotherapy. From the start, they were alarmed by the lack of care at the center, where, they said, staff seemed indifferent, if not incompetent — failing to check on him promptly, handing pills to a man who couldn’t swallow.

Source: KHN | Kaiser Health News. 

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Multi-tiered licensing system proposed for assisted living communities (Posted: 02/12/2019)

Assisted living communities in Minnesota would be licensed via a new multi-tiered system under a proposal that state Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm shared during a state senate hearing last week.

Draft language of a bill that would establish assisted living licensure should be ready in February, she said. The proposal has the backing of two organizations representing providers in the state.

If passed, Minnesota reportedly would become the last state to license assisted living settings. Current state law classifies assisted living communities, where more than 60,000 state residents live, as “housing with services” and requires registration instead of licensure.

Source: McKnight's Senior Living 

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How to protect a loved one from abuse or sexual assault in a nursing home (Posted: 01/23/2019)

It's the stuff of nightmares: Your loved one, who you thought was being well cared for in a long-term care facility or nursing home, was physically abused, raped or even impregnated. And you had no idea it was happening.

The family of a 23-year-old developmentally disabled women faced that horrific reality last February, after authorities discovered signs of sexual assault and a broken hip while she was living at a healthcare facility in Pensacola, Florida. The violent assault resulted in a pregnancy and later miscarriage, according to a lawsuit filed Thursday.
 
This latest attack follows the news of the "surprising"birth of a baby born last month to a 29-year old woman in a vegetative state in Phoenix, Arizona. According to a 911 call, staff at the Hacienda Healthcare facility had "no idea she was pregnant."
 
Source: CNN
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Hospitalist Company Fined $500,000 for HIPAA Breach (Posted: 12/14/2018)

A company that provides contracted physicians to hospitals and nursing homes will pay a $500,000 penalty related to a breach and not having a business associate agreement (BAA) in place, Healthcare Info Security reported.

In late 2011, Advanced Care Hospitalists (ACH) engaged an individual who “provided medical billing services using (Doctor's First Choice Billings Inc.)’s name and website, but allegedly without any knowledge or permission of First Choice's owner,” according to the article. In 2014, a Florida hospital notified ACH that confidential patient information, including names, birth dates, and Social Security numbers, was viewable on the First Choice website.

An investigation revealed that, in violation of HIPAA laws, ACH never entered into a BAA with the individual who provided the billing services. ACH filed a breach notification report with the Office for Civil Rights; after a supplemental report was made, it was determined that more than 9,200 patients could have been impacted by the breach, the article states.

For more information on HIPAA breaches, visit your online resource center. And please share this news with your Administrator and Billing Office Manager.

Source: Healthcare Info Security

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In Wake of Recent Events, ASPR Encourages Providers to Review Active Shooter Response Plans (Posted: 11/30/2018)

After a deadly shooting at a Chicago hospital on Nov. 21, the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) urged healthcare providers to review their preparation plans for active shooter events, McKnight’s reported.

The ASPR specifically encouraged providers to review the organization’s planning and response guide as well as a bevy of other resources, according to the article.

In an email, the ASPR stated that the while such an event can’t be predicted, awareness can be improved. “It is critical for you to prepare your facility and staff as thoroughly as possible for the threat of an active shooter through your emergency response planning,” the email states.

For more information on active shooter training, visit your online resource center. And please share this news with your Administrator, Plant Services/Maintenance Director, and Director of Nursing/Resident Services Director.

Source: McKnight's Long-Term Care News

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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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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.