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⭒ News & Notes Archive

April 2015

In this Issue

As Nursing Homes Chase Lucrative Patients, Quality of Care is Said to Lag

On April 14, 2015, the New York Times reported that due to nursing homes’ cutthroat race for lucrative Medicare dollars, many persons who need long term care funded by Medi-Cal are being left behind. The article quotes Tony Chicotel, CANHR’s staff attorney, describing how the nursing home “focus on Medicare, Medicare, Medicare has pushed out people in the custodial care world” and has led to an epidemic of resident evictions when their Medicare coverage ends.
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Justice in Aging Issues Policy Brief on Failures in California’s Assisted Living System

Justice in Aging has issued the third in a series of policy briefs exploring how California’s current assisted living system addresses residents’ health care needs, and how the system could be modified to better serve residents. This policy issue brief, “The Problem: Can You Spot the Legal Violations in this Job Announcement?”, discusses the lack of quality of care standards regarding the administration of medication.
Click here to read the policy issue brief

CANHR Bills Move Forward

Legislative policy committees heard and passed most of the CANHR sponsored bills with unanimous support in April. Action now moves to the Appropriations Committees, which will hear three of the bills during May.

SB 33 (Hernandez), which includes the most important Medi-Cal Recovery reforms since 1993, passed the Senate Health Committee with an 8-0 vote on March 25th. The Senate Appropriations Committee will hear SB 33 on May 11.

AB 348 (Brown), which would require timely nursing home complaint investigations, received unanimous support from the Assembly Health Committee on April 7 and the Assembly Aging and Long Term Care Committee on April 21. It moves on to the Assembly Appropriations Committee, where it be heard in May on a date to be determined.

AB 601 (Eggman), which strengthens ownership disclosure and suitability requirements for residential care facilities for the elderly (RCFEs), passed the Assembly Human Services Committee with a 7-0 vote on April 28. AB 601 will be heard by the Assembly Appropriations Committee in May on a date to be determined.

AB 927 (McCarty) the Nursing Home Ownership Disclosure Act, has been turned into a two-year bill and will not be heard until early 2016.

AB 1629 Extension via Budget Trailer Language
The Administration’s proposal to extend AB 1629, the Medi-Cal reimbursement system for skilled nursing facilities, was heard by the Senate Budget Subcommittee #3 on Health and Human Services on April 23 and left open for further consideration. CANHR is urging the Legislature and the Administration to tie any extension to an increase in California’s minimum staffing requirements.

You can help by sending letters of support to the committees and expressing support at the upcoming hearings. CANHR thanks the many organizations and individuals who have already submitted support letters on legislation we are sponsoring this year.
Click here for more information on CANHR’s 2015 legislation and how you can help.

CMS Proposes Rules on Staffing Data Collection for Nursing Homes

On April 20, 2015, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued proposed rules on several matters, including updated Medicare payment rates to SNFs for FY 2016, proposed quality measures for SNFs, the SNF Value-Based Purchasing Program, and Staffing Data Collection. The staffing data collection is of particular interest because it is a step toward implementing the long delayed requirement in the Affordable Care Act that nursing homes electronically submit payroll-based staffing information. CMS is proposing to amend the administration requirements for nursing facilities at 42 CFR §483.75 by requiring facilities to electronically submit to CMS complete and accurate direct care staffing and census information in a uniform format specified by CMS on at least a quarterly basis. CMS is accepting comments through June 19, 2015.

LTCCC Issues National Report on State Survey Agency Performance

On April 21, 2015, the Long Term Care Community Coalition (LTCCC), a nursing home resident advocacy organization based in New York, issued a report evaluating state survey agency performance nationwide from an individual resident perspective. The report, Safeguarding NH Residents & Program Integrity; A National Review of State Survey Agency Performance, compares nursing home citation and fine rates for each state. It finds that there is little or no punishment when nursing homes fail to provide care that meets public standards, even when such failures result in significant suffering. California was called out for dishonorable mention in the report because it is tied for last with Alabama in citing nursing homes for causing harm to residents. Barely one percent of California nursing home violations are classified as harming residents, allowing operators to ignore the law without regulatory consequences.

CANHR Publications Now Available for Free Download

“A Consumer’s Guide to Financial Considerations and Medi-Cal Eligibility” This book outlines Medi-Cal eligibility requirements, including discussion of protection of assets, including the home, when a spouse enters a nursing home. Books available in English, Spanish and Chinese.

“Elder Financial Abuse Restitution Guide – How To Get Your Money Back”
Click here for free download.

Upcoming Events

Estate Planning for Long Term Care Spring 2015 Attorney Online Training Series*

Starting May 6, CANHR will offer a series of four webinars on Medi-Cal Basics, Special Needs Trusts in the Era of SSA’s Challenges, and Understanding VA Aid and Attendance Benefits.
Click here for more information and to register.
* For private attorneys (not legal services)