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⭒ News & Notes Archive

February 2017

In this Issue


Upcoming Events

California Legislators Introduce Many Bills on Long Term Care

It’s that time of year again. California legislators introduced hundreds of bills prior to the February 2017 deadline, including a number addressing long-term care or elder abuse. Some bills are worthy of support, others not.

Federal Protections for Nursing Home Residents Under Attack

Longstanding federal safeguards, rights and benefits for nursing home residents are in jeopardy due to various proposals by the new Congress, Trump Administration and the nursing home industry. Proposals under consideration would gut or scale back regulations governing nursing homes, end government oversight by turning over nursing home inspections to private accreditation agencies, slash Medicaid funding and coverage by turning Medicaid into a block grant, and diminish critical protections in the Affordable Care Act and other federal laws.
The nursing home industry wasted no time in trying to cash in on the new Administration. A December 15, 2016 letter from the American Health Care Association (AHCA) to then President-Elect Trump describes its shameless proposals to repeal the new federal nursing home regulations and give even more federal money to nursing home operators. AHCA incredulously claims that poverty and overregulation have brought the nursing home industry to the brink of failure.

Immense Wealth of Nursing Home Operators on Display

The National Union of Healthcare Workers (NUHW) issued a report on February 16, 2017 that California’s largest nursing home operator, Shlomo Rechnitz, has been globetrotting in a luxurious multi-million dollar jet he acquired in 2013. The report – Misplaced Priorities at 40,000 Feet – describes connections between the Rechnitz corporations that own and lease the jet and his nursing home business, Brius Healthcare. Sal Rosselli, the President of NUHW, has called for state authorities “to audit Brius and its subsidiaries to determine whether Rechnitz is siphoning off public funds intended for nursing home residents.”

CNN Story Reveals Horrific Sexual Abuse in Nursing Homes

On February 22, 2017, CNN released a series of disturbing stories about sexual abuse in nursing homes. The main story, Sick, Dying and Raped in America’s Nursing Homes, describes shocking cases of abuse throughout the nation and tells how residents are commonly disbelieved and neglected when they report sexual assaults. A video report, Rape in America’s nursing homes, takes an in-depth look at a nursing home rape investigation. Another story follows the investigation of a serial rapist in a North Carolina nursing home. The daughter of a rape survivor penned a wrenching essay about her family’s experience.
Together, the reports describe a complete breakdown of the systems that are supposed to protect nursing home residents from sexual abuse. While difficult to read and watch, the stories bring sexual abuse in long-term care settings into the light of public discourse. No one should have to live in fear of sexual abuse.

Court Orders Corrective Action Plan in Jimmo Case

February 1, 2017 decision by the judge overseeing the settlement in Jimmo v. Burwell – the “Improvement Standard” case – ordered the Secretary of Health and Human Services to carry out a Corrective Action Plan to remedy the Department’s noncompliance with the settlement.  The Corrective Action Plan requires a new CMS webpage dedicated to Jimmo, a published Corrective Statement disavowing the improvement standard, a posting of Frequently Asked Questions, and new training for contractors making coverage decisions. The Center for Medicare Advocacy has posted the CMS court-approved Corrective Statement on its website.

Antipsychotics Found to Harm Hospice Patients with Delirium

A February 16, 2017 article in Neurology Today takes aim at the harmful misuse use of antipsychotic drugs to treat symptoms of delirium for patients receiving hospice care. The article, Antipsychotics Found Ineffective for Patients with Delirium in Palliative Care, is centered on a recent study in which Haldol and Risperdal were found to worsen delirium and increase mortality when given to hospice patients. Patients given a placebo fared better. The authors conclusion: “Antipsychotic drugs should not be added to manage specific symptoms of delirium that are known to be associated with distress in patients receiving palliative care who have mild to moderately severe delirium.” Non-pharmacological approaches were recommended.

Advocacy Resources on the New Federal Nursing Home Regulations

Consumer Voice, Justice in Aging and the Center for Medicare Advocacy have teamed up to publish advocacy materials and presentations on the new federal nursing home regulations. The resources include summaries of key changes, a side-by-side comparison of the revised & previous regulations, issue briefs, a webinar, and links to CMS memos on implementation of the regulations.

New Guidance on Handling Influenza Outbreaks in California Long-Term Care Facilities

February 15, 2017 stakeholder meeting held by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) included a presentation by Erin Epson, MD, of its Healthcare-Associated Infections Program on the impact of widespread flu outbreaks in California nursing homes this winter. Dr. Epson reported that some California hospitals were full and not able to admit new patients because long-term care facilities were not readmitting hospitalized residents with the flu when they were medically ready to return. She emphasized that nursing homes should be prepared to care for residents safely during flu season and directed providers to updated guidance by CDPH on preventing and managing influenza outbreaks in nursing homes and a recent All Facility Letter on this subject.

Upcoming Events

SF State Genontology Program 30th Anniversary Dinner and Reception

Honoring State Senator Mark Leno – Distinguished Long-Term Care Advocate Award
Wednesday, April 5, 2017
Seven Hills Conference Center at SF State

May 2017 Los Angeles Social Worker Training

“What You Should Know about Long Term Care in California” 
Medi-Cal Eligibility & the New Medi-Cal Recovery Laws

For social workers, geriatric care mangers, admission and discharge planners and other long term care professionals. 
Presented by: Pat McGinnis, Executive Director CANHR
May 5, 2017
10am – 1pm
Magnolia Place Family Center
1910 Magnolia Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90007