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⭒ News & Notes Archive

July 2015

In this Issue


CMS Proposes Changes to the Nursing Home Requirements of Participation

On July 16, 2015, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) published proposed regulations in the Federal Register to revise the federal Requirements of Participation for nursing homes. The proposed rules are the first major rewrite of the Requirements of Participation since they were published in 1991 to implement the Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987. Although CMS claims the proposed changes will modernize the Requirements, CANHR is concerned that some of the changes would be harmful. Key issues that need modernizing, such as staffing requirements and chemical restraint protections, are little improved in the proposed regulations. The proposed rules have a 60-day comment period. Comments are due on September 14, 2015.


AB 348 (Brown) Moves Forward with Strong Support

On July 15, 2015, the Senate Health Committee unanimously passed AB 348 (Brown), a CANHR sponsored bill that would set timelines for complaint investigations. The bill has been amended to focus on timelines for investigations of facility reports of abuse and neglect now that the Governor has signed SB 75, a budget bill that sets a 60-day timeline for completing investigations of public complaints effective on July 1, 2018. AB 348 would impose the same timelines (60 days) to complete investigations of facility reports of abuse and neglect effective July 1, 2018. AB 348 is headed to the Senate Appropriations Committee, where it will be heard in August.

CANHR is sponsoring several important bills this legislative session, which are progressing through the legislature. For more information, please visit http://www.canhr.org/legislation


The Shut Out: Why Have Humboldt County’s Skilled Nursing Facilities Stopped Accepting Patients

On July 9, 2015, the North Coast Journal published a lengthy article with the above title that examines why some Humboldt County residents are being sent to Oregon and other counties in California when they need nursing home care. The article reports that five of six nursing homes controlling 449 of 457 skilled nursing beds in Humboldt County have been refusing to admit local residents needing skilled nursing care despite the availability of beds, apparently in pursuit of financial concessions from a local Medi-Cal managed care plan. The five nursing homes are owned by Shlomo Rechnitz, California’s largest nursing home operator. The North Coast Journal article provides a fascinating look at the differing interests of the powerful and the powerless and raises important questions about why government regulators have allowed an operator to gain near monopoly powers at the expense of Medi-Cal beneficiaries who need care.


Governor Gives Nursing Home Operators Five-Year Rate Increase with No Staffing Increase

On June 24, 2015, Governor Brown signed into law AB 119, a budget bill that extends the AB 1629 Medi-Cal rate system for freestanding skilled nursing facility by giving operators annual compounded 3.62 percent rate increases through July 2020.  The Administration rejected CANHR’s call to tie the rate increases to comparable increases in California’s minimum staffing requirements for nursing homes. Over the five-year period, California nursing homes will receive about $2.4 billion in additional Medi-Cal payments due to this action.


Assisted Living Inspection Reports Now Available On-Line

Checking on the regulatory performance of assisted living facilities just got a lot easier. Community Care Licensing, the division of the Department of Social Services (DSS) that inspects assisted living facilities and responds to complaints, is now posting its facility evaluation reports on its Care Facility Search website. While it appears that only recent reports (since 4/15/2015) are available, current and prospective residents and their family members should greatly benefit from this new information about facility performance. Prior to the posting of reports, people had to travel to remote DSS regional offices to review a facility’s paper file.


CMS Launches Star Rating System for Home Health Agencies

On July 16, 2015, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) for the first time published star ratings on Home Health Agencies on its Home Health Compare website.  The new website summarizes data about Home Health Agencies, and uses a star rating system to show consumers how the performance of a home health agency compares to other agencies.
Read more
Click here to search for a Home Health Agency


L.A. County Approves New Contract with Troubled Nursing Home Inspection Program

Amid criticism of past oversight efforts, Los Angeles County supervisors recently voted to approve a new contract with the state to realign nursing home inspection and oversight duties to better manage a chronic backlog of investigations into complaints of abuse and neglect.
Read more


The 2015 United States of Aging Survey – Top Concerns of Older Americans 

The fourth annual United States of Aging Survey finds that older Americans’ concerns about their later years differ from those of the professionals who support them. The findings showed that older Americans’ top concerns were maintaining their physical health (40 percent), memory loss (35 percent) and maintaining their mental health (32 percent); while the professionals’ top concerns for older adults were protection from financial scams (43 percent),  access to affordable housing (38 percent) and memory loss (38 percent).
Click here for the full report


Free Consumer Guide on Resolving Nursing Home Problems from Justice in Aging

Many common nursing home practices are, in fact, illegal.  In order to receive the best possible quality of care, a resident or resident’s family member should be familiar with the protections of the federal Nursing Home Reform Law, and understand how to use the law effectively.  
Here is a resource that can help consumers and advocates alike navigate the legalities of nursing home practices, and offer practical tips on how to resolve issues that come up. Our friends at Justice in Aging have updated their guide, 20 Common Nursing Home Problems and How to Resolve Them, and they are making it available for FREE download to anyone who needs it.
Note: This guide is based on Federal law and is not specific to California. If you are experiencing any of these issues, contact CANHR to find out if California has stronger protections, particularly for a refusal to accept Medi-Cal.


Upcoming Events

Time for Transformation – Collaboration between Adult Protective Services (APS), Legal Services, and Civil Litigators

Wednesday, September 16th, 2015
1:00 pm- 4:00pm
The Institute on Aging
3575 Geary Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94118

3.0 hours of MCLE credits are available

Sponsored by: CANHR in partnership with the Institute on Aging
Facilitated by: William Benson, National Policy Director for the National Adult Protective Services Association

Description:
The training will include information on how APS can identify and appropriately refer cases of financial elder abuse. Legal services providers will learn how these cases can generate attorneys’ fees as well as build capacity among attorney staff.


Medi-Cal & Medi-Cal Recovery Training in Sacramento

If you are working in nursing home admissions, hospital discharge planning or with elders in the community, it is imperative that you have current, accurate information about Medi-Cal Eligibility and Recovery. This training will provide a three-hour overview of the application process, eligibility, and avoiding Medi-Cal Recovery.

Friday, September 18, 2015
10:00am-1:00pm
California State Railroad Museum, 125 “I” Street, Stanford Room, Sacramento, CA 95814
CEU Credits: 3 Hours
Price: $30 regular  ($25 for existing SWAP Members and Students)
Presenter: Pauline Mosher, CANHR Program Manager
This is not an attorney training.