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⭒ News & Notes Archive

July 2018

In this Issue


Leg Alert! AB 2850 Weakens Nurse Aid Training Requirements

Call your State Senator and urge them to vote no on AB 2850. The bill permits nursing home certified nurses aides to obtain all 60 of their classroom training through on­line, living room learning. Please see CANHR’s infographic and webpage for more information.



It’s Almost Like a Ghost Town, Most Nursing Homes Overstated Staffing for
Years

So says the title of an eye-opening New York Times article published on July 7, 2018 which describes new federal data that shows most nursing homes had fewer nurses and caregiving staff than they had reported to the government for years. The article, and versions of it posted on Kaiser Health News and California Healthline, confirm what has long been known about nursing home staffing: there are big fluctuations in day-to-day staffing; weekend staffing is especially low; nurses are in short supply; many nursing homes operate without any RNs on some days in violation of the law, and nursing homes often inflate staffing levels they report to the government. It also concluded that the federal government’s staffing ratings on Nursing Home Compare continue to exaggerate staffing performance and mask the thin and erratic levels of people working from day-to-day.
 
Additionally, the Times published an interactive map that shows reported staffing levels at over 14,000 U.S. nursing homes, as did Kaiser Health News.
 


Department of Public Health Adding Another Loophole Allowing Nursing Homes to Evade Minimum Staffing Requirements

The Department of Public Health held two stakeholder meetings in July on regulations it is developing to give skilled nursing facilities a second way to circumvent California’s new minimum staffing requirements. Effective July 1, 2018, the minimum number of direct care nursing hours per resident per day (hrpd) increased from 3.2 to 3.5 hrpd, with at least 2.4 of these hours provided by CNAs. As of July 18, 2018, 337 skilled nursing facilities had applied for a waiver  – known as a workforce shortage waiver – pursuant to a procedure the Department established through an All Facility Letter. The additional waiver system the Department is developing – known as a patient acuity waiver – would allow nursing homes to evade the 2.4 CNA hours requirement by claiming it will serve resident needs.
Read CANHR’s July 25, 2018 letter opposing the patient acuity waiver.
  


Raging Wildfires Cause Mass Evacuations of Assisted Living Residents

Residents of many assisted living facilities and several nursing homes were evacuated in late July due to multiple wildfires threatening their safety. The vast and devastating CARR fire in Shasta County caused mass evacuations of people living in and near Redding, including residents of dozens of long term care facilities. The Community Care Licensing Division of the California Department of Social Services has posted facility-specific relocation information for assisted living facilities on its website, as has the Department of Public Health for nursing homes and other types of health facilities.


Vulnerabilities in the Medicare Hospice Program Affect Quality Care and Program Integrity: An OIG Portfolio

In a recent NPR article regarding U.S. Hospice Care, Ina Jaffe reveals misbehavior within hospice services. Jaffe states, “Hospice providers are bilking Medicare and neglecting patients.” While Hospice Care is designed to alleviate the pain of those who are terminally ill, a recent federal report stated that in 2012 alone, Medicare paid $268 million on unneeded expenses. By seeking out patients in nursing homes or assisted living, signing up patients who are not terminally ill and charging patients for high-level care in exchange for minimal effort, Hospice Care has proven to have unethical practices.
Read the NPR Health News article here.
Download the portfolio here.

CANHR on the Move

 CANHR Staff Attorney Jody Spiegel training HICAP Orange County staff and volunteers on Long Term Care Medi-Cal.