Top 10 LTC news stories of 2012

The long-term care industry was buffeted by forceful winds of change in 2012. Regulatory, political, economic and societal transitions tested providers’ mettle as the LTC landscape struggles to evolve and adapt. Technological advances and an improving senior housing market were bright spots in a busy news year.

Here are 10 of the top news stories that impacted your industry in 2012. Click on the titles to read Long-Term Living’s coverage.

The Affordable Care Act is upheld by the Supreme Court

The much-debated and contentious Affordable Care Act was upheld by the Supreme Court. Integrated care delivery, accountable care organizations and hospital readmission issues are driving healthcare models and the LTC industry will be a key player in this new era.  

Barrack Obama retains the presidency

The Obama Administration now has four more years to further the healthcare initiatives begun under the 2010 Affordable Care Act. Meanwhile, LTC leaders anxiously wait and watch as political leaders spar over Medicare and Medicaid funding in their effort to resolve budget and healthcare policy issues as part of the so-called fiscal cliff negotiations.

Recovery in the seniors housing market

In spite of a fragile U.S. economy, a volatile presidential election, the looming fiscal cliff and healthcare reform pressures, the senior housing market showed signs of recovery and growth this year, especially in the needs-driven assisted living and skilled nursing sectors.

National nursing home Quality Measures: 34 and counting

Quality Measures are growing in use by surveyors and the public to evaluate a skilled nursing facility’s care outcomes, making them a high priority for LTC administrators and care teams.

Medicare contractor audits target SNFs

SNFs are targeted for audits by Medicare contractors and should expect a higher level of attention than in the past. The Office of Inspector General’s (OIGs) list of potential problem areas has become known as the OIG “hit list.”

Antipsychotics misuse by SNFs comes under fire

A stunning 99 percent of nursing home records examined by the OIG failed to meet at least one of the federally required assessment or documentation steps for administering antipsychotic drugs under Medicare/Medicaid. The OIG has urged the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to step up its monitoring of antipsychotic drug use and to take strong action against nursing homes that are not in compliance with the regulations. CMS efforts already are underway to reduce the unnecessary use of antipsychotic drugs in nursing homes, especially in relation to residents with dementia.

Technology adoption grows with interoperability and team buy-in

From the growing adoption of electronic medical records (EMRs) and other IT initiatives to resident care, independent living and monitoring solutions, technology is slowly but surely making inroads in long-term care. Technology projects planned with the input of all LTC departments have the best staff buy-in and training engagement.

Alzheimer’s research and memory care services escalate

Ground breaking research and new treatment options for Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias were at the forefront of both the LTC industry’s and general public’s interest this year as the growing number of elderly swell the population ranks.

OIG reports rampant SNF billing errors, upcoding

A federal report released by the OIG in November claimed that nursing homes are overcharging Medicare about $1.5 billion annually. The report targeted physical, speech and occupational therapy and ADLs.

Alternative, emerging LTC models expand market opportunities

Innovative service models—CCRCs without walls, onsite adult day care and at-home care—are expanding market opportunities for LTC providers who must be nimble and creative to survive and thrive going forward in 2013 and beyond.

Topics: Facility management , Regulatory Compliance