Nursing home star ratings are misleading and disingenuous, according to a recent analysis comparing ratings with quality measures alone. More than a thousand nursing homes nationally with high overall ratings had only one or two stars in quality measures, which could point to some serious health implications for residents. Continue reading
Serious problems at nursing homes are often easy to conceal. That is, unless you specifically dig for patterns of fraud, abuse, or misconduct. That’s exactly what award-winning Boston Globe journalist Kay Lazar did to uncover a pattern of high profits for the owners, while complaints and problems mounted.
In a series of gripping stories, Lazar provided both micro and macro views of complex and potentially dangerous situations in nursing homes purchased by fast-growing Synergy Health Centers. She explored how failures in the Massachusetts state licensing system hurt families and how state regulators failed to perform the most basic checks on company executives and company finances before granting licenses. Continue reading
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) thinks Indiana University may be on to something when it comes to more effective nursing home care. It recently announced a second round of funding for Project OPTIMISTIC, which stands for Optimizing Patient Transfers, Impacting Medical Quality and Improving Symptoms: Transforming Institutional Care. Continue reading
A new survey of state laws around dementia training reveals a patchwork of requirements and standards across settings, professional licensure and personnel. It found that existing laws and training are not keeping up with the growing needs of people who are cognitively impaired.
Potentially Avoidable Hospitalizations (PAH) among nursing home residents are costly, expose residents to additional health risks and exact a toll on patients and families. Many of these readmissions occur after hours or on weekends — when there is no physician or nurse practitioner readily available.
PAHs are hospitalizations that could have been avoided because the condition could have been prevented or treated outside of an inpatient hospital setting. One skilled nursing home chain is using a novel telemedicine program to bring board-certified physicians to the patient bedside, providing two-way video communication to assess, diagnosis and minimize readmissions. It may also save the health system hundreds of thousands of dollars every year. Continue reading