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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.