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AHCA, NCAL Ready to Work With New President, Congress on LTC Solutions<p>​The American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) congratulated President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris on their inauguration into office, declaring the long term and post-acute care profession is ready to work with the new administration and Congress to find solutions to issues like COVID-19 vaccine distribution.</p><p>“We congratulate President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris on their inauguration, and we look forward to working with the new administration and 117th Congress to develop meaningful solutions for the challenges long term care providers face—many of which have been magnified by the pandemic,” said Mark Parkinson, president and chief executive officer of AHCA/NCAL.</p><p>“There is still an immediate crisis in front of us. Long term care providers are working with pharmacies and state officials to help administer life-saving vaccines swiftly to residents and staff, and we are hopeful we have reached a turning point in our fight against the virus,” he said. <br>However, with record-breaking numbers of COVID cases among the general population and in long term care facilities, “we cannot let our guard down,” Parkinson said. </p><p>“Lawmakers must continue to ensure that long term care facilities are made a priority for the resources they need to protect our most vulnerable citizens and our health care heroes on the frontlines.”</p><p>At the same time, the nursing care profession must reflect on the lessons learned throughout the pandemic and apply them toward strengthening the health care system. </p><p>“We will work collaboratively with the Biden Administration and members of Congress to achieve our goals and create a better future for our nation’s seniors,&quot; Parkinson said.<br></p>2021-01-20T05:00:00Z<img alt="" src="/Breaking-News/PublishingImages/740%20x%20740/white_house_3.jpg" style="BORDER&#58;0px solid;" />COVID-19Patrick ConnoleAssociation leader says there is still a crisis, with record-breaking numbers of COVID cases among the general population and within the facilities.
Fourth Quarter 2020 Sees Record Low Occupancy for Senior Housing<p>Senior housing occupancy decreased 1.3 percentage points in the fourth quarter of 2020 to 80.7 percent, a record low, according to new data from NIC MAP® Data Service (NIC MAP) provided by the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing &amp; Care (NIC).</p><p>Since the first quarter of 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic began, occupancy fell by 6.8 percentage points.</p><p>“Senior housing occupancy declines were less pronounced in the fourth quarter than the previous two quarters, though the fourth quarter decline is still quite large from a historic perspective,” said NIC’s chief economist, Beth Burnham Mace. “The surge in COVID-19 cases following Thanksgiving and Christmas suggests further disruption lies ahead. That said, the recent distribution of the vaccines should soon provide some relief.”</p><p>NIC data show large disparities between occupancy rates across metropolitan markets. For instance, San Jose, Calif. (88.5 percent), San Francisco (86.9 percent), and Seattle (84.8 percent) had the highest occupancy rates of the 31 metropolitan markets that make up NIC MAP’s Primary Markets, while Houston (73.5 percent), Cleveland (76.6 percent), and Miami (76.7 percent) recorded the lowest.</p><p>NIC said assisted living occupancy fell 1.3 percentage points to 77.7 percent in the fourth quarter, and independent living occupancy dropped 1.4 percentage points to 83.5 percent. Since March, assisted living and independent living occupancy have fallen by 7.4 and 6.2 percentage points, respectively.</p><p>“The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted move-ins and move-outs across senior living properties,” said Chuck Harry, chief operating officer of NIC. “Move-ins slowed as operators enacted moratoriums to keep residents safe and as safety protocols limited new leasing activity, while move-outs have been affected as residents moved to higher-acuity care settings.”</p><p>Separately, inventory growth slowed sharply for assisted living with 1,626 units added in the Primary Markets, the fewest since the third quarter of 2013.</p><p><a href="https&#58;//info.nic.org/nic-map-4q20-market-fundamentals">Click here </a>for the Market Fundamentals report.</p>2021-01-14T05:00:00Z<img alt="" src="/Breaking-News/PublishingImages/740%20x%20740/0920_News1.jpg" style="BORDER&#58;0px solid;" />Patrick ConnoleNIC data show large disparities between occupancy rates across metropolitan markets.
Telehealth a Silver Lining in Pandemic<p><span></span>Since the pandemic began, telehealth services—specifically meeting with physicians online—have been a time saver for&#160;one Massachusetts provider.&#160;In &quot;The Telehealth Phenomenon,&quot; learn how providers have made changes to protect residents and keep care running smoothly, learning lessons and seeing benefits along the way.&#160;To read more, go to <em>Provider's </em>just<em> </em>released first digital issue <a href="https&#58;//pagepro.mydigitalpublication.com/publication/?m=63330&amp;i=687740&amp;p=1">here.</a></p><p></p>2021-01-12T05:00:00Z<img alt="" src="/Monthly-Issue/2021/January/PublishingImages/telehealth-0121.jpg" style="BORDER&#58;0px solid;" />COVID-19;CaregivingAmy MendozaIn its first ever digital issue, Provider reports on how COVID-19 has changed the supply and demand of telehealth services in long term and post-acute care.
Provider-led Managed Care Continues to Attract Long Term Care Participation<p>Despite the turmoil caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, long term and post-acute care providers are continuing to increase their presence in the Medicare Advantage (MA) marketplace by forming on their own or in collaborative arrangements, so-called Special Needs Plans (SNPs), which allow providers more control of the care management of residents who benefit from an increased clinical presence allowed for under such health plans.</p><p>This trend is documented in a new report commissioned by the American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) and written by ATI Advisory.</p><p>Findings in the report include that long term care provider-led SNPs are one of the most promising risk models to emerge from the federal push to delegate risk to providers. The report said at their best, “they combine enhanced primary care with residential long term care [LTC] to reverse the revolving door between nursing homes and assisted living and emergency rooms and inpatient hospitalizations. This is better for residents, families, and the Medicare program.”</p><p>Anne Tumlinson, founder and chief executive officer of ATI Advisory, tells Provider the market seems to be embracing these provider-led I-SNPs, which is shorthand for Institutional-Special Needs Plans. In fact, the report said LTC provider-led I-SNPs grew from 9 percent of all I-SNPs offered in 2015 to 33 percent in 2020. Follow-up analysis shows the share growing further to almost 37 percent in 2021. <br>&#160;<br>To delve into the trend, ATI studied three LTC provider-led I-SNP plans, with average membership varying from 269 to 3,086 and time-in-market varying from fewer than five years to 16 years. The plans are offered by PruittHealth, Elmbrook Home, and Senior Select Partners. </p><p>Tumlinson said at their core, the three plans worked well because the I-SNP has taken on the full financial risk for the resident members. “This creates a degree of financial alignment with delivery of care that works with families and the members,” she says.</p><p>This alignment of care is vital and includes the need for a skilled nurse practitioner (NP) to carry out the health plan’s goals of keeping residents as healthy as possible in a proactive manner.</p><p>“Being at risk for the total cost of care gives the nursing home providers the ability to invest in all of the things that they truly need to do,” Tumlinson says.</p><p>Even though the pandemic has tested this model, given the higher costs of care necessary, Jill Sumner, AHCA/NCAL vice president of population health management, says interest among LTC providers has not waned.</p><p>“There is still a lot of interest and growth. Financially, it has been very hard on plans that were hit hard by COVID, because hospitalization costs can be quite expensive and were not budgeted for,” she explains. “But we also have heard loud and clear that without this model providers would not have been able to weather this storm as well as they have from a clinical perspective.” </p><p>Among the key highlights in the report are outlines of what providers need to do to have the best chance at being successful in the I-SNP universe. These requirements, the report said, include hiring onsite health plan staff, or member advocates, to help navigate member issues with SNP benefit coverage, services, and provideSecondly, the I-SNP needs a culturally competent NP to spearhead the clinical care aspects of the health plan.</p><p>“Care management and the Model of Care are not well executed without an engaged NP who takes the time to connect with their patients to not only recognize change in status in a timely manner, but also gain trust to skill in place [take skilled care in the facility]. This means going above and beyond traditional medicine by getting to know the resident and family and understanding culturally specific attitudes and values,” the report said.</p><p>Among the critical decisions and challenges to starting and operating an I-SNP are in recruiting NPs to serve in rural areas and finding experienced member advocates, the report said.</p><p>Find the report <a href="https&#58;//atiadvisory.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/An-Idea-Thats-Growing_ATI-Advisory.pdf">here.</a></p>2021-01-11T05:00:00Z<img alt="" src="/Breaking-News/PublishingImages/Elderly%20woman%20smiling%20someone%20helping%20her%20stand%20iStock_000019827227XSmall.jpg" style="BORDER&#58;0px solid;" />ManagementPatrick ConnoleLong term care provider-led SNPs are one of the most promising risk models to emerge from the federal push to delegate risk.