Here’s a collection of news bites pertaining to the senior housing and long-term care industries, gathered from around the nation. Many of the articles are state-specific, but could eventually have national implications or influence senior care trends. Click the links to access the full article.
Nursing Home News
From Esquire—Wisconsin Nursing Home Tort Reform “Deregulated Chaos”
“Wisconsin’s nursing homes have descended into deregulated chaos. The industry now combines all the worst elements of a monopolistic business model with the basic bureaucratic inhumanity of a spread sheet,” reports Esquire. “What regulations are still in place are paralyzed because there aren’t enough investigators to make them function. And the most obvious remedy outside government — the threat of huge penalties deriving from civil judgments — has been defanged by the tort reform bill.” Read more…
From the Cincinnati Business Courier (Ohio)—Nursing Home Run by Non-Profits Closing in June
“Mercy Health is closing Mercy Franciscan Terrace nursing home, leaving 134 patients to find another place to live. Mercy Health parent Catholic Health Partners and the Franciscan Sisters of the Poor determined that current and future capital outlay needs were prohibitively high, according to the statement,” reports the Cincinnati Business Courier. “The six-hospital Mercy Health leases Mercy Franciscan Terrace from the Franciscan Sisters of the Poor. The senior health and housing facility is located on the campus of the Sisters’ Mother House.” Read more…
From UPI.com—N.Y. Millionaires’ Nursing Home Stays Getting Covered by Medicaid
“The U.S. House Oversight and Government Reform Committee’s report, “Billions of Federal Tax Dollars Misspent on New York’s Medicaid Program,” said roughly 60 percent of Medicaid applicants in Suffolk County — on Long Island — engage in estate planning to gain Medicaid eligibility,” reports UPI.com.
“There are various legal means to prevent those funds from being used to pay for the applicant’s nursing home care. Wealthy applicants for Medicaid’s nursing home coverage consider that benefit to be their right, regardless of their ability to pay themselves … Individuals with resources above and beyond the level prescribed by law should not be allowed to fund their children’s inheritance while the taxpayers fund their nursing home care,” said Janice Eulau, assistant administrator of the Medicaid Services Division at the Suffolk County Department of Social Services in her testimony before the committee. Read more…
From The Miami Herald—Medicaid Paying the Wealthy’s Nursing Home Bill in Florida, Too
“Florida welfare officials are proposing a bill that targets Medicaid fraud among patients who hide their assets with family and friends to get the taxpayer-funded program to pay for their nursing home care,” reports the Associated Press for The Miami Herald. “The agency tracked 538 cases over six years and found that Medicaid spent more than $29 million in services for people whose spouses were financially stable but had signed over financial support to the state so Medicaid would pay for the nursing home. Officials could have recovered $24 million from those spouses under federal law, but the state currently lacks a process to do, DCF officials said.” Read more…
Assisted Living News
From Trib.com—Wyoming Considers Changing Assisted Living Rules
“Wyoming lawmakers are considering allowing assisted living facilities to provide a higher level of care for their residents so they can avoid having to move to nursing homes,” reports Trib.com. “A House committee voted 5-4 on Tuesday to send the bill to the full House for debate. The Senate has already passed the bill, which is sponsored by Sen. Charles Scott, a Republican from Casper. The bill would allow the facilities to care for people with open skin lesions, catheters and occasional bladder problems. It would also allow staffers to help those who need supplemental oxygen.” Read more…
From the Daily Press (Va.)—Williamsburg Assisted Living Community to Close
“The second of six assisted living facilities in the region once operated by Scott Schuett is set to close at the end of February. Madison Retirement Center in Williamsburg has been operating on an expired conditional license since March 2012 while Schuett appealed its non-renewal,” reports the Daily Press. “About 30 residents, a mix of those receiving state auxiliary housing grants and private pay, will be displaced by its closing, according to Trish Meyer, regional licensing administrator for the Department of Social Services. Schuett previously closed Governor’s Inn in Newport News in November.” Read more…
From King5.com (Wash.)—Assisted Living Community Closing, Displacing Seniors
“In January the North Valley Health District abruptly announced it was closing the [Tonasket North Valley Assisted Living Facility] because it was hemorrhaging money,” reports King5.com. “The district also operates a nursing home and hospital. Now, $2 million in debt, administrators say the only way for them to avoid a complete collapse of health care in the community is to shut the center down.” Read more…
From AZCentral.com (Ariz.)—Troubled Assisted Living Center Closes After License Revokation
“[The Fountain] a troubled Youngtown assisted-living facility is closing today after two chaotic weeks in which its license was revoked, staff was fired and nearly 50 residents scrambled to find new homes,” reports AZCentral.com. “The Fountain was on a provisional license before it was revoked Tuesday, days before the facility was already slated to close. The state moved to revoke the license after a mix-up over layoff notices left two caregivers to tend to 40 residents on Feb. 16. Residents were put in immediate danger because of the two-week notice to vacate the premises. Typically, residents get at least 30 days notice in similar situations.” Read more…
From the LA Times (Calif.)—CalPERS Plans 85% Rate Hike for LTC Insurance
“More than 110,000 CalPERS policyholders are receiving similar news [of an 85% rate increase for their long-term care insurance policies] after the pension fund’s board approved the changes late last year,” reports The Los Angeles Times. “CalPERS said the hefty rate hikes won’t take effect until 2015 and are necessary to keep this $3.6-billion insurance fund intact for future claims. This CalPERS program, like other plans sold by private insurers, has been plagued by higher-than-expected claims, lower investment returns and poor pricing.” Read more…
SeniorHomes.Com Launches Consumer Reviews
SeniorHomes.com, an online directory for senior care and housing, has launched consumer review abilities on its website, allowing residents, family members of residents, and visitors to post reviews for listed assisted living, independent living, and memory care communities in Washington, Oregon, and Arizona. All other markets will launch in waves throughout 2013, with expectations that the review feature will be active in all 50 states by the end of the year.
The consumer review feature is part of SeniorHomes.com’s efforts to provide objective information to help families make educated decisions related to senior living, says the company. Consumers will also be able to rate communities on specific categories such as activities, food, facility, quality of care, and staff, in addition to writing a review.
Senior living providers will be able to respond to each review that is submitted, allowing them to address issues and interact with consumer feedback.
National Health Investors See Earnings Rise on Senior Living Investments
National Health Investors, Inc. (NYSE: NHI) last week announced its normalized funds from operations rose 9% to $0.84 per diluted share in the fourth quarter, up from $0.77 per share in the previous year period.
Net income attributable to common stockholders for the fourth quarter of the year was $41.1 million or $1.48 per diluted common share compared with $18.1 million or $65 per diluted common share for the same quarter in 2011. NHI noted a gain on sale of $11.97 million for an assisted living facility in New Jersey.
Among the company’s 2012 highlights, NHI counts $178.5 million investments in properties and loans in private pay senior housing assets as well as a new $320 million bank credit facility and a lease extension agreement with its largest customer spanning through 2026.
NHI’s outlook forecasts normalized FFO in the coming year from $3.30 to $3.38 per diluted common share and has added investment assumptions including 6% growth from its Bickford joint venture as well as expectations to make new investments in health care real estate in 2013. (Written by Elizabeth Ecker)