An Omaha, NE, man was sentenced to 46 months in prison for using the personal information of senior living residents in several states to defraud Medicare and state Medicaid agencies out of thousands of dollars through fraudulent claims, the Justice Department said Tuesday.
Last week, a House of Representatives committee launched an investigation into how five large nursing home companies have handled COVID-19. Among the nursing homes under investigation are publicly traded Genesis Healthcare and Ensign Group, both of which have seen a drop in share prices since the announcement, according to Barron’s.
Even before the industry was dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, the average nursing home was operating on a razor-thin profit margin or net loss. That’s because Medicaid reimbursements only cover 70% to 80% of care costs, according to a document released Wednesday by the American Health Care Association / National Center for Assisted Living.
Regular COVID-19 testing of nursing home staff, who are the most likely to introduce the virus to a facility and spread it to residents, has been sanctioned by experts as one of the most important ways to contain outbreaks. Yet a patchwork of state and federal recommendations have hampered efforts to devise a uniform policy for the testing and led to disputes over whether insurers or employers should cover testing costs, according to a Tuesday New York Times report.
Two associations representing long-term care providers on Monday called for more funding for COVID-19 testing for assisted living communities as well as skilled nursing facilities after the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced a plan for the relaxing of the restrictions put in place in the nation’s nursing homes due to the pandemic.
The COVID-19 “new normal” for long-term care residents and families has heightened demand and interest for operators to provide additional clinical services within the long-term care setting, according to Ziegler.
In an industry devastated by the coronavirus, some patient advocates and industry experts fear nursing home operators may seek to take advantage of the premium pay offered for admitting COVID-19-positive patients, according to a Los Angeles Times article Sunday.