Archive for 'Breaking News'

Infection Control Alert: Legionnaire’s Disease Breaks Out In Illinois Facility

Posted on 09. Nov, 2009 by .


Residents should bathe — not shower — for now, health officials warn.

A “residential rain forest” boasting waterfalls, a swimming pool and spa may have been a breeding ground for the Legionnaire’s Disease that’s caused two deaths in a senior living community in Vernon Hills, IL, according to press reports.

“Both victims were older than 80 and had pre-existing health issues, said Leslie Piotrowski, a spokeswoman for the Lake County Health Department,” according to The Chicago Tribune. A third case of Leginnaire’s has been confirmed, reported FOXNews on Monday.

Officials at The Park at Vernon Hills say they closed the water area Thursday, the Tribune reports. Residents were also instructed to bathe, not shower, in their rooms because the bacterium is often spread through shower mists.

But a family member of one resident said the water area was open Friday as if nothing had happened, the Tribune reports. The bacterium that causes Legionnaire’s Disease thrives in warm, standing water. The spray created by the falling water at the facility’s “rain forest” probably did nothing to help the situation.

Now more than ever.  ”F441 – Infection Control Compliance in Skilled Nursing Facilities,” an audio training event.

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GAO Report on Special Focus Facility Selection Overlooks the Elephant in the Survey World

Posted on 25. Oct, 2009 by .


Experts cite persistent Achilles’ heel to CMS’ attempts to identify poor quality.

The Government Accountability Office’s recent report identifying shortfalls in how CMS identifies nursing homes for its Special Focus Facility program may be missing the point, warn industry experts.

The problem: The SFF program relies on OSCAR data to identify candidates for the program. And for any ranking or rating system to work, the data it uses must be comparable, says attorney Fred Miles, partner with Miles and Peters in Denver, Colo. Yet, OSCAR data doesn’t fit that bill for several reasons, he notes. People almost universally accept that “survey results vary significantly not only from state to state, but between geographic areas within states due to the particular bias of the team performing the surveys.” CMS is also widely known to exert pressure on certain states to write more deficiencies “perhaps for no other reason than to” show Congress that it’s not being lax in its oversight. (more…)

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What the New York Times Is Telling Your Prospective SNF Patients

Posted on 12. Oct, 2009 by .


Can your long-term care facility tout this strong selling point?

If you’re involved in marketing or customer service for long-term care, part of your strategy should be to check out what the mainstream media is telling prospective patients and their families — and seeing your how SNF measures up.

The New York Times‘ widely-read ‘Health’ section recently dispensed advice for choosing a skilled nursing facility. Three highlights:

1. If you have several different kinds of services at your SNF, you can offer a continuity of care that may be missing from most home care options. The article cites Miami Jewish Health Systems’ nursing homes as a model of excellent care. “It is one-stop shopping, complete with an acute-care hospital, short- and long-term skilled nursing care, in-patient and out-patient rehabilitation services, a memory and dementia clinic, psychiatric treatment, a pain center, recreational and entertainment activities, respite care for caretakers, spiritual and religious services, assisted living quarters, [and] hospice care,” article author Jane Brody explains. (more…)

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What Nursing Homes Need to Know About Bacteria & Showerheads

Posted on 05. Oct, 2009 by .

Photo: Wikimedia, 'turydddu.'

Photo: Wikimedia,

Infection-control advice for SNFs, plus a couple cleaner alternatives.

Who would have guessed? The place where people go to get clean may actually be teeming with pathogenic bacteria.

University of Colorado-Boulder researchers have discovered that some showerheads appear, in particular, to be home to Myobacterium avium, which can cause a non-tuberculosis type pulmonary infection, especially in people with impaired immunity. When turned on, the showerheads spew the organisms into the air.

“If you are getting a face full of water when you first turn your shower on, that means you are probably getting a particularly high load of Mycobacterium avium, which may not be too healthy,” said Norman Pace, PhD, at CU-Boulder, lead study author, in a university press release. (more…)

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SNF PPS Final Rule: Ready for a New Set of RUGs?

Posted on 19. Aug, 2009 by .

RUG-IV Thrillride

RUG-IV Thrillride

The Countdown Is on for the Biggest Change to SNF Payment Since PPS Bulldozed the Playing Field

CMS recently published the SNF PPS final rule, which cuts payment for FY 2010 to the tune of $360 million. The rule also provides an overview of what’s in store for SNFs with RUG-IV, which is set to roll out on Oct. 1, 2011 along with the MDS 3.0

A PPS survival kit: For an inside look at the final rule, including a number of key changes that will affect rehab, stay tuned to future posts from Long Term Care News.

AUDIO: Get ready for SNF PPS in FY 2010. With Rena Shephard.

For a copy of the final rule, go here.

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