Recap: Top 3 LTC Stories of 2019 - SpecialtyRx
January 3, 2020
Recap: Top 3 LTC Stories of 2019

What headlines rocked long-term care in 2019?

SpecialtyRx debuts its yearly rundown

Have you paid attention these past twelve months? Through the good, bad and everything in between, SpecialtyRx has curated the most valuable industry headlines all year long. Our weekly updates kept you informed and poised for success every single week.

Before we look forward to a healthy, prosperous New Year, we’re counting down the top three long-term care stories from 2019. Let these titles, quips and tips be a precursor to 2020, lighting your way with critical industry news and insights. Here’s wishing you good luck, good health, good cheer and good savings! A very Happy New Year from your friends at SpecialtyRx.

Top 3 LTC Stories of 2019

Legislators looked to regulate workforce shortages

Minimum staffing requirements were a huge topic in 2019, remaining a fixture in headlines for most of the year. Representatives on Capitol Hill introduced The Quality Care for Nursing Home Residents Act, which seeks to improve facility conditions my mandating specific shiſt requirements. Reception of the bill was mixed.

“The skilled nursing profession has serious concerns about the practical implementation of the proposals in this bill,” said Mark Parkinson, CEO of the American Health Care Association. “Today, our profession suffers from a critical workforce shortage. We need solutions like loan forgiveness that will help attract more workers.” From January 17, 2019: An Unusual Approach to Solving Staff Shortages

The Deployment of PDPM

CMS’s Patient-Driven Payment Model was (undoubtedly) the #1 most-read topic of 2019. Aſter the new reimbursement guidelines debuted on October 1, 2019, operators experienced one of the steepest learning curves in recent memory.

“Under PDPM, therapy minutes are removed as the basis for payment in favor of resident classification and anticipated resource needs during the course of a patient’s stay,” explains Optima Healthcare Solutions. “PDPM assigns every resident a case-mix classification that drives the daily reimbursement rate for that individual.”

Over the past three months, skilled nursing facilities have identified a number of concerns, yet the consensus remains optimistic. From coding challenges to reported therapy staff layoffs, the future of reimbursement remains to be seen.

From March 28, 2019: Prepare for PDPM in 3 Easy Steps

Occupancy rates soar amidst LTC challenges

Aſter years of decline, U.S. skilled nursing facilities saw positive year-over-year growth, reporting 83.7% occupancy in 1Q19. The National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care says this represents a four-year high.

The upbeat outlook was marred, though, as increased financial pressures remain a barrier to quality care. “We will continue to monitor reimbursement, labor costs and other data to see if any of these factors might be contributing to facility closures, especially in rural areas,” said Bill Kauffman, senior principal at NIC.

From June 18, 2019: Occupancy Rates Hit Four-Year High