May 18: Weekly Long-Term Care News and Updates
Dahlia Imanbay • May 18, 2022
Future of Clinical Innovation: Insights from Signature HealthCARE’s Chief Medical Officer at the Skilled Nursing News’ Clinical Conference
Dr. Arif Nazir, Signature HealthCARE’s Chief Medical Officer, spoke about progressive clinical endeavors at the Skilled Nursing News’ Clinical Conference on May 5, touching on new technologies, staff burnout, regulations, and payment rates.
Speaking about Signature’s partnership with BASE10 Genetics, Dr. Nazir described how BASE10’s data platform helped them keep pace with disease management, including streamlining COVID-19 testing and reporting to CMS as well as relieving staff of “a million headaches.”
Dr. Nazir talked about how staff burnout, out-of-touch policymakers, and time-consuming work can be barriers to clinical innovation. He said that, “the best thing Signature did was invest in an innovative mindset,” and that innovation is defined by its end result, meaning that if an improved workflow saves time and caregiver bandwidth, it’s innovation.
Utilizing BASE10’s software solution, he went on to say, “Can you just imagine how much work was taken away from the nurses and the administrators who can do the real job of touching the patient, listening to their voice? I think that was a huge success.”
COVID-19 Funding and a Rise in COVID-19-Related Lawsuits
With the recent rise in COVID-19 cases in the U.S., providers are calling on more funding to protect their residents. Data from the CDC shows that since pandemic lows in April, residents and staff cases of COVID-19 have steadily increased.
With another surge predicted by the end of the summer, providers want Congress to continue allocating money for test kits, testing locations, vaccines, boosters, and treatments, especially for older adults who are more susceptible to breakthrough infections.
There could also be a surge in COVID-related nursing home lawsuits now that the statute of limitations for the first wave of the pandemic is expiring. With a deadline for litigators to file suit, nursing homes will most likely see an influx of lawsuits testing federal protections such as the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act (PREP).
The Increased Role of the MDS Coordinator in Nursing
Staff shortages at nursing homes as well as proposed Medicare cuts are making the jobs of MDS coordinators more difficult than ever. Their role is to make sure that their facilities get reimbursed properly and their residents get the right care. However, finding the right balance between the two isn’t always easy with limited resources and time.
With a potential Medicare cut of close to $320 million, it’s imperative that MDS coordinators get the full Patient-Driven Payment Model (PDPM) reimbursement, but staff shortages mean that these RNs are often diverted from this task and placed out on the floor for direct patient care.
The answer to occupancy challenges, staffing, and rising costs isn’t clear, but being behind on billing and MDS completion can cost facilities hundreds of dollars a day per resident. Skilled Nursing Facilities lost 2,500 jobs in March while adding back just 900 in April.
Meanwhile, overworked MDS coordinators have begun asking administrators if they can work remotely so they won’t be distracted in a facility while others have outright quit.
Dr. Irene Hamrick is a professor at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine.
She is the Chief of Geriatrics Division, Dept Family and Community Medicine and Martha Betty Semmons Endowed Chair in Geriatric Medicine Education.
About BASE10 Genetics
Located in Chicago, BASE10 is a healthcare software technology company whose platform creates turnkey disease management programs that can be deployed at scale for nursing home operators, pharmacies, payors, and self-funded employers.
Skilled nursing facility