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Long-Term Care

Georgia nursing home group picks new leader

The state’s powerful nursing home association has named a Florida industry leader as its new president and CEO.

Tony Marshall

Tony Marshall

Tony Marshall will take over the Georgia Health Care Association positions that have been vacant since Jon Howell resigned May 1.

At the time of Howell’s resignation, the trade group said he was stepping down “to preserve the unity of the statewide association.”

Marshall comes to GHCA from the Florida Health Care Association in Tallahassee, where he served as senior director of reimbursement and a member of the group’s senior leadership team.  full story

Georgia inches up in senior health ratings

Georgia ranks 39th among the states on seniors’ health, one place better than last year, according to a new report on people 65 and older.From America's Health Rankings Senior Report

America’s Health Rankings Senior Report listed several Southern states at the bottom, including Arkansas at 47th, Kentucky 48th, Mississippi 49th and Louisiana 50th.

Georgia’s strengths, the report said, include a low prevalence of chronic drinking among seniors; high food stamp enrollment; and a high percentage of health screenings. The state’s challenges include low percentage of quality nursing home beds; a high rate of hip fractures; and a low rate of people in very good or excellent health.

Vermont is the healthiest state for seniors, according to the report, produced by the United Health Foundation. full story

Georgia nursing homes fairly low in quality report

Nearly half of Georgia nursing homes have relatively low ratings  — either 1 or 2 stars out of a possible 5, according to a report analyzing quality scores for these facilities nationally.

The Kaiser Family Foundation, using the quality scores from the “Nursing Home Compare’’ website of the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, found that Texas has the worst record. Among Texas nursing homes, 51 percent received a 1 or 2 rating.

nhomesThe Lone Star State’s ratings were followed by Louisiana, with 49 percent of nursing homes with a 1 or 2, and then Georgia, Oklahoma and West Virginia at 46 percent, said the report, released last week.

The study found that nationally, 36 percent of nursing homes certified by Medicare or Medicaid have overall ratings of 1 or 2 stars.

A larger share of nursing homes — 45 percent — have overall ratings of 4 or 5 stars. Georgia’s percentage of 4 or 5 star facilities, however, is 32 percent.

“Once again Georgia is at the bottom of the barrel on quality, but there is no simple solution,’’ said Kathy Floyd, executive director of the Georgia Council on Aging, when asked Monday by GHN to comment on the report. full story

Governor vetoes agency for older Georgians

As expected, Gov. Nathan Deal on Tuesday vetoed legislation that would have created a separate state agency devoted to older Georgians.

House Bill 86 had passed overwhelmingly in the General Assembly session.

Photo of the Georgia Capitol BuildingIt would have moved the current Division of Aging Services out of the Department of Human Services. The new agency, the Adult and Aging Services Agency, would have been attached to the Department of Community Health.

Last week, Georgia Health News reported that the main sponsor of House Bill 86, along with health care experts, said they had been told a veto was coming.

The Aging Services bill was among 11 pieces of legislation vetoed by the governor. full story

Georgia fires back on nursing home payments

The commissioner of Georgia’s Medicaid agency has written a sharply worded defense of nursing home payments now deemed improper by the federal government.

Clyde Reese

Clyde Reese

A federal ruling saying Georgia should return more than $100 million in nursing home payments “is factually and legally incorrect,’’ Clyde Reese, commissioner of the Department of Community Health, wrote in a February letter to a Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) official in Atlanta.

“Refunding payments previously approved by CMS would be inequitable and would result in unjust enrichment to the federal government,”  Reese said. It would probably also lead to the closure of the more than 30 nursing homes involved, he added.

In December, federal officials said Georgia Medicaid should return more than $100 million in payments made to a group of nursing homes. The feds said these payments were not permitted under the program’s regulations.

The payments were made in fiscal years 2010 and 2011. But CMS also asked Georgia to return any similarly inappropriate payments for more recent fiscal years as well. full story

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