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Senior Housing > Blog > 2016 > November

The Impact of the Election on Senior Housing

While there is still a lot up in the air regarding the results of the presidential election, several important initiatives passed at the state level that senior housing officials should be aware of. In numerous states throughout the country, there were initiatives on the ballot that carry the possibility of completely shaking up the senior housing industry. Many of these ballot points aimed to offer more support for the senior housing industry and long-term care facilities in general.

As with any new law or regulation, the implementation process can be a little tricky. Depending on the issue in question, many can feel uneasy about what is to come, no matter how beneficial it will be in the long run. This is why it is important to create an open forum for SNFs to discuss any new initiatives and ensure that everyone involved has a good understanding of what the potential regulation entails. With this in mind, some senior housing officials have taken it upon themselves to track the impact of new state legislatures. Some topics of industry interest in this year’s election included:

  • End-of-life issues
  • Medical marijuana
  • Minimum wage

All of these topics – and many others – have the potential to dramatically impact the senior housing industry. It is therefore important that those working in senior housing keep a watchful eye on various ballot measures – in both their state and others. With Colorado passing its assisted suicide bill this year, for example, we expect more states to follow.

What Changes Were Made?

In addition to big changes in Colorado with the “right to die” bill passing, a handful of other states passed legislation that those in senior housing should be aware of. Florida was successful (for two years in a row) in passing important laws related to continuing care communities. The state also elected several new officials who are interested in new construction and demographics in senior housing, which could impact future development plans.

Along with North Dakota and Arkansas, Florida also legalized medical marijuana on November 8th. California, Maine, Massachusetts, and Nevada all voted to legalize recreational marijuana, joining Colorado, Washington, Oregon, and Alaska. Both of this measures have the possibility of impacting senior living facilities, leaving it to the long-term communities to figure out how they would like to tackle marijuana treatment.

Colorado (as well as four other states) also voted to increase minimum wage, something that will undoubtedly impact the senior living industry.

On the national level, we are still unsure what is to come of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). We do, however, expect Medicaid providers to see changes in regards to reimbursement, but whether this will have a negative or positive affect on senior housing is yet to be seen.

Do you work in senior housing and have any input on how this election has impacted the industry? If so, we would love to hear from you.

How Staffing Data is Working Towards Quality Control in SNFs

It is no secret that quality control is important when it comes to nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and other senior housing communities, especially lately. In an effort to encourage more SNFs to provide better care for residents, a couple of new regulations were passed that will soon go into effect (November 28th, to be exact). Providers can submit electronic staffing data (Payroll-Based Journal submissions) in order to keep better tabs on facilities and make note of any problem areas. The results will then be published on the Nursing Home Compare website; which will show which facilities have submitted staffing data, and which failed to do so.

As of today (November 21st), approximately 90% of all long-term care providers have submitted electronic staffing data (due November 14th). The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services will accept submissions until December 1st. After this point, there will be an indicator on the Nursing Home Compare website showing if a facility did not provide this information. While this is a voluntary reporting system, SNFs are encouraged to participate in order to keep better track of how efficient they are being with staffing. Furthermore, the findings from the data will provide consumers with pertinent information on the Nursing Home Compare website, which could determine which facility they choose to go with.

The Details

The system is designed to show how many hours are being worked and how efficient a facility is with its staffing. As you can imagine, this is incredibly important when it comes to the overall internal operations of a SNF and how they stack up against competitors. The Payroll-Based Journal (PBJ) are looking at the type of services and staffing that each individual facility is paying for. With increased pressure for SNFs to perform well and provide excellent care to residents, the data collected by PBJ is a welcomed resource for many facilities and officials alike.

To learn more about the Phase 1 rule implementation related to this very topic, check out the 17-07-NH document. What do you think about the electronic staffing data submissions? Contact Shep Roylance of JCH Senior Housing Group for more information or to share your thoughts.

Nursing Homes Developing Smart Strategies to Meet Needs of Residents

It is no secret that the face of senior housing is changing. This is because of numerous important factors, such as the introduction of technology and different lifestyles of those entering assisted living facilities. The cultural transformation we are undergoing right now is also something to take note of when looking at how nursing homes are changing. With this, we are also in the midst of a nursing shortage, low wages for long-term care workers, and a senior population that is living far longer than previous generations. As you can imagine, this is leading to challenging conditions for those in senior housing. However, nursing homes are stepping up to the plate and developing smart strategies that are improving the lives of residents, while preparing for a new generation at the same time.

In recent years, industry experts have uncovered a handful of gaps and potential problem areas within the senior healthcare system, namely when it comes to long-term care facilities. As we become more aware of the areas in which we are lacking, we are seeing SNFs across the country make monumental adjustments in order to provide better care to residents. One example of this is facilities implementing specialty care units in long-term care settings in order to make the transition from a hospital discharge to a post-acute care facility that much easier.

What This Means

SNFs across the country are sitting down with one another and hospital representatives to figure out what these patients need, and how long-term care facilities can better serve them. In these talks numerous solutions have been found, most of which surround specialty programs that are designed to help patients suffering from particular ailments receive the care and attention they need, outside of the hospital. By working together and determining what the biggest areas of concern and need are, and then coming up with a strategy that meets the needs of patients, long-term care facilities are able to fill this gap and provide a higher quality of living for residents.

We are seeing more and more nursing homes adapt to incoming residents and begin to provide a higher level of care and rehab, which can only be viewed as a step in the right direction. To discuss this topic or another related to senior housing, please do not hesitate to contact Shep Roylance of The JCH Group.

Colorado Passes Assisted Suicide Bill

Many of the ballot issues that passed in yesterday’s controversial election have gone unnoticed, thanks to all the attention going to the main race. However, numerous initiatives passed that will impact both the young and old. One of the most monumental propositions to have passed is a Colorado initiative that made it legal to help terminally ill patients end their own life. This is huge, and something that nursing homes and other assisted living facilities throughout the nation should make note of. Colorado became the sixth state in the U.S. to pass this so-called “right-to-die” law, joining Washington, Oregon, California, Vermont, and Montana. Under Prop 106, Colorado residents over the age of 18 can request assistance to die if they have been diagnosed with a terminal ailment and have less than six months to live.

Assisted suicide has been controversial for sometime now. Its supporters say it respects an individual’s autonomy and overall right by allowing them to take control of their own lives, instead of suffering to the bitter end. Nursing home operators are often faced with these types of situations, as many of their residents have been diagnosed with incurable ailments, yet must still live out their days in pain and discomfort. Regardless of which side you fall on, it is important to recognize what Colorado has done and how this proposition will be implemented moving forward. It should also be noted that Colorado’s proposition was modeled after Oregon’s, which gained notoriety when 29-year-old Brittany Maynard exercised her “right-to-die” in 2014.

We will keep you updated on how this new law impacts the senior housing industry as we see fit. If you have any questions or anything to share regarding the topic, please do not hesitate to contact Shep Roylance of The JCH Senior Housing Group.