Category Archives: Nursing.Homes

State: No plans to privatize or close Western Md. Hospital Center

Source: Tamela Baker, Herald Mail, May 26, 2016

Concerns that the Western Maryland Hospital Center might be privatized or closed are premature because there currently are no plans to do either, according to a state health official. Although the state-owned acute-care facility on Pennsylvania Avenue in Hagerstown is slated to close its renal-dialysis program in fiscal 2017, the state has no plans to privatize or close the hospital, Christopher Garrett, a spokesman for the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, said Wednesday. … Altogether, 15.5 positions are being abolished in the fiscal 2017 budget, Garrett said. Although Garrett told Herald-Mail Media in March that the health agency would issue a request for proposals this summer “to explore options,” which is a required first step if the hospital were to be privatized, he said that the department no longer plans to do that. … That anxiety culminated in a forum Saturday in Hagerstown, sponsored by AFSCME Local 354, the union representing many of the hospital center’s workers. …

Related:

State hospital workers who expected to be fired will keep jobs
Source: Michael Dresser, Baltimore Sun, May 24, 2016

Almost 70 state dietary services workers who were scheduled to be fired and replaced by private contractors will instead keep their jobs, the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene confirmed Tuesday. The employees, most of whom work at the Springfield Hospital Center in Sykesville, were to be terminated under the budget submitted by Gov. Larry Hogan to the General Assembly in January. The workers were informed Monday that the plan to contract out their work had been canceled. … Also spared were workers at the John L. Gildner Regional Institute for Children and Adolescents in Rockville. They prepare and distribute food to residential patients at the mental health facilities. …

Community forum planned on Western Md. Hospital Center cuts, possible privatization
Source: CJ Lovelace, Herald Mail, May 13, 2016

… The job cuts set to take effect when the new fiscal years begins July 1 include 8.5 full-time equivalent positions — 7.5 filled and one vacant — in the hospital’s renal dialysis unit, which is closing. Other positions to be eliminated include five vacant jobs, as well as a therapeutic-recreation job and Ankeney’s position that would be replaced by a contracted X-ray service. State health officials have said the cuts were needed to help offset large increases in health insurance and retirement expenses projected to cost close to $1.5 million. … Meritus Health has handled the management of the facility since 2014, in the wake of dozens of patient-care deficiencies found under previous leadership. The local provider has signed a three-year, $2.6 million contract extension through June 30, 2018. …

Hogan trumpets his success in daylong visit to Frederick County
Source: Nancy Lavin and Paige Jones, Frederick News-Post, March 16, 2016

For some employees facing layoffs from Springfield Hospital Center in Carroll County, Hogan’s words about job growth seemed hypocritical. Close to 60 workers are expected to be laid off from the Sykesville hospital as part of efforts to privatize the institution, The Baltimore Sun has reported. A dozen of them gathered outside Frederick City Hall on Wednesday with signs and petitions bearing 600 signatures asking Hogan not to cut their jobs. …

Western Md. Hospital Center ‘not just a regular nursing home’
Source: CJ Lovelace, Herald-Mail Media, March 14, 2016

The state-owned facility, off Pennsylvania Avenue north of Hagerstown, has been eyed for possible privatization during talks in recent months as the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene considers cost-cutting measures. The center’s renal-dialysis unit is on the chopping block come July, but the nearly 300 union workers at the facility are making their collective voices heard about keeping the facility under state ownership. … While privatization surely could affect the workers, it’s the effect a move to the private sector could have on patient care that is the greatest concern for employees. … Sheridan said she’s worked at for-profit nursing homes in the past, and the level of care suffers when administrators are forced to choose between their patients and their bottom line. Dating back to the 1950s, the hospital center also serves an essential function in the region that other nursing facilities cannot match, Hockman said, providing care for “very complex, very chronic” conditions.

State mulls job cuts, privatizing Western Md. Hospital Center
Source: CJ Lovelace, Herald-Mill Media, February 18, 2016

State health officials are considering eliminating the renal-dialysis program at the Western Maryland Hospital Center, contributing to the loss of about 15 jobs that could be cut to help offset rising costs, according to budget discussions. Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene officials also have discussed possibly privatizing the state-owned specialty-care hospital on Pennsylvania Avenue in Hagerstown’s North End. … Although the layoffs are an issue, the potential privatization has garnered more concern in the community, particularly among the roughly 250 state workers at the facility. During a recent state Senate Budget and Taxation subcommittee meeting, state Health Secretary Van T. Mitchell said the agency might “test the waters” this summer by issuing a request for proposals to private companies that would be interested in taking over ownership of the facility.

Opinion: Privatizing long-term care for profit

Source: Wisconsin Gazette, May 6, 2016

A year ago during the legislative budget session, GOP leaders proposed to dismantle Wisconsin’s highly rated long-term care system. The proposal came as a shock to the state’s nonprofit managed care organizations — or MCOs. They’re the long-term care providers and personal care workers. No one bothered to consult the 55,000 elderly and disabled individuals who receive assistance from the programs or the family members who participate in their care. … In late April, Walker and GOP legislative leaders announced again that they plan to shift the current system of eight regions overseen by nonprofit MCOs to three regions administered by national for-profit health insurance companies. They have the votes and the power to do whatever they want. … Pardon my skepticism toward the newfound altruism of our one-party state. In the past few years, the GOP has slashed access to food stamps, rejected almost $1 billion in federal Medicaid funds for the poor, and defunded and forced the closure of Planned Parenthood clinics. Walker and GOP Rep. John Nygren claim that turning the long-term care system over to the private sector will save the state $300 million over the next six years. That sounds good, but expanding caseloads and payouts to insurance company shareholders over those years can only result in cuts to services for our most vulnerable citizens. …

County rejects Claremont privatization pitches

Source: Zack Hoopes, The Sentinel, April 25, 2016

The county’s quasi-controversial interest in further privatization at the Claremont Nursing and Rehabilitation Center appears to have come to a halt. The Cumberland County Commissioners voted unanimously yesterday to reject all offers received from vendors to completely take over the food, housekeeping, and laundry departments at the county-owned nursing home. After reviewing the bids received last month, county staff recommended to the commission that none of the offers were worth it. … In February, the commissioners had voted to issue a bid solicitation for vendors to run Claremont’s auxiliary functions. Currently, an outside management company – Sodexo – is responsible for the cash flow. But the 75 workers in the food, laundry, and housekeeping services are county employees. If the county were to go through with it, the proposal would have had those jobs become private-sector.

Related:

County to get proposals on privatization of some nursing home functions
Source: Zack Hoopes, The Sentinel, February 1, 2016

Cumberland County has committed to at least testing the waters a bit when it comes to further outsourcing at the Claremont Nursing and Rehabilitation Center. The county’s’ Board of Commissioners voted two-to-one Monday to issue a request for proposals for an outside contractor to completely take over the food, housekeeping, and laundry departments at the county-owned nursing home. … Approximately 75 employees would be affected if the county were to move forward with such a proposal, which would not directly impact nurses or any other medical staff. Bids are due back March 10, with Sodexo or any other qualified company able to make a pitch. … The 65-page bid specification the county issued lays out, in detail, how the outside vendor would be required to maintain the current levels of quality and service. It also specifies that employees bound by collective bargaining agreements are to keep their jobs – the 75 employees in the food, housekeeping, and laundry operations are unionized.

Privatization of another county nursing home recommended for approval

Source: Tracey Drury, Buffalo Business First, March 28, 2016

State officials are recommending approval of a $15.2 million sale that will privatize another Western New York nursing home. The deal will transfer operations and the real property of the 160-bed Genesee County Nursing Home Center in Batavia from county ownership to private owners, who will rename the site as Genesee Nursing & Rehabilitation. The buyers are a group of Downstate investors: Jacob Sod, Jonathan Bleier and Bernard Fuchs, part-owner of The Villages of Orleans Health and Rehabilitation Center, formerly owned by Orleans County. Genesee County officials signed an operations transfer agreement for the site in September. The sale includes the real property on Bank Street that houses a 160-bed residential health-care facility, a 13-slot adult day-care program, plus an 80-bed adult home.

Related:

Editorial: The argument for privatization
Source: Daily News, August 28, 2014

The news that Genesee County legislators had declared the county Nursing Home “surplus property” and were seeking to sell it was startling, though it shouldn’t have been. For nearly a decade, County Manager Jay Gsell has been reporting financial difficulties at the county-owned facility. Various remedies have been tried — cutting costs wherever possible, negotiating concessions from employees, and collaborating and outsourcing for savings elsewhere. Still, the operating deficits have grown. In 2013, the nursing home’s operating deficit was more than $4 million….

Connecticut Moves Away From Private Insurers to Administer Medicaid Program

Source: Melinda Beck, Wall Street Journal, March 18, 2016

In 2012, Connecticut fired the companies that were running Husky, as its Medicaid system is known, and returned to a more traditional “fee-for-service” arrangement where the state reimburses doctors and hospitals directly. State officials, physicians and patient advocates have welcomed the move: Average cost per patient, per month, is down from $718 in mid-2012 to $670 last year, according to state data. The number of doctors willing to treat Medicaid patients is up 7% and as a result fewer patients are using emergency rooms for routine care. … Once known as “the insurance capital of the world,” Connecticut had 11 companies offering Medicaid managed-care plans in 1995, each with different rules and reimbursement rates. Industry consolidation, battles over rates and other disputes whittled that down to four by 2000—near the minimum required by federal law—which some observers say limited the state’s ability to bargain and enforce rules. Patient advocates complained about denied services, delayed payments and inadequate provider networks. In a state-sponsored survey in 2006, only one in four callers posing as Husky patients was able to get an appointment with a network doctor; the others encountered erroneous listings or refusals to see Medicaid patients. State officials, meanwhile, were frustrated by the plans’ refusal to share data on costs and claims, prompting lengthy court battles.

Related:

Conn. has big Medicaid change in works
Source: Mary E. O’Leary, New Haven Register, February 09, 2011

HARTFORD — Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s administration, in a major break from the past, will drop the for-profit managed care organizations from running the state’s huge Medicaid program and also beef up a transition that takes seniors out of nursing homes and provides services to help them live in their own communities.

The state is projected to pay $3.96 billion for Medicaid services this year, one of its most costly commitments out of a $19.01 billion budget. Ellen Andrews, of the Connecticut Health Policy Organization, said its studies projected a savings of $40 million for switching HUSKY clients alone to the new model, but that adding the elderly, disabled and blind population could double that.

Wyman said under the new system, the state will assume the risk of paying medical claims, but it will now know what it is paying for and with 600,000 people in a network, there will be more predictability and accountability. The MCO contracts are costing the state $863.6 million this year.

Privatizing County Nursing Home gets thumbs down from commission

Source: Source: The Laconia Daily Sun, January 21, 2016

A majority of the Belknap County Commission yesterday turned thumbs down on a proposal that the county look at managed care organizations to take over the operation of the Belknap County Nursing Home. Commissioner Richard Burchell (R-Gilmanton), who last week met with members of the state Department of Health and Human Services about Medicaid rate setting, said that he knew of two private companies who have submitted ideas about managing the nursing home. … But County Commission Chairman David DeVoy (R-Sanbornton) said that his goal is to make sure that the nursing home is run efficiently. “I’m not interested in privatizing the nursing home at this time.” …

Related:

Privatize Belknap County Nursing Home

Source: Laconia Daily Sun, December 3, 2015
The county should look at selling the Belknap County Nursing Home, according to Belknap County Commissioner Richard Burchell (R-Gilmanton), addressing members of the Belknap County Convention’s Executive Committee last evening. His comments came during a discussion of the current county budget and the $6.1 million in the health and human services line which represents payments made to the state of New Hampshire for county residents who are in private nursing homes and who are covered by Medicaid. … Burchell observed that there is no real possibility of expanding the number of beds in the county facility and that the county has a burgeoning population of those eligible for elderly services, which will drive up nursing home costs, public and private, for the county.

Its residents gone, sadness lingers at Summit Park

Source: Robert Brum, Lohud.com, December 22, 2015

… The last residents of the facility Rockland County has operated since 1974 left last week as it prepares to close by Dec. 31. For the past two and a half months I’ve watched as County Executive Ed Day, the Rockland Legislature and the prospective buyer, Shalom Braunstein of Sympaticare, feuded over the demise of an institution families praised for its staff, spacious rooms and high level of care.… But the fate of the sale may have been sealed back in April 2014, when the front-runner to buy Summit Park walked away because of lawsuits filed by a competitor and the CSEA. The competitor, Northern Services Group, also sought to have a rabbinical court intervene.

Related:

CSEA sues to block Summit Park closing
Source: Robert Brum, lohud.com, November 13, 2015

The union representing workers at the Summit Park Hospital and Nursing Care Center has filed a lawsuit challenging the legality of Rockland County Executive Ed Day’s efforts to close the ailing facility by Dec. 31. The suit accuses Day of violating the County Charter by moving ahead without approval from the county Legislature. By announcing the impending closure Day is lessening the facility’s value, according to legal papers. It also claims the County Charter would have to be amended to allow the Legislature to close the facility — something it says can only be done through a public referendum. … Summit Park is proceeding toward shutdown under a state-approved closure plan after a private buyer backed out of a $32 million sale at the last minute. Subsequent efforts to restart negotiations collapsed between the buyer — Sympaticare — and the local development corporation handling the sale. …

Summit Park buyer asks lawmakers to get him more time
Source: Robert Brum, lohud.com, October 8, 2015

The man who pulled out of the $32 million deal to buy the Summit Park Hospital and Nursing Care Center told Rockland lawmakers on Wednesday night to step in to give him more time to continue negotiating. … Braunstein said before Wednesday’s meeting of the Rockland County Legislature that his company, Sympaticare, was ready to take over Summit Park’s operations pending the sale “so the county stops the bleeding.” He said such an arrangement, which he called a receivership, would need state Department of Health approval but had been done elsewhere in New York. … Braunstein canceled the deal just hours before he was supposed to have closed on the sale, citing ongoing litigation and claiming the county had not given him what he needed for Sympaticare to take over the ailing facility by Sept. 30. He also said the county had not maintained the facility during the sale process. … The county said it cooperated fully with Braunstein and said Summit Park’s operations remained essentially the same. Day has placed blame for the deal’s collapse squarely on Braunstein, who Day said had more than a year to prepare for the purchase. The county is awaiting approval from the state health board for its closure plan.

Rockland’s Summit Park deal falls through
Source: Robert Brum, lohud.com, October 1, 2015

The sale of Rockland’s troubled Summit Park Hospital and Nursing Care Center, considered crucial to the county’s financial turnaround, fell through at the 11th hour and officials said they intend to close the property at the end of the year. County Executive Ed Day said at a press conference Wednesday afternoon that the planned private buyer, Sympaticare LLC, informed the county Tuesday night that it was terminating the $32 million deal. … A total of 432 positions were set to be abolished at Summit Park, including clerical staff, nurses, pharmacists and physical therapists. Some had been interviewed by Sympaticare about staying with the facility, while others had the possibility of moving into other county positions.

Rockland Lawmakers Take Steps to Protect Summit Park Workers
Source: Baruch Horowitz, Monsey, September 20, 2015

Rockland County Legislators announced they are taking action to protect county workers, patients and residents at Summit Park Hospital And Nursing Care Center, approving several measures designed to help county workers who face layoffs once the center is sold. … A total of 458 people will be affected by the pending sale, including more than 250 who are eligible for retirement, county Personnel Commissioner Joan Silvestri told Legislators Wednesday. … Civil Service rules require positions to be abolished before the process of workforce reduction can occur. Part of the process includes providing information to workers about their possible benefits, including details about pensions, health care and other county job opportunities. Workers have been in a state of limbo not knowing when their jobs might be eliminated as the Rockland County Health Facilities Corp., the local development corporation handling the $32 million deal, works to close the pending sale of Summit Park Hospital, a 57 bed Long Term Acute Care Hospital, and Summit Park Nursing Care Center, a 321-bed nursing care facility with a premier Alzheimer’s Unit. …

As Summit Park hospital sale nears, Rockland workers await word on jobs
Source: Robert Brum, lohud.com, August 28, 2015

Many of the employees, including clerical staff, nurses, pharmacists and physical therapists, are waiting to learn whether they’ll be hired by the Ramapo hospital’s new owner. About 38 workers have “bumping” rights to positions in other county departments, and others likely will opt for retirement. The Rockland County Legislature on Tuesday night could discuss a resolution to abolish a total of 432 positions, most of them represented by the CSEA.

Preliminary audits: County in the black, Summit Park less in the red
Source: Michael Riconda, Rockland Times, August 27, 2015

…At the same time, losses sustained by the facility appear to be diminishing. According to the audit, the facility lost $7.2 million in 2014, down from a $16 million loss in 2013 and a $27 million loss in 2012. The major reason for this appears to be intergovernmental transfer revenue (IGT), money from the state which spiked revenues. … Summit Park’s Hospital and nursing care center have cleared almost all regulatory hurdles for sale, including lawsuits from the Civil Service Employees Association and Northern Services Group, a failed bidder for the facility. According to DeGroat, the county is ready to close the book on the facility and it is expected that the lease will be transferred to Sympaticare sometime within the next year.
Continue reading

State explores privatizing care for aged and disabled

Source: Warren Vieth, Moore American, October 28, 2015

…the Oklahoma Health Care Authority is exploring cost-saving options that could lead to partial privatization of the state’s $2.4 billion Medicaid program for aged, blind and disabled people.  The state tried that once before, and it didn’t work out. Costs escalated, companies dropped out, and the state pulled the plug. Supporters of the new effort predicted it might turn out better because of improvements in managed-care practices. Even if it does, however, advocates of the aged, blind and disabled said a new managed-care program could be highly disruptive for thousands of impaired Oklahomans who might be forced to switch doctors and adapt to new care regimens. … The 178,025 aged, blind and disabled Oklahomans who received health services in fiscal year 2014 accounted for 16 percent of Medicaid membership, but 47 percent of spending. … The current initiative was launched after the Legislature passed Mulready’s House Bill 1566 earlier this year. The bill directed the authority to request proposals from independent vendors who could coordinate health care for aged, blind or disabled people currently enrolled in SoonerCare, the state’s version of Medicaid. The bill was backed by three influential health care groups: Blue Cross Blue Shield of Oklahoma, the Oklahoma Hospital Association and the Oklahoma Association of Heath Care Providers, which represents for-profit nursing homes. …

Related:

Worries Build As State Moves To Privatize Care For The Aged, Blind And Disabled
Source: Oklahoma Watch & Warren Vieth, KGOU, September 28, 2015

Even if it does, however, advocates of the aged, blind and disabled said a new managed-care program could be highly disruptive for thousands of impaired Oklahomans who might be forced to switch doctors and adapt to new care regimens. … The 178,025 aged, blind and disabled Oklahomans who received health services in fiscal year 2014 accounted for 16 percent of Medicaid membership, but 47 percent of spending. The state pays about a third of the cost. The federal government pays the rest.

OHCA looking into privatized, coordinated care
Source: Sally Asher, Enid News, September 24, 2015

Oklahoma Health Care Authority held a stakeholder meeting in Enid Wednesday night to gather thoughts, opinions and information on privatizing health care for aged, blind or disabled Medicaid consumers.  In the most recent session, the Legislature passed House Bill 1566, which directs OHCA to explore care coordination models for those individuals. Currently, the state contracts with providers through OHCA for their care, but under the new program, OCHA would work with third-party care providers. … Cohen said some things will not change with privatized care: eligibility for Medicaid and Medicare programs and services covered by those programs will stay the same. Some things that could change include an increase in care availability, service providers, the way payments are made and who authorizes such services.

MAXIMUS Awarded $23.5 Million Customer Relationship Management Contract for Oklahoma’s SoonerCare and Insure Oklahoma Programs
Source: BusinessWire, September 27, 2012

MAXIMUS (NYS: MMS) , a leading provider of government services worldwide, announced that it has signed a new contract with the Oklahoma Health Care Authority (OHCA) to operate a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solution for the SoonerCare and Insure Oklahoma programs. The one-year contract includes five one-year renewal periods, for a total contract value of $23.5 million if all renewal periods are exercised. The contract was awarded on September 17, 2012 and the first contract term ends on June 30, 2013.

SoonerCare, the state’s Medicaid program, provides medical benefits to qualified individuals who have inadequate or no health insurance coverage. Insure Oklahoma provides employers with premium subsidies to help buy private market health insurance for low- to moderate-income employees. The program’s individual plan provides health benefits to employees whose workplace does not offer health insurance.

Honor Shifts Closer To An On-Demand Model By Offering Elder Care Within Two Hours Of A Request

Source: Kim-Mai Cutler, Tech Crunch, October 14, 2015

Honor, the San Francisco-based company that is tackling the issues posed by a rapidly aging American society, is shifting closer to an on-demand model with Honor Now. The new product will bring customers a care coordinator either to them or their elderly family members within two hours. … Sternberg said the company’s initial pilot in the counties ringing the San Francisco Bay already makes the company one of the five biggest care providers in the region. Honor is available from San Francisco to San Jose and on the Eastern side of the Bay through Contra Costa County. … Honor’s prices start at $25 an hour, and they pair an app with the service so that CarePros can report back to family members. The company is attacking one of the fastest-growing markets in the United States, as 10,000 each day turn 65. The population of Americans over 65 will double to 84 million by 2050. … Sternberg’s long-term vision is to create a company that obviates the need for retirement homes or assisted-living facilities…

Sunnycrest fines total $6,000/State finds 9 deficiencies during a mid-September inspection, including issues with Aramark’s food-service management.

Source: Alicia Yager, Telegraph Herald, October 8, 2015

Dubuque County-owned Sunnycrest Manor has been fined $6,000 for three violations discovered during its most-recent state inspection. The violations were among nine deficiencies noted in the mid-September inspection. … Another violation involved Aramark’s management of dietary services at Sunnycrest, prompting a $500 fine. … That resident also said staff is afraid to “speak up for fear of getting fired.” Other residents stated they had dietary restrictions, and when they didn’t like items on the menu, there weren’t alternatives available that they liked. Residents also said the kitchen sometimes ran out of prepared meals. Dubuque County hired Aramark in June to manage dietary services at Sunnycrest. The report said inspectors spoke with the dietary director and a dietitian from the contract agency, who said residents could get alternative food, such as a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, from the nurse’s station on each floor if they do not like menu food. Fresh salad also is available at every meal, they said.

Related:

Dubuque County OKs Aramark services at Sunnycrest /The company will manage dietary and housekeeping. No employees will lose their jobs.
Source: Alicia Yager, TH Online, June 10, 2015

Dietary and housekeeping services at Sunnycrest Manor will be managed by Aramark starting at the end of this month. The Dubuque County Board of Supervisors on Monday approved a one-year contract with Aramark that will take effect on June 29 and continue until June 28, 2016. The company will provide on-site management of dietary and housekeeping services at the county-owned long-term care facility…. Klein said the contract authorizes Aramark to serve in a managerial role. Current employees in dietary and laundry services will keep their jobs. …. The contract states the price-per-meal will change based on resident population. Prices can vary from $3.326 per meal if 85 to 89 residents are served, down to $3.197 per meal for 120 to 124 residents. Those prices are set through April 30, 2016…..

Some Sunnycrest outsourcing OK’d
Source: Alicia Yager, TH Online, February 19, 2015

Operational board recommends Aramark handle bulk laundry services for an annual savings of $194,000. Dietary and housekeeping would remain if union staff will agree on concessions to wages and benefits.
Continue reading