NIC Notes

Insights in Seniors Housing & Care

Economic Trends  |  Workforce

At 255,000, July’s Job Gains Are Strong

By: Beth Burnham Mace  |  August 05, 2016

The first Friday of the month at 8:30 EDT is widely anticipated by market participants as the Labor Department presents a fresh gauge of the most recent economic performance in its release of the labor report for the prior month. Today’s number was even more closely watched since recent data releases on the economy (such as the second quarter GDP report that showed an expansion of only 1.2% at an annualized rate) suggest sluggish overall economic growth. The Federal Reserve will next meet on September 20 and 21 to assess the strength of the economy and decide if it should raise its benchmark interest rate. Last week, it decided to leave rates unchanged. 

Economic Trends  |  Regulatory Environment  |  Skilled Nursing

Managed Care 101

By: Liz Liberman  |  August 03, 2016

Managed care is an all-encompassing term that covers a variety of methods to pay for healthcare outside the norm of fee-for-service. Medicare Advantage (MA) plans are a form of managed care, as are Managed Medicaid plans. Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) also fall under this umbrella. With the exception of MA, managed care is a relatively new idea in terms of health care financing. Generally, with managed care, payments flow through a risk-bearing third-party company to health care providers. The third party’s goal is to manage a patient’s total cost of care so that the total payment made by the third party is smaller than the initial bill. How this system is regulated is still evolving; CMS is committed to moving away from traditional fee-for-service payments, and managed care has a role to play in attaining that goal.

Economic Trends

The Financial and Emotional Rollercoaster of Caregiving

By: Liz Liberman  |  August 01, 2016

The burden of caring for a loved one has been in the news recently. Last year, AARP reported that in 2013, an estimated 40 million people acted as caregivers, assisting with at least one activity of daily living (ADL) and providing $470 billion in uncompensated care over 37 billion hours. That’s a sum greater than Belgium’s GDP in 2015. In fact, the total value of uncompensated care exceeded the total Medicare spend in that year by over $20 billion. And these figures don’t even begin to touch upon the emotional price of being a caregiver.

Economic Trends  |  Regulatory Environment  |  Skilled Nursing

Five-Star Changes Go Live Today

By: Liz Liberman  |  July 27, 2016

All Medicare-certified skilled nursing facilities are subject to the Five-Star Quality Rating System and Nursing Home Compare, which were established, implemented, and maintained by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS). Both programs use metrics to judge the quality of skilled nursing properties. Nursing Home Compare is a website where consumers can gather information about quality metrics for every eligible skilled nursing property to use for comparison shopping. Most of the quality metrics displayed on Nursing Home Compare are used as part of the input to establish a skilled nursing property’s Five-Star rating, with five-star facilities considered the highest quality.

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