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In This Issue
Monday, April 30, 2018 at 4:00 p.m. precisely. It’s not a day or moment I’ll ever forget. My day began at the office especially early, before 7:30 a.m. and it was breakneck all day long. About 3:30 p.m. or so, I was spent and headed out of my Rocky Mount office a little early. I stopped at the BP station a couple miles from our house in Salem to gas up for Tuesday’s trip to Raleigh. As I stood pumping gas outside my car, I could see on my car’s front seat my iPhone light up with an incoming call. It was my niece Jessica.
A long-term care facility can execute contracts with many different vendors including food product and service vendors, laundry and linen providers, IT companies, and others. Whether working for a single-site operator or a multi facility system, a thorough review of all contracts and a careful consideration of the “what-ifs” are crucial steps. Too often, the language and terms of a contract are only carefully reviewed after an issue arises. By then, it may be too late. Not all problems can be prevented but there are steps that you can take in the contracting process to reduce risks.
Recent high-profile stories of family members secretly recording inside skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) and then sharing those recordings with the media or trying to use them in court proceedings against providers have renewed the focus on so-called “Granny Cams,” or recording devices that capture and save images or sounds of residents. I’ve worked on the Granny Cam issue off and on for nearly 30 years. Back in the day, our concern and our focus was on big, lumbering, easy-to-spot cameras mounted on the walls of resident rooms where data was stored on hard drives or disks only.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG) recently updated its Work Plan in August 2018 to add an additional topic focusing on nursing facilities that receive Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement. The Work Plan describes new and ongoing OIG audits and evaluations for DHHS programs and operations, including Medicare and Medicaid. The OIG updates its Work Plan throughout the year and the release of an update provides an opportunity for nursing facilities to review their own operations and practices in order to identify areas for compliance improvement.