The COVID-19 pandemic has caused nursing home staffing shortages across the United States, even forcing facilities to close, but some states have been hit harder than others. A new analysis looks at which states are confronting the worst staffing problems. Overwhelmed by the stress of long hours, low pay and exposure to the COVID-19 virus, nursing home workers have been quitting in record numbers. According to the Service Employees International Union, more than 420,000 workers — nearly 10 percent of the workforce — left the long-term care industry between the start of the pandemic and January 2022. The labor hemorrhage Continue Reading
Medicaid Recipients Have a Little More Time to Spend Down Their Stimulus Money
The one-year deadline for nursing home residents on Medicaid to spend down their first round of stimulus checks is here, but they may have a little extra time. In March 2020, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act authorized $1,200 stimulus checks to most Americans, including Medicaid recipients. Another round of $600 checks was authorized in December 2020, and $1,400 checks were ordered in February 2021. The stimulus checks are not considered income for Medicaid recipients, and the payments have been excluded from Medicaid’s strict resource limits for 12 months. While the one-year deadline for spending down the Continue Reading
Covid Forces Families to Rethink Nursing Home Care
By Reed Abelson, Published in the New York Times Even with vaccines, many older people and their relatives are weighing how to manage at-home care for those who can no longer live independently. At 86, Diane Nixon, living in an apartment at the back of a daughter’s house, no longer drives and has trouble getting around. When her health worsened last year before the coronavirus pandemic, she and all four of her daughters talked about whether a nursing home would be the next step. She worried that she had become a burden to her children. “She was very adamant about Continue Reading
Biden Administration May Spell Changes to Estate Tax and Stepped-Up Basis Rule
A new administration usually means that tax code changes are coming. While it remains unclear exactly what tax changes President Biden’s administration will usher in, two possibilities are that it will propose lowering the estate tax exemption and eliminating the stepped-up basis on death. The first would affect only multi-millionaires, but the second could have an impact on more modest estates and their heirs. In 2017, Republicans in Congress and President Trump doubled the federal estate tax exemption and indexed it for inflation. For the 2021 tax year, the exemption is $11.7 million for individuals and $23.4 million for couples. As long as your estate Continue Reading
Can You Visit Nursing Home Residents After They are Vaccinated?
COVID vaccines are starting to roll out to nursing homes across the country, signaling the beginning of the end of the pandemic. Once your loved one has had both doses of the vaccine, you may be able to visit, but precautions are still necessary. The federal government entered into a partnership with CVS and Walgreens to deliver the vaccines to nursing home residents, who have high priority for being vaccinated, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines. The pharmacy companies began administering vaccines in 12 states in mid-December and will expand to 36 states before year’s end. Continue Reading
Will Medicare Cover a Coronavirus Vaccine?
With the coronavirus pandemic responsible for more than a hundred thousand deaths and disrupting life across the United States, the only way for the country to return to normal is an effective vaccine. When a vaccine is available, Medicare will cover the cost. Medicare covers vaccines in a variety of ways, depending on the vaccine. It may be through Medicare Part B, Medicare Part D, or a Medicare Advantage plan if you are enrolled in one. Part B covers vaccines only for certain illnesses: flu, pneumonia, and Hepatitis B (if you are at medium or high risk). Medicare covers 100 Continue Reading
A Modest Raise for Nursing Home Workers Could Save 15,000 Lives a Year: Study
Raising the minimum wage by as little as 10 percent would significantly improve the safety and health of nursing home residents, according to new research. Most direct care in nursing homes is provided by nursing assistants, who make up about 40 percent of the nursing home workforce and are among the lowest-paid workers in the U.S. economy. Nursing assistants help residents with activities of daily living like eating, bathing and dressing, and and work with certified nurses and elder care teams to monitor patients’ conditions. Due in part of their low wages, nursing assistants frequently change jobs for better pay Continue Reading
States May Not Terminate Medicaid Benefits During the Coronavirus Pandemic
Access to affordable medical care is especially important during a global health crisis. You should be aware that federal law prevents states that have accepted increased Medicaid funding from terminating Medicaid benefits while the coronavirus health emergency continues. The Secretary of Health and Human Services has declared a nationwide public health emergency for COVID-19. In light of the public health emergency, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act provides that if you were enrolled in Medicaid as of March 18, 2020, the state (provided it accepted expanded Medicaid funds during the crisis) cannot terminate your benefits even if there is a change Continue Reading