Genworth Financial -- the nation's largest long-term care coverage provider -- has said it will begin charging women higher premiums this spring. Genworth will implement a gender-pricing policy in all but two states that prohibit such pricing practices: Colorado and Montana. The company said the new policy will apply only to women who purchase new individual policies, or about 10% of all purchasers. Kaiser Health News/Washington Post.
More than 110,000 individuals with CalPERS long-term care insurance are being notified of an 85% increase in premiums beginning in 2015. CalPERS officials say that the rate hikes are necessary to avoid financial shortfalls in the program in decades to come. Los Angeles Times.
A CalPERS committee has approved a plan to reopen enrollment for its long-term care insurance program by the end of the year. The proposal -- which must be approved by lawmakers -- would allow beneficiaries' adult children to enroll. Sacramento Bee's "The State Worker."
As part of a settlement with the state attorney general's office, Skilled Healthcare Group will pay $350,000 annually for two years to cover the cost of an independent monitor that will conduct surprise inspections of the nursing home chain and report back to the attorney general's office on its compliance with state staffing laws. Skilled Healthcare received 76 citations from the Department of Public Health from 2008 to 2012, most of which were related to inadequate staffing. Los Angeles Times' "L.A. Now."
State officials are launching a program that aims to provide rental assistance to Californians with disabilities who are leaving long-term care facilities. To receive assistance, individuals must qualify for long-term care services under Medi-Cal. Los Angeles Times' "L.A. Now," DHCS release.
San Diego Hospice has filed for bankruptcy protection amid an ongoing federal probe into its care delivery practices. Scripps Health -- which recently acquired a small local hospice -- has offered to provide hospice care to San Diego Hospice residents who need it. Kaiser Health News.
In the past decade, more seniors at the end of life were placed in hospice care, but many of them were moved from hospitals -- where they received aggressive medical treatment -- to such facilities too late to see any benefit, according to a study published in the Journal of American Medical Association. An accompanying editorial said high rates of hospitalization and aggressive treatment at the end of life show the need for better patient-physician communication. USA Today et al.
Alzheimer's disease rates among California's minority groups are projected to increase significantly over the next two decades. However, health officials and observers warn that certain ethnic and racial groups might avoid seeking diagnoses and prompt treatment because of their traditional beliefs and values. Sacramento Bee.
Last week, San Diego Hospice CEO Kathleen Pacurar and other hospice industry experts said they expect the facility to recover from its current financial challenges, which led the hospital to lay off 260 workers and impose a temporary closure that begins Dec. 31. The problems are related to an ongoing federal Medicare audit. U-T San Diego.
The state Supreme Court has ruled that patients can sue nursing home owner Covenant Care over allegations that it has violated state nurse-staffing standards. The ruling says state law allows patients to bring legal action against "violations of their rights." San Francisco Chronicle.
On Tuesday, San Diego Hospice Chief Medical Director Steven Oppenheim and CFO Kathy Jones tendered their resignations, according to an internal email from CEO Kathleen Pacurar. Their resignations come just one day after news that the organization is facing significant financial problems related to an ongoing federal Medicare audit. U-T San Diego.
HHS' Office of Inspector General has found that one-quarter of all Medicare claims submitted by skilled nursing facilities in 2009 included errors. Most of those claims were "upcoded," resulting in Medicare paying $1.5 billion more than necessary. Modern Healthcare et al.
Issues uncovered by a federal Medicare audit could force San Diego Hospice to return millions of dollars to Medicare and lay off as many as 200 employees, according to CEO Kathleen Pacurar. Medicare is conducting audits nationwide to demine whether hospice facilities' policies are too liberal in qualifying patients for Medicare hospice reimbursements. U-T San Diego.
Representatives for California Attorney General Kamala Harris recently confirmed that Harris' office is establishing three specialized teams -- one in Sacramento and two in Southern California -- to pursue criminal charges against administrators and workers at nursing homes who are suspected of abusing their elderly residents. Sacramento Bee.
Former Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan is leading a campaign to gather support for a proposed spring 2013 ballot initiative that would shift new Los Angeles workers to a city-funded, 401(k)-like health savings plan upon retirement, instead of a guaranteed benefit plan. The initiative is similar to one that San Diego voters approved in June. Capitol Weekly.