- Center for Medicare Advocacy Co-Authors Case Study Journal Article on Nurse Staffing Litigation in Arkansas
- New Medicare Cards:Wave Four Distribution Begins
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Charlene Harrington, professor emerita at the University of California San Francisco, and Center for Medicare Advocacy Senior Policy Attorney Toby S. Edelman have written an analysis of the class action lawsuit against twelve Golden Living nursing facilities in Arkansas for insufficient nurse staffing. The case was settled for $72 million in 2017. In “Failure to Meet Nurse Staffing Standards: A Litigation Case Study of a Large US Nursing Home Chain,” Harrington and Edelman describe the extensive evidence on inadequate staffing levels at the facilities that was developed during the litigation. This evidence included deposition testimony of seven directors of nursing that their facilities were understaffed and that management was informed but unresponsive; data documenting inflated staffing levels reported to the state; grievances from residents and their families about lack of staff and basic care; survey deficiencies reflecting inadequate staffing; and residents’ medical records documenting serious quality of care problems.
The settlement also underscores the potential significance of language added to the federal Requirements of Participation for nursing facilities in 2016 that requires that facilities determine their staffing needs during the facility assessment process. The new regulatory language requires facilities to rely on the professional expertise of their nurses in determining the care needs of their residents and how those needs will be met.
- Read the full article at: http://www.medicareadvocacy.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/Harrington-Edelman-GL-Failure-to-Meet-Staffing-Standards-2018.pdf
 A Center Alert in January 2018 discussed the settlement of the lawsuit. CMA, “Lawsuit Challenging Chronic SNF Understaffing Settled for $72 Million,” (Jan. 2018), http://www.medicareadvocacy.org/lawsuit-challenging-chronic-snf-understaffing-settled-for-72-million/.
 Inquiry: The Journal of Health Care Organization, Provision, and Financing, Vol. 55: 1-12 (2018),
 81 Fed. Reg. 68,688 (Oct. 4, 2016), http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/0046958018788686.
 42 C.F.R. §483.35.
 42 C.F.R. §483.70(e).
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Last week, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a notice that beneficiaries in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont will begin receiving new Medicare cards. The agency also announced the completion of the mailing to beneficiaries who live in Alaska, American Samoa, California, Guam, Hawaii, Northern Mariana Islands and Oregon. These were the “Wave Two” states and territories.
As a reminder, the new Medicare card will have a new and unique Medicare Beneficiary Identifier number instead of the beneficiary’s Social Security Number (SSN). The new cards are meant to be safer, protecting beneficiaries from fraud, identity theft and SSN misuse. Please note that beneficiaries don’t need to do anything to receive the new card and there is no charge for it. Beneficiaries should destroy their old Medicare card immediately after receiving the new one.
Unsurprisingly, there have been reports of scams related to the new Medicare cards. Scammers may try to contact beneficiaries to get personal information such as their Social Security Number; threaten to cancel a beneficiary’s Medicare coverage; or try to charge beneficiaries for a new card. Beneficiaries should know that Medicare will never make an unsolicited call to ask for personal information.
For more information:
- CMS’ video about how to safely destroy an old Medicare Card: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rf9q0dVinF8
- Additional educational resources about the new Medicare Card: https://www.cms.gov/Medicare/New-Medicare-Card/Outreach-and-Education/Outreach-and-education.html
- Learn how to fight Medicare fraud and find information about your state’s Senior Medicare Patrol here: https://www.smpresource.org/
- Report scams to the Senate Aging Committee’s toll-free hotline at 1-855-303-9470