Wednesday, March 25, 2015

NEW! QI Resources from the AHCA Clinical Practice Committee

Members can now access two clinical resource guides available on AHCA’s website—Elements for Effective Care Transitions, Ideas and Resources for Post-Acute Care Providers and Considerations for End of Life Care Competency

The Rehospitalization Subcommittee of AHCA’s Clinical Practice Committee developed an Elements for Effective Care Transitions, Ideas and Resources for Post-Acute Care Providers Guide.  This guide identifies four categories of multiple elements that assist in effective care transitions including assess and develop clinical capabilities, identify key community providers, develop and grow provider relationships, collect and report data.  In addition, the guide provides an introduction to ten free AHCA/NCAL webinars that elaborate further on each of these element categories.  Links to the webinars are included within the guide document. 

The End of Life Care Subcommittee of AHCA’s Clinical Practice Committee designed a Considerations for End of Life Care Competency GuideThis guide is built around the Holistic Approach to Transformational Change (HATCh) domains and includes an array of strategies to enhance care at the end of a person’s life.  The guide can be used to discover strengths or gaps in knowledge, skill or attitude and to help develop strategies to enhance end of life careAs organizations move toward QAPI, this guide could be used by quality and performance improvement committees to consider areas for performance improvement projects.  In addition, one of the webinars in the Clinical Practice Series last year is focused on end of life care and is a valuable supplement to this guide. 

Now Available: The 2013 NCAL Vacancy, Retention, and Turnover Report

The Vacancy, Retention, and Turnover Survey (VRT) is a nationwide study to collect retention, vacancy and turnover information among assisted living employees.  This survey is supported by LeadingAge, the American Seniors Housing Association (ASHA), and the Assisted Living Federation of America (ALFA).  This is the fifth annual VRT survey, NCAL has conducted.  Overall staff turnover was 24.2 percent and nursing turnover, which included direct care staff, was 25.0 percent.  The full report is available on the NCALwebsite.

Coming Soon! Add your Turnover & Retention Data to LTC Trend Tracker

AHCA and NCAL members will be able to upload their turnover and retention information into LTC Trend Tracker starting in April. Members will submit this data annually and the results will be available immediately for tracking purposes.  The collected data allows users to track their turnover and retention rates for Direct Care Staff positions, Administrator/Executive Director and Director of Nursing/Resident Care Coordinator and to benchmark their rates against those of their peers.  This collection will replace the survey that was sent to centers and communities in previous years.  Training manuals will be available next month on the LTC Trend Tracker resource page.  

Try it. You’ll have fun.

Visit the National Nursing Home Week (NNHW) website. It is now open for business and ready to encourage you to participate in the “Bring on the Fiesta” theme for May 10 to 16, 2015. The site offers information in many topic areas, such as: Party Tips, Activities, Music to Celebrate a Fiesta, Crafts, Food, and Social Media. Order special NNHW week products here.

Visitors to the site will also find a PDF of the Planning Guide/Product Catalog, a link to order theme-related items, along with templates for three projects:
  • Press Release
  • Invitation Letter to Media and Others
  • Proclamation
National Nursing Home Week is an opportunity for facilities to entice in new guests, infrequent visitors, and local VIPs to realize and appreciate the importance of a kind word, a personal touch, and connecting with residents. Make NNHW week a special time of entertainment and education and visit Also “Like” NNHW week on Facebook at

So get on board and let’s have some old fashioned FUN at the FIESTA!

National Assisted Living Week Theme Announced

Katherine Preede

Let the planning begin! NCAL is proud to announce the 2015 National Assisted Living Week® (NALW) theme – suggested by you – “Nourishing Life: Mind, Body, Spirit.”

NCAL received many wonderful theme and activity suggestions through the NALW Facebook, and other avenues. “Nourishing Life: Mind, Body, Spirit” stood out as a theme that truly embodies all that assisted living represents. This theme celebrates the countless ways assisted living caregivers nurture the whole resident. Communities across the country work each and every day to ensure that the lives of their residents are fully nourished in each and every way.

Conversely, residents nourish the lives of team members and volunteers by, with the support of loved ones, sharing their inspiring lives. NALW is a time to celebrate all those who work together to create the highest quality of life possible.

In the coming weeks and months, the 2015 NALW logo will be available for download in several formats, and a planning guide and product catalog will be released. The planning guide will contain ideas that tie into the theme, which help providers create their celebration events.

As NALW approaches, visit or the NALW Facebook page for updated information and resources.

New NCAL Member Resource Available for Emergency Preparedness!

Lindsay B. Schwartz, Ph.D.

In collaboration with the Florida Health Care Association, NCAL has published an updated version of the Emergency Preparedness Guide for Assisted Living Communities. This comprehensive guide supports assisted living communities in developing emergency operations plans and includes templates and numerous additional resources. NCAL members can access this guide on the AHCA/NCAL Emergency Preparedness website.

Observation Stays Legislation Introduced This Week

Dana Halvorson

This week, Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Susan Collins (R-ME), Bill Nelson (D-FL), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) and Congressman Joe Courtney (D-CT-2) reintroduced the Improving Access to Medicare Coverage Act of 2015 (S. 843/H.R. 1571). This important legislation ensures that time spent under “observation status” in a hospital counts toward satisfying the three-day inpatient hospital requirement for coverage of skilled nursing care services under Medicare. Often, patients remain under ‘‘observation status’’ in the hospital for several days. These days are not counted toward the three-day inpatient stay requirement because they are considered outpatient.

Increasingly, patients have no idea what their status is in a hospital, or the importance of it, which can lead to thousands of dollars in out-of-pocket medical expenses should they need skilled nursing center care following their hospital stay. In addition to placing a financial burden on seniors and their families, this anomaly in Medicare rules can cause unnecessary spend-down, accelerating the time frame in which seniors will have to turn to programs such as Medicaid to pay for their care. For more information about observation stays and the three-day stay requirement, visit the AHCA/NCAL website.

AHCA’s ID/DD Members Storm the Hill During Fly-In Event

Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman
Dana Halvorson

Yesterday, Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (ID/DD) Residential Services Providers were in Washington DC for AHCA’s annual Hill Fly-In event. Participants heard from a number of Congressional speakers, including current and former Hill staffers and members of Congress. The morning started off with a Hill update from Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ12 pictured at left), and was followed by a Congressional Hill panel. 

Attendees also had the opportunity to hear from Senator Blanche Lincoln (pictured below), who is the Founder and Principal of the Lincoln Policy Group. During her 16-year career in the U.S. Congress — first as a two-term member of the House of Representatives and then as a two-term member of the U.S. Senate — Lincoln built a reputation as a results-oriented, bipartisan legislator.

After the morning event was over, the ID/DD providers went to Capitol Hill to discuss critical issues, including Medicaid, Medicaid Provider Assessments and Medicaid Managed Care. The 2015 ID/DD Hill Fly-In issue briefs can be found here. If you have any questions relating to this event, please don’t hesitate to contact AHCA’s Senior Director of Not for Profit & Constituent Services, Dana Halvorson.
Senator Blanche Lincoln

AHCA Launches New Payment Reform Initiative Webpages

Mike Cheek 

AHCA members now have access to the latest information about the ongoing AHCA Payment Reform Initiative (PRI). Log onto the AHCA website* to view the new PRI webpages, which include an overview of the initiative, details on the Medicare Post-Acute Care SNF Payment concept, background on value-based components and therapy regulatory relief, and additional resources.

In June 2014, the Chair of the AHCA Board of Governors appointed a Payment Reform Task Force. The goal of the task force was to develop a viable, proactive and comprehensive vision for payment reform suitable for advocacy with Congress, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Congressional Medicare and Medicaid advisory commissions. Over the course of the summer and early fall 2014, the Task Force members submitted over a dozen reform concept papers. The concepts then were scored and prioritized by the member-driven Task Force.​

Visit the AHCA Payment Reform Initiative homepage to learn more. If you have questions or comments on the still-under-development-effort, please contact Mike Cheek at

*Members must be logged onto the AHCA website in order to view the PRI webpages.

House to Vote on Permanent SGR Fix

Drew Thies

The House Ways and Means Committee introduced a bipartisan permanent fix to the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) Tuesday. The bill, H.R. 2, implements a new payment system for doctors that supporters hope will end the annual battle to fund short-term “doc fixes.”

The $210 billion dollar package based on last year’s bicameral effort to repeal SGR is expected to come up for a vote in the full House on Thursday. Both Speaker of the House John Boehner and Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi released a statement applauding the effort, suggesting the bill will receive broad bipartisan support in the House. The House will not be voting on an alternative short-term patch similar to those in the past.

The timeline for Senate passage is more tenuous. The Senate will vote on a Budget late Thursday night and potentially into early Friday morning, putting a potential SGR vote on the heels of a grueling “vote-o-rama,” as it is known. Because the Senate will take a two week holiday recess beginning Friday, this leaves a very short window of time for passage of a deal before the March 31st deadline.

If the Senate cannot pass the House package, they will have to either pass a short-term fix to be approved by the House or let the SGR expire, forcing CMS to hold claims until legislation is passed.

If a bill does not get passed, CMS will provide an update by April 11 “with more information about the status of congressional action to avert the negative update and next steps.”