Friday, August 22, 2014

CDC releases latest Influenza Vaccine Information Statements (VIS) for 2014-2015 season

Holly Harmon
Each year thousands of people in the United States die from flu and many more are hospitalized. Flu vaccine is the best protection against flu and its complications. Flu vaccine also helps prevent spreading flu from person to person.

The 2014-2015 Influenza Vaccine Information Statements are now available on the CDC website. Access the Live Intranasal Influenza Vaccine Information Statement at: Access the Inactivated Influenza Vaccine Information Statement at:

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Update to the CWF Qualifying Stay Edit C7123 for Inpatient SNF and SB Claims

Dan Ciolek

CMS recently resolved an issue concerning the Common Working File (CWF) qualifying stay edit C7123 to allow Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF) and Swing Bed (SB) claims that contain a valid qualifying hospital stay to bypass edit C7123. SNF and SB providers that have received this edit in error may adjust their affected claims or contact their Medicare Administrative Contractor (MAC) in order to have their claims adjusted.

CMS is currently working on a permanent coding fix for CWF edit C7123 that will address all possible bypass scenarios for the edit. SNF and SB providers should contact their MAC with any questions or concerns.

AHCA Hosts NFP Focused Webinar on Using Dashboards to Monitor Metrics

Dana Halvorson

On September 30, 2014, at 2 PM Eastern, AHCA will be hosting a webinar on using dashboards. Using dashboard to monitor metrics is a way for nonprofit organizations to monitor what is working or not working. Efficiency helps the organization to best utilize available funds. Also many organizations are being requested to provide outcomes to support its mission. You can register for the webinar here.

Webinar speaker, Jeanette Bax-Kurtz, is the Director of Not-for-Profit and Regulatory Services for Mueller Prost PC and coordinates the firm’s delivery of audit, tax and advisory services to tax exempt and other organizations, including not-for-profit, real estate, construction and healthcare industries. Her knowledge base has been the source of assistance for many directors, trustees, government agencies, owners and legal consultants in solving challenges facing a dynamic environment. Mueller Prost PC is a team of CPAs and business advisors headquartered in St. Louis that is Advising with Vision® to help clients grow and prosper. The firm offers a full range of professional tax, audit, accounting and management advisory services to high-net-worth individuals, entrepreneurs, closely-held businesses, as well as to non-profit organizations and public companies.

For more details, visit

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Rock n’ Roll! Turn Your Assisted Living Community into a Concert Hall

Katherine Preede

This year’s National Assisted Living Week® celebrates the "Magic of Music." Everyone loves to hear live music, especially if it is performed by their favorite star. While many of your residents can no longer attend concerts, there is no reason to not bring a concert to them!

Photo by Richard McGuire, Osoyoos Times
National Assisted Living Week®, coming up September 7-13, is the perfect time to bring in a local band, singer or even better, a celebrity impersonator! You can stage a full concert to welcome Elvis, the Rat Pack, Glen Miller and others during a “One Night Only” event! Invite prospective residents and family members and have a rockin' good time!

Share your NALW activity ideas on Facebook!

Physical Therapist Guide to Practice Updated and Online

Dan Ciolek

The American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) has announced that “the physical therapy profession's preeminent guide to practice has taken on a new format, added new information and resources, updated others, and is now ready for use. The new online-only APTA Guide to Physical Therapist Practice 3.0 offers more dynamic content while continuing to deliver the most comprehensive description of an evolving profession—and it's free to the public for a very limited time.”

The newest version of the Guide includes content regarding physical therapy patient management, measurement and outcomes, examination and evaluation, and interventions. The new online version also incorporates links to tests and measures specific to individual patient needs, evidence to support interventions, and information to help with Medicare’s functional reporting requirements.       

The online Guide is available for free to the public until September 30. After that, it will be free to APTA members and available to nonmembers via an annual subscription. The software supporting the Guide requires no installation, and updates will not have to be downloaded to individual users' computers.

2014 Gold-Excellence in Quality Award Recipients Announced

Courtney Bishnoi and Andrea Todd

On Monday, the American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) announced the six care centers that have earned a 2014 Gold – Excellence in Quality Award. The award is the final of three distinct awards possible through the National Quality Award Program presented by AHCA/NCAL. The competitive award program recognizes centers across the nation that meet rigorous standards and serve as models of excellence in providing high-quality long term care.

Click here for the names of the six 2014 Gold – Excellence in Quality Award recipients.

The Gold – Excellence in Quality Award is the most prestigious of the program. It requires care centers to previously achieve both the Bronze – Commitment to Quality and Silver – Achievement in Quality awards and adheres to the rigorous criteria outlined in the Baldrige Performance Excellence Program. The Gold Award is designed to elicit best practices from recipients in the areas of leadership, strategic planning, customer focus, process management and results. Since the inception of the National Quality Award Program in 1996, only 24 care centers have achieved this level of quality recognition.

AHCA/NCAL previously announced the Bronze – Commitment to Quality and the Silver – Achievement in Quality recipients in May and June of this year. The recipient centers will be honored during the AHCA/NCAL’s 65th Annual Convention and Exposition, October 5-8, 2014, in Washington, D.C.

Path to Excellence: Person-Centered Care

Holly Harmon

Person-centered care promotes choice, purpose and meaning in daily life. Person-centered care means that nursing home residents are supported in achieving the level of physical, mental and psychosocial well-being that is individually practicable. The Advancing Excellence (AE) person-centered goal honors the importance of keeping the person at the center of the care planning and decision-making process. Care plans are living documents that are revised to reflect a person’s changing needs. Through person-centered care, staff places a premium on active listening and observing, so staff can adapt to each resident’s changing needs regardless of cognitive abilities.

The AE website offers a person centered care tracking tool. The tool can be found at: . The person centered care tracking tool can be utilized to log results from residents' Preference Satisfaction Interviews and record how their subsequent care plans address those preferences. The tool creates graphic displays indicating opportunities to fulfill residents' preferences, evaluate community trends, and calculates an overall Preference Congruence Quality Indicator and the percent of care plan meetings with key participants. 

AHCA/NCAL Convention Education FOCUS ON Quality Initiatives & More

Register now and join us in our home town of Washington, D.C. at the beautiful Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center. The Advance Registration deadline is September 9.
More than 165 top-notch speakers are coming to this year's Convention & Expo. They are all part of an outstanding lineup of education sessions designed to help you find inspiration, learn new strategies, and gain a deeper understanding of how to reach your goals. Earn CEUs, network with your peers, and engage in exciting discussions while you focus on the long term and post-acute care issues that matter to you and your centers. AHCA/NCAL has developed education tracks that focus on Quality Initiative goals, providing you with the tools and information that will help attain them. Numerous sessions are available on:
  • Antipsychotic Reduction
  • Rehospitalization Reduction
  • Improving the Customer Experience
  • Improving Staff Stability
Learn more about the specific sessions available, and see all the different tracks of learning. There are also tracks on Advocacy, Assisted Living, Data Management, Leadership, Quality Award, and Risk Management just to name a few. You are sure to get your questions answered and go home with a bevy of new ideas.

Work Up a Sweat to Your Favorite Songs During NALW!

Katherine Preede

The 2014 National Assisted Living Week® is only one month away! Start planning now all the exciting and invigorating activities you will have in your community the week of September 7-13, 2014.

One great way to incorporate this year’s theme “The Magic of Music” into your traditional activities is to plan to sweat to the oldies! Research shows the importance of physical exercise and your community most likely already has several cardiovascular activities throughout the week. Start downloading some energizing oldies that you can play during chair yoga, Thai Chi or other exciting workouts. You can even ask your residents some favorite songs or take a look at which songs you already play cause people to pump a little bit harder.

Playing upbeat and fast-passed music during workouts can be a great motivator for residents and team members alike! If you need some ideas on possible songs, check out our #MusicMondays on Facebook!

AHCA Urges Greater Transparency for Managed Care Claims

Drew Thies 

Last week, AHCA urged top Senate leaders to take a closer look at managed care plans and develop better methods for collecting and releasing claims information. The letter, sent to Chairman Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Ranking Member Chuck Grassley (R-IA) of the Senate Finance Committee details four suggestions on which both CMS and Congress can act to improving managed care plans.

Medicare Advantage plans and Medicaid managed care organizations are growing at a rapid pace, but various regulations make it more difficult to look at cost and quality relative to their traditional, fee-for-service counterparts. In some instances, there is nearly a two-year delay in the release of important quality statistics, which it makes it nearly impossible for providers to see how improvement methods have worked.

AHCA urged CMS to release managed care data in public use files, require that claims data and Minimum Data Set data is released in a timelier manner, and lower the price point for claims data to make it more widely available. Additionally, AHCA advised the committee members to begin work on legislation that would incentivize implementation of health information technology for post-acute care providers, a step that has already been taken for hospitals and physician groups.