Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Call for Entries: AHCA Awards Program

Carly Sfregola

We are now accepting entries for the AHCA Awards Program. AHCA honors individuals who are committed to improving the quality of life for residents. The categories are as follows:

  • ID/DD Hero of the Year
  • Not for Profit Trustee of the Year
  • Not for Profit Program of the Year
  • Volunteer of the Year
    • Young Adult (Ages 13-19)
    • Adult
    • Group

Nominations packets are available on AHCA's website. In a change from previous years, Volunteer of the Year nominations may be submitted directly by centers in good standing with the state affiliate. 

Please spread the word and take the time to submit a nomination. Honorees will be recognized at AHCA/NCAL's 69th Annual Annual Convention and & Expo in San Diego. 

Jan Thayer Pioneer Award Nominations Open!

Katherine Preede

Nominations are now open for NCAL’s 2018 Jan Thayer Pioneer Award. ​The award recognizes an individual who has moved the senior care profession forward, positively affecting the lives of those served and those who serve. Recipients must demonstrate dedication, leadership and considerable contributions to the senior care profession.

Nominations must be submitted online and include a 500-word or less essay, along with a copy of the candidate’s resume. Nominators must be members of AHCA/NCAL; however, candidates are not required to be members. All nominations must be received by June 8, 2018. The recipient is selected by the NCAL Executive Committee and will be honored at NCAL Day at the AHCA/NCAL Convention & Expo in San Diego this October.

The Jan Thayer Pioneer Award is posthumously named after the first Board Chair of NCAL Jan Thayer. A provider for more than 25 years, Thayer owned and operated Riverside Lodge in Grand Island, Nebraska. She also founded and headed up the Excel Development Group, which owned and managed retirement communities throughout the Midwest and employed hundreds.

This is the fourth year NCAL is honoring an individual in the assisted living profession. The award was bestowed to Bob Van Dyk of Van Dyk Healthcare last year.

NCAL Awards Program: 2018 Nominations are Underway!

Jean-Bernard Latortue
Know of an outstanding assisted living nurse or administrator? Last year, did your community create the best National Assisted Living Week® programming based on the "Family is Forever" theme? Or maybe there is an unlicensed caregiver or someone in the dietary, housekeeping, or maintenance departments who goes above and beyond the call of duty? If you answered yes, then check out NCAL’s 2018 Awards Program. This program gives awards in four categories:

Administrator of the Year
Nurse of the Year
Noble Caregiver in Assisted Living
National Assisted Living Week Programming

You must have all components of your application before you can submit a nomination online. To nominate, the following items are required:

Administrator and Nurse of the Year nominations - Must have essays and resumes
Noble Caregiver in Assisted Living nominations - Must have essays
National Assisted Living Week Programming nominations - Must have essay, calendar, and pictures.

Recipients (and one guest) receive a FREE trip to AHCA/NCAL’s 69th Annual Convention & Expo in San Diego, CA, October 7-10, 2018. Each will be honored in front of their peers during NCAL Day and the Closing General Session of the Convention.

For more information and to submit a nomination, please visit Completed nominations must be submitted no later than Friday, June 8, 2018.

Help recognize those that demonstrate outstanding service!

Webinar: International Dysphagia Diet Standardization Initiative (IDDSI)

Bobbie Vailes

International Dysphagia Diet Standardization Initiative (IDDSI)
Date: August 22nd, 2018 at 2:00pm ET

Session Overview:

This session will present the International Dysphagia Diet Standardization Initiative (IDDSI) which is a global standard with terminology and definitions to describe texture modified foods and thickened liquids used for individuals with dysphagia of all ages. Implementation of the IDDSI framework in LTC consisting of a continuum of 8 levels (0-7) will be presented. IDDSI has been endorsed by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and also the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association and will involve the entire interdisciplinary team involvement and support for success.  
After attending this session, attendees will be able to:
  1. Describe the International Dysphagia Diet Standardization Initiative (IDDSI) being implemented in the US
  2. Recognize the 8 Levels on the framework/continuum.
  3. Identify resources to help implement in the facility as “Best Practice”

Decrease Your Odds of Getting the #1 Cited F Tag with AHCA/NCAL’s Highly Rated Infection Prevention and Control Training

Dave Kyllo

The most frequently cited F-Tag in standard nursing facility health inspection surveys under the new survey process is F880 – Infection Prevention & Control. Since November 2017 when the new survey process began, more than one-third of surveys conducted across the nation have included a F880 Infection Prevention & Control citation.

AHCA’s Infection Preventionist Specialized Training (IPCO) program is specially designed to prepare individuals to effectively implement and manage an Infection Prevention & Control program in skilled nursing centers. It addresses both clinical and organizational systems, processes and cultural aspects of infection prevention and control which are fundamental to effectively leading and administering a center’s Infection Prevention & Control program.

AHCA’s course is an online, self-study program with 23 hours of training that meets the educational requirements outlined by CMS. It includes online lectures, case studies and interactive components taught by subject matter experts who have real life experience working in long term/post-acute care. The AHCA program gets rave reviews with 97 percent of health care professionals who have completed the course recommending IPCO to their colleagues.

The course addresses both clinical and organizational systems, processes and cultural aspects of infection prevention and control that are fundamental to effectively leading and administering successful infection prevention and control programs and antibiotic stewardship programs.  Upon successful completion of this program, participants will receive certificates including 23 ANCC contact hours.

Discounted group purchase rates are available for groups of 25 or more. Those interested in making a group purchase should email AHCA at  

While CMS has announced plans to offer a free infection prevention training course some time in Spring 2019, AHCA/NCAL recommends investing in staff training now rather than waiting at least another year to train staff on the requirements that already are in effect. Despite the recent CMS training announcement, facilities will continue to be surveyed on all the new infection prevention and control requirements and the antibiotic stewardship requirements – the same requirements leading to the most commonly cited F-Tag since November 2017 under Phase I and Phase II of the CMS Requirements of Participation and the implementation of the new survey process.

To access ahcancalED and the IPCO course, members will need to login with their AHCA/NCAL usernames and passwords. For assistance obtaining AHCA/NCAL usernames and passwords, please e-mail with your name and facility contact information.

Avoid the F880 tag.  Prepare your center and staff now for success in infection prevention and control under the new survey process: Register for IPCO!

It’s Graduation Season and the Long Term Care Career Center is a Great Place for Jobs!

Dave Kyllo

Graduation season is here. The AHCA/NCAL Long Term Care Career Center, is a great resource for nursing students and high school and college graduates who are interested in careers in long term care or health care. Our Center contains a Career Learning Center that includes professional resources for creating powerful resumes and acing job interviews.

The LTC Career Center is always free for job seekers and has some of the top long term care jobs in the country. Serious job seekers and top health care employers rely on this site to connect.

Creating an account and posting a resume is quick, free and easy! Give the graduates you know a gift that will be remembered – their first job leads. Tell them about and the free Career Learning Center job seeker resources today and help them launch their health care careers.    

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Prepare for the New Payment Model: PDPM Toolkt to be Launched at AHCA/NCAL Annual Convention

Danielle Levitan

Patient-Driven Payment Model (PDPM) Toolkit to be Launched at AHCA/NCAL Annual Convention

During its 69th Annual Convention & Expo, AHCA will present a 4-hour intensive session that addresses the new PDPM payment system from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). CMS has proposed that PDPM replace the current RUGs system in its entirety on October 1, 2019, moving away from reimbursement based on hours of service to a model built “to treat the needs of the whole patient.” You’ll need to find out what that means for you and how to best prepare.

The PDPM intensive will include an in-depth training on the PDPM payment system. During the intensive, a member toolkit will be released that will contain the core competencies framework as well as a readiness review tool that will help you track your operational readiness for PDPM. The intensive will also cover data gathered from 12 companies testing impacts of PDPM and provide hospital and discharge pattern data that could be helpful in member markets. This session will set your feet firmly on a path to readiness for when PDPM rolls out in October 2019.

Make the investment in your success under the new payment system, and register for convention today.

Early bird registration rates end July 20.

Please note that the intensive will be held twice – Sunday, October 7 at 1:00pm and Wednesday, October 10 at 10:30am.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Webinar: Addressing Behavioral Health Needs of Older Veterans: In our Communities and in Partnership

May 22, 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM EST

This webinar will celebrate both Older Americans Month and Mental Health Month. The information presented aims to help community service providers understand behavioral health needs of older Veterans, identify VHA resources, and discuss the importance of collaboration across mental health, aging, and Veterans services.

While aging Veterans are generally a healthy and resilient group with enduring strengths related to their service, they may face challenges in late life. Older Veterans may struggle with multiple chronic illnesses and/or mental illness. For some, post-traumatic stress symptoms intensify in late life. Most older Veterans receive health, mental health, and social services in their communities. Community providers may not be aware of older clients' Veteran statuses, the unique needs they may have, or the available resources for which they are eligible.


Michele J. Karel, PhD, ABPP, Deputy Director, Geriatric Mental Health, Office of Mental Health and Suicide Prevention, VA Central Office
Bret Hicken, PhD, MSPH, Geriatric Domain Lead, Veterans Rural Health Resource Center-Salt Lake City and George E. Wahlen VAMC; Clinical Assistant Professor, Department of Counseling Psychology, University of Utah
Byran Richardson, Peer Specialist, West Palm Beach VAMC

Registration and Details

Registration is required to receive the webinar information. Visit the webinar information webpage to sign up and learn more.

National Older Adult Mental Health Awareness Day Event Livestream

Friday, May 18, 10:00 AM - 12:30 PM EST

SAMHSA and ACL, together with the National Coalition on Mental Health and Aging, invite you to a webcast on the first National Older Adult Mental Health Awareness Day. The event aims to raise public awareness about the mental health of older Americans and spur action to address the needs of this growing population. 

About the Discussion

By 2030 there will be approximately 75 million Americans over age 65, and the number of older adults needing treatment for serious mental illness and substance use disorders will also rise. Behavioral health conditions such as depression, anxiety, and the improper mixing of medication and alcohol are associated with higher health care use and lower quality of life. As with any age group, older adults have unique needs that require special attention and training from practitioners.

Watch as experts discuss evidence-based approaches to mental health and substance use prevention, treatment, and recovery supports for older adults. The panel will highlight the work of the Interdepartmental Serious Mental Illness Coordinating Committee and offer guidance for people who seek treatment and services.

One of the featured speakers is ACL Administrator and Assistant Secretary for Aging Lance Robertson.


Registration is required to view the webcast. Reserve your seat today.

PBJ Data and Your Center's Five-Star Rating: Check Out Your Top-Line Publication

Today, May 16, skilled nursing center members that are LTC Trend Tracker users will be emailed their LTC Trend Tracker Quarter 2 Top-Line Publication.

This valuable LTC Trend Tracker resource is a brief data report on your center and outlines your facility's Five-Star performance and ways to improve it. In addition, the Top-Line publication shows your center's progress on the 2018-2021 AHCA/NCAL Quality Initiative

In February, survey scores became based on two cycles instead of three as part of the survey score freeze. On April 25, staffing ratings became based on quarterly Payroll-Based Journal (PBJ) data instead of staffing data collected on CMS Form-671 during a standard survey. New risk-adjustments and cut points for determining star ratings were implemented as part of the transition. 

To help skilled nursing center members understand how these changes impact their Five-Star rating, we've included in this this edition of the Top-Line publication PBJ data and an explanation as to how your center's two cycle survey score is calculated

Users can leverage this report to explain to residents, families, and referral partners such as hospitals why their Five-Star rating has changed.

As a reminder, please remember to add the email address from which the publication will be sent from,, to your Safe Sender list to prevent any issues receiving the email.

If you do not receive the Top-Line in your email inbox, please take the following steps to view the report:
  • Search your clutter or spam folder for the email.
  • Log in to your LTC Trend Tracker account, click on "Manage Publications", and then "View and Download Publications". You may then select the publication you wish to view.
If you have any questions about LTC Trend Tracker or need additional assistance, please contact the team at