Monday, October 23, 2017

Provider Survey for Non-Residential HCBS Providers

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), states, and home and community based services (HCBS) providers are in the process of implementing the HCBS Settings Rule

The National Association of States United for Aging and Disabilities (NASUAD) is evaluating issues, challenges, and promising practices related to non-residential services for older adults and people with disabilities. There are ongoing questions regarding how non-residential services for these populations should be structured in order to comply with the rule while also providing the comprehensive array of health and social services that they were designed to include. In particular, this may affect adult day services provided in the same building as nursing home or ICF/ID services.

NASUAD is conducting a brief survey of non-residential HCBS providers (e.g., adult day service providers) to offer federal policymakers examples of ways to provide non-residential services in a manner that meets the rule’s requirements as well as the needs of these populations, and to assist with technical assistance to state agencies as they assess options for service delivery.

The survey is available online here. We would greatly appreciate a response by Tuesday, October 31st from any providers that also operate adult day services as an HCBS provider.  

Please email at NASUAD with any questions or concerns. 

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

This Is Your Chance – Sign Up for a NCAL Committee!

Katherine Preede

NCAL wants you to participate on a NCAL Committee! Nominate yourself to serve on one or more of the following committees: NCAL Quality Committee, NCAL Finance and Policy Committee, NCAL Risk Management Workgroup, and the NCAL Customer Relations Committee. Sign up before October 20!

All NCAL members are highly encouraged to participate in this process. In an effort to create diverse and widespread representation, appointments to specific committees may be limited to one participant per state and company. To assist in the process, individuals should choose two committees and rank their selections in order of preference. To submit your nominations, please complete the Survey Monkey. We hope you will take this opportunity to be an active member!

If you have any questions regarding this process, please contact Katherine Preede.

Monday, October 16, 2017

AHCA/NCAL Annual Convention Underway in Las Vegas

This week, The American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) welcomed more than 2,700 long term and post-acute care providers and 1,500 vendor partners to the Association’s 68th Annual Convention and Expo at The Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. 

Monday morning, AHCA/NCAL President and CEO Mark Parkinson described the challenges providers have faced in 2017. He also celebrated those heroes who stepped up to protect patients and residents during the recent natural disasters, including hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

The keynote address was delivered by Jim Collins, author, expert, and futurist in the field of Demography and Generational Marketing. He is author of the best-selling books Good to Great and Built to Last. In addition to his work in the business sector, Jim has passion for learning and teaching in the social sectors, including education, health care, government, faith-based organizations, social ventures, and cause-driven non-profits.

Tuesday, the Association honored long term and post-acute care providers who have been changing lives and making a difference in the profession through the National Quality Award Program. This year, more than 700 member centers and communities were recognized with a Quality Award, including 520 Bronze, 196 Silver and an elite group of three at the Gold level. 

Today convention attendees will hear from Closing General Session keynote speaker, Mike Rayburn. Rayburn is a two-time TEDx Talk presenter, an entrepreneur, and Hall of Fame speaker who uses his world-class guitar playing skills and comedy to teach innovation and performance to corporations worldwide.

The 68th Annual AHCA/NCAL Convention will come to an end today.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Update: SNF Review and Correct Report & Confidential Feedback Report Issues

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently notified skilled nursing facility (SNF) providers that all data for assessment-based measures required for the SNF Quality Reporting Program (QRP) in CY2017 would remain open to modifications until May 15, 2018, and that SNFs would be notified when the Q1 2017 data that was "frozen" as of August 15, 2017 would be open and subject to updates again.

Please be advised that the submission deadline for Q3 2017 data has been modified to May 15, 2018. The SNF Review and Correct Report has been updated to reflect that both Q1 and Q2 2017 are "open". Data for all measures for Q1 2017 have been recalculated for any assessment records that have been received since the original Q1 2017 submission deadline of August 15, 2017.  

The SNF Review and Correct report is available in the SNF QRP report category in the CASPER Reporting application. Providers are encouraged to request the report to view updated measure results. The updated report should replace versions of the report previously requested.

Please note that when the report is run for more than one quarter, the reporting quarters are now displaying in random order, rather than being displayed in descending order (newest reporting quarter to oldest reporting quarter). The start and end dates, data correction deadline date, date correction period as of report run date, and the quality measure data results associated to the reporting quarters are all correct. The issue is simply the way in which the reporting quarters are displayed in the table. This will be corrected in early December.

The remaining issue, affecting the calculation of the Application of Percent of LTCH Patients with Admission and Discharge Functional Assessment and a Care Plan that Addresses Function (NQF#2631), is still being corrected and tested by CMS. SNFs will be notified once this issue has been resolved in early December. At that time, the data for this measure will be recalculated and the updated results will be available on the Review and Correct Report.

View previous updates on the SNF Quality Reporting Program Data Submission Deadlines webpage.

If you have questions concerning this information, please contact the QTSO Help Desk at or 1 (800) 339-9313.

SNF QRP Confidential Feedback Reports Available – Claims Based Measures

The Skilled Nursing Facility Quality Reporting Program (SNF QRP) Confidential Feedback Reports containing the claims-based Improving Medicare Post-Acute Care Transformation (IMPACT) Act measures are now available via the CASPER Reporting System.

For more information on these reports, please refer to the September 28, 2017 presentation and audio and transcript on the SNF QRP Training website.

Please note that these reports only contain information for the following claims-based quality measures:
  • Total Estimated Medicare Spending Per Beneficiary Measure
  • Discharge to Community-Post Acute Care– SNF QRP
  • Potentially Preventable 30-Day Post Discharge Readmission Measure
The full Confidential Feedback Reports or Quality Measure reports containing all SNF QRP quality measures (claims and assessment-based) will be released later this year and further training will be forthcoming.

If you have questions about the information contained in your report, please contact the SNF QRP Help Desk at

Friday, October 13, 2017

Get Trained Now! New Antibiotic Stewardship Requirements Take Effect November 28

AHCA is ready to help members meet the new Infection Preventionist specialized training requirement finalized by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) in the Reform of Requirements of Participation for Long Term Care Facilities. AHCA’s  Infection Preventionist Specialized Training (IPCO) course provides education for healthcare professionals who seek to serve as Infection Preventionists and prepares individuals to meet the antibiotic stewardship requirements taking effect in November.   

Even though nursing facilities are not required to have a designated “Infection Preventionist” until November 2019, there are three compelling reasons why it is critical to register for this training now:
  • As of November 28, 2016 nursing facilities are being held accountable to more expansive infection prevention and control federal regulations. 
  • Beginning November 28, 2017, the federal requirements for nursing facilities expand further and require that every nursing facility develop and implement an antibiotic stewardship program. This is a new requirement that should be conducted with oversight from specially trained healthcare professionals. 
  • Surveyors nationwide are being trained now to survey for the expanded infection prevention & control and antibiotic stewardship requirements.
  • The 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.  

AHCA’s 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.

The training course registration fee is $450 for AHCA/NCAL members and $650 for non-members.There are no refunds and no transfers.  Payment and registration must be made online in ahcancalED. The IPCO course can be accessed here or at:   

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

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 email with your name and facility contact information. 

The Number of Open LTC Jobs Jumps in October

There are 20,090 open jobs posted by direct employers this month in the nursing care facility - including skilled nursing facilities (SNFs), assisted living (AL), and continuing care retirement community (CCRC) - sectors this month, according to the latest CEB TalentNeuron statistics. The number of open jobs posted nationwide by direct employers rebounded this month after a significant dip in September.      

The CEB TalentNeuron statistics also show an estimated 2,101,000 potential candidates in the nation’s workforce whose skills likely match the qualifications being sought by long term care employers. Figures show that 1,875 direct employers are competing for candidates this month – nearly the same number as last month. The average number of days a job was posted this month increased by one day to 37 days.   

Finding qualified employees is one of the greatest challenges facing long term care providers. The AHCA/NCAL Long Term Care Career Center is designed to help members be competitive in attracting qualified candidates to fill their health care job vacancies.The LTC Career Center is also fully integrated with Google’s new job search feature, “Google for Jobs”, creating even greater exposure for job postings.

Rates for posting job vacancies are affordable and give prospective employers far greater exposure than local ads and job boards by connecting to a network of more than 330 national and state health care organizations and societies. Employers are also able to post vacancies as they occur and search resumes on the network. 

There are two great ways for skilled nursing center and assisted living employers to save on their job postings on the Long Term Care Career Center. First-time job posters can receive 25% off their first posting by entering promo code New25off when they check out.  Employers with multiple positions to fill can purchase three job postings at one time and receive a 20% discount on the three postings by entering promo code Bundle20 at check out. 

Of course, the LTC Career Center is always free for job seekers. And, job seekers are using the site with more than 90,000 searchable resumes on the National Healthcare Career Network this month. Job postings on the AHCA/NCAL Long Term Care Career Center network are averaging more than 1,400 views in October. 

Employers who utilize the site also receive outstanding exposure through rotating job listings on AHCA’s home page – the web site where long term care professionals go for news and information. In addition, employers who post vacancies through the center receive bonus rotating listings on the Long Term Care Career Center home page. 

Be seen nationwide. Check out the LTC Career Center today and remember to use one of the two promo codes to save on your job postings.     

Help Your RNs Help You Succeed! Take Advantage of the Gero Nurse Prep Sale

AHCA/NCAL Gero Nurse Prep is on sale now through November 30 and each RN registrant can save $100 off his/her Gero Nurse Prep by entering promo code VBPRN17 (all caps) at checkout. That means RNs who are interested can become board certified for less than $1,000 ($590 sale price for AHCA/NCAL Gero Nurse Prep and a separate $395 to take the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) exam.
Hospitals are keeping a close watch on their Medicare beneficiaries to ensure that they are not readmitted within 30 days of discharge, including those hospitalized Medicare beneficiaries who live in skilled nursing and assisted living settings. Well trained RNs can play a critical role in reducing re-hospitalizations. 
Hospitals face having Medicare reimbursements withheld if their re-hospitalization rates are too high. In October 2018, skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) also will face financial consequences if their re-hospitalization rates are too high. Managing rehospitalization rates has become a key part of a successful long term care business strategy in caring for the elderly in an increasingly competitive marketplace.
Research conducted by AHCA/NCAL in 2016 found that the rehospitalization rates in nursing facilities with at least one RN certified in gerontological nursing by the ANCC consistently have run at least two percentage points lower than the national average since 2011. AHCA/NCAL believes that assisted living settings may experience similar results by increasing their RNs’ gerontological expertise. 

ANCC is the world’s largest and most prestigious nurse credentialing organization and a subsidiary of the American Nurses Association. Less than one percent of America’s RNs are ANCC board certified in gerontological nursing. 

To help increase the number of board certified RNs, AHCA/NCAL’s Gero Nurse Prep program is designed to help RNs prepare for and pass the ANCC gerontological certification exam. RNs who complete the AHCA/NCAL Gero Nurse Prep program have a passing rate of 96 percent on the ANCC exam and receive 30 CEUs. They also increase their knowledge of gerontological nursing by 20 percent on pre- and post-test scores.

Strengthen your position in the marketplace by demonstrating your ability to reduce re-hospitalizations. Watch this video to learn more about AHCA/NCAL Gero Nurse Prep or click on the course preview to get a quick view of this engaging online curriculum designed to help RNs pass the ANCC exam.
Take advantage of the sale on Gero Nurse Prep and remember to enter promo code VBPRN17 at check out.   

Emergency Preparedness Requirements - Part IV Webinar in AHCA Series

AHCA, along with guest speakers, has been hosting an ongoing webinar series event this year on the new emergency preparedness final rule impacting skilled nursing facilities (SNFs), nursing facilities (NFs) and intermediate care facilities for individuals with intellectual disabilities (ICF/IID).This final rule is not applicable to assisted living (AL) providers. 

The rule was released on Friday, September 16, 2016, and can be found here. Providers will need to be in compliance by November 15, 2017.

The webinar series has thus far included, among other things, special guest speakers, an overview of the key new requirements, a list of tools to assess whether you are prepared for the rule, and recommended steps to take in order to prepare.

The final webinar from the series for this year, entitled "Emergency Preparedness Requirements - Part IV", will occur on November 21, 2017.

You can register here for the webinar. Further details on the webinar will be sent out towards the end of October.    

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Regulatory Reform Effort Continues in House and Senate

Drew Thies

Two letters asking for regulatory relief for skilled nursing providers are circulating in the House of Representatives and Senate. The letters signed by lawmakers asks the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to revise and delay costly requirements for nursing centers.

The House letter, which closes today, is led by Congressman Jim Renacci of Ohio and has more than one hundred cosigners. The bipartisan group includes Members of Congress on the influential Ways and Means, and Energy and Commerce Committees, as well as some full state delegations.

The Senate letter is led by Senator John Hoeven of North Dakota and has the support of nine other Senators. The deadline to sign onto the effort is October 18th.

Both letters request that CMS revise the “requirements of participation” for nursing centers. Made final in October 2016 and implemented the following November, the rule has considerable provisions that begin in November 2017 and represent a large burden to providers.

CMS estimates the unfunded mandate will cost an average provider in excess of $50,000 annually to implement. The House and Senate letters request CMS delay some of the more costly provisions to allow providers to better cope with the burden.

AHCA will continue to urge Senators to sign onto the letter. A booth will be set up at the annual convention to allow members to contact their Senators regarding the effort.