Tuesday, October 25, 2016

AHCA/NCAL Convention Survey: We Want to Hear from You

Did you attend the AHCA/NCAL Convention in Nashville? If you haven't already, please take a moment to tell us your thoughts about the overall AHCA/NCAL Convention & Expo. We take your feedback into serious consideration as we plan for future events. When you complete the survey, you will be entered for a chance to win $200! Please provide your feedback no later than November 4.

This survey is for convention attendees only. Exhibitors will be invited to complete a different survey.

OSHA Updates its Recommended Practices for Safety and Health Programs

OSHA has updated its Guidelines for Safety and Health Programs. The guidelines are not new mandates, but are recommended practices to prevent workplace injuries that can be implemented in any industry. They are designed to be used in a variety of small and medium-sized business settings, including senior living providers. The Administration has compiled tools, such as a program audit tool to help providers evaluate their safety and health program. The website also includes action items for employers, case studies and additional resources.

This update targets seven general areas: management leadership; worker participation; hazard identification and assessment; hazard prevention and control; education and training; program evaluation and improvement; and communication and coordination for host employers, contractors and staffing agencies.

ANCC Board Certified RNs May Help Reduce Rehospitalization Baseline Rates Under Medicare’s New Value Based Purchasing System 

Dave Kyllo

CMS begins tracking skilled nursing rehospitalization rates on January 1, 2017 for the new SNF Value-Based Purchasing (VBP) program. Under the VBP program, claims for services furnished on or after Oct. 1, 2018, will be subject to a 2 percent withhold. Providers will have the opportunity to get some or all of this money back depending on how well they do in managing hospital readmissions and meeting or exceeding performance standards.

SNFs will be rated on achievement against all other facilities nationally as well as on their own improvement, comparing their rate during 2017 with their previous performance during 2015.

The key metric for the program is known as the SNF 30-Day All-Cause Readmission Measure (SNFRM). SNFRM estimates a risk-standardized rate of all-cause, unplanned hospital readmissions of Medicare SNF beneficiaries within 30 days of discharge from their prior acute hospitalization.

Research conducted by AHCA/NCAL this summer found that the rehospitalization rates in nursing facilities with at least one RN certified in gerontological nursing by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) consistently have run at least two percentage points lower than the national average since 2011. Lower rehospitalization rates will be key to success under the new CMS VBP program. 

In addition, AHCA/NCAL research found that nursing facilities with at least one ANCC board certified nurse were twice as likely to receive an overall 5-Star rating from CMS and far less likely to receive a 1-Star rating.    

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 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.

AHCA/NCAL Gero Nurse Prep is on sale now and each RN registrant can save $100 off his/her Gero Nurse Prep by entering promo code STARS2016 (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 ANCC exam). 

AHCA/NCAL members seeking to reduce their rehospitalization rates are encouraged to examine ANCC certification for their RN leaders. 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 on-line curriculum designed to help RNs pass the ANCC exam. 

Get ready for the new VBP program and check out AHCA/NCAL Gero Nurse Prep today.

Remember to enter promo code STARS2016 and save $100 off the registration fee. The sale ends November 30.

Excellence Has No Limits: Tell Us How You Did It

We are currently accepting Poster Session proposals for the 2017 Quality Summit in Orlando, March 6-10, 2017. 

Tell us how you have employed either a QAPI or Baldrige approach to accomplish one of the AHCA or NCAL Quality Initiative goals.

Poster Sessions are excellent forums for communicating interventions, new models of service delivery, and innovative research projects. They provide a fun, interactive learning experience. This will be your opportunity to shine and share all of the great things that you've done at your center. It also provides a wonderful networking opportunity for everyone. All poster session participants will receive a certificate recognizing their participation and 4 will be chosen for a special moderated gallery walk.

The deadline to submit is November 22th, 2016. Applicants will be notified on December 14, 2016. For questions contact Urvi Patel at upatel@ahca.org.

OSHA extends Anti-retaliation Provisions associated with Electronic Tracking rule

Lyn Bentley, MSW

OSHA has extended the effective date of the anti-retaliation provision in its final rule, Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses until Dec. 1, 2016. This is an additional extension from the original August date, which was then extended until Nov. 1, 2016. This is one provision of the OSHA rule, which requires nursing centers, assisted living communities, and other employers to electronically submit workplace injuries and illnesses as well as post anti-retaliation protections for workers who report work-related injuries or illnesses.

Time's Running Out to Participate in 'Faces of Assisted Living'

Rachel Reeves

Don't get scared, but you only have until Halloween to participate in NCAL's Faces of Assisted Living project this year. Honor the individuals residing and working in assisted living communities by sharing those everyday moments or special occasions before October 31.

It's a great way to recognize an amazing staff member! New this year, Faces of Assisted Living is now accepting photos and stories of the caregivers that make our assisted living communities such a special place. And that's staff at any level: executive directors, nurses, CNAs, dietary aides, housekeeping, you name it. If they have an interesting background or unique passion for working in assisted living, we want to hear from them.

(We can't wait to share some of the amazing stories we heard from assisted living providers at the AHCA/NCAL Convention & Expo last week:)

Just make sure you have each person pictured sign an AHCA/NCAL image release form, and they may be featured on AHCA/NCAL’s Facebook and Twitter accounts and in future publications. Follow the submissions with the hashtag #FacesofAL

Learn how to submit your photo(s) and check out photos from previous years at www.ahcancal.org/faces.

Tom Coble: A Leader With A Passion For Care


Coble at 67th Annual Convention & Expo
In its October issue, Provider magazine highlighted American Health Care Association Board Chair Tom Coble and the work he has done to support and advance the long term and post-acute care profession.

Below is an excerpt from the article, which can be found in its entirety here.

Talk to any staff member about their position in a skilled nursing care center or assisted living community and eventually someone will say: “This is my calling.” Some care professionals can easily trace their passion for caregiving to their childhood or personal experiences, saying that they “always knew” that caring for the elderly was their “mission in life.”

For Tom Coble, that calling came as a surprise. After spending 15 years in the oil and gas business, Coble seized an opportunity to purchase a local skilled nursing center with a longtime friend, and he’s never looked back.

Before taking up the helm at Elmbrook Home, a skilled nursing, long term care, and rehabilitation center in Ardmore, Okla., Coble had only been in a care center twice in his life: once when his uncle needed care in the mid 1970s and again in the 1980s, when his father required care.

It wasn’t until 1993 that Coble walked into a care center with a new mission.

“On Feb. 28, 1993, I was wrapping things up in my office I had occupied for years, and then on March 1, there I was in long term care,” says Coble. “I had so much to learn. I realized then that I didn’t truly know what a nursing care center really was.”

Monday, October 24, 2016

Participate in the Assisted Living Salary & Benefits Survey

Rosanne Zabka, HCS

Hospital & Healthcare Compensation Service (HCS) is conducting its 19th annual Assisted Living Salary & Benefits Report. Nationally known, the report is recognized as the standard for reliable and comprehensive compensation data for ALFs/Personal Care Facilities. The report is supported by NCAL.

The report covers management salaries, nonmanagement wages, and fringe benefits. Last year’s report contained data from over 1,200 assisted living communities across the nation.

Salaries and bonus payments will be reported according to unit size, profit type, revenue size, CBSA, state, region, and nationally. In addition, both for-profit and not-for-profit data will be separately covered in the report. Information on 18 fringe benefits will be reported according to region. Percent increases planned for 2016 will be reported for management, nonmanagement, RNs, LPNs, and CNAs.

The deadline for participation is November 14th. Questionnaires can be downloaded at: https://www.hhcsinc.com/survey-questionnaires.html

There is no cost to participate in the study. Participants may purchase the results at the reduced price of $175, versus the $350 nonparticipant rate. Publication is scheduled for January 2017.

You can purchase the 2015-2016 Assisted Living Salary & Benefits Report from the AHCA/NCAL Bookstore.

Since 1971, HCS has served the healthcare industry by conducting and publishing an array of comprehensive, reliable compensation reports. HCS currently publishes 11 different reports on an annual basis. In addition, the firm conducts custom marketplace studies to support its clients. A complete listing of all HCS products and services is available on their website: www.hhcsinc.com.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

NCAL Report: Nearly Half of States Modified Assisted Living Regulations in 2016

Lilly Hummel

Assisted living regulations, statutes, and policies in 23 states were changed this year, according to the National Center for Assisted Living’s (NCAL) 2016 edition of “Assisted Living State Regulatory Review.” The association released the latest edition of its annual review today.

“Adjustments in state requirements help us learn more about the evolution of assisted living itself,” said NCAL Executive Director Scott Tittle. “This year’s changes reflect that a growing number of assisted living residents are facing increasing needs, whether living with dementia or dealing with multiple chronic diseases. States are recognizing that assisted living can play a crucial, cost-effective role in caring for our nation’s seniors.”

The annual report summarizes key selected state requirements for assisted living licensure or certification. It includes information on 20 categories, including which state agency licenses assisted living as well as recent legislative and regulatory activity. Additional categories cover requirements for resident agreements, admission and discharge policies, scope of care, life safety, among others.

“Staffing and training, dementia care, and medication management were the most common policy areas addressed by states in 2016,” said Lilly Hummel, NCAL’s senior policy director and the report’s author. “Most of the changes were targeted, and only a few states made significant, broad changes to their regulations. Over time, states are generally increasing the regulatory requirements for assisted living communities.”

The review found that:
  • Eight states reported changes to requirements for staffing and training: Calif., Fla., Iowa, Idaho, La., Mass., Minn., and S.C.
  • While the level and types of changes varied, five states reported changes to requirements for units that serve individuals with Alzheimer’s or other dementias: Iowa, La., Mass., Neb., and Ore.
  • Three states reported different kinds of changes to requirements related to medication management: Del., S.C., and Tenn.
  • Nine states reported that proposed regulations for assisted living communities are being reviewed for an update: Calif., Fla., Hawaii, Md., N.Y., N.C., Va., and Wyo. California and Florida’s regulations are being updated to reflect legislative changes that have already been enacted.
The report also provides contact information for state agencies that oversee assisted living. The full report along with each states’ summary is available online at www.ncal.org.

NCAL Announces Addition of Assisted Living Measures in LTC Trend Tracker at Convention

Lindsay Schwartz

Before hundreds of assisted living professionals, the National Center for Assisted Living (NCAL) today announced an expanded national effort to demonstrate the profession’s commitment to quality care through data. NCAL added four new assisted living measures to its online data collection tool LTC Trend Tracker: hospital admissions, hospital readmissions, the off-label use of antipsychotic medications, and occupancy rates.

“We know our assisted living communities are providing high quality care, but in today’s health care environment, we need to be able to demonstrate it,” said NCAL Executive Director Scott Tittle. “NCAL is proud to grow our assisted living footprint in LTC Trend Tracker to help providers better understand how they’re doing, share that with other health care partners and consumers, and hopefully, get recognized for their amazing work.”

The four additional measures bring the total to six for assisted living providers in LTC Trend Tracker. Reports currently exist regarding staffing (calculating turnover and retention) and customer satisfaction. Today’s announcement now gives NCAL member organizations the ability to track their progress on all of the NCAL Quality Initiative goals within one tool.

“What sets LTC Trend Tracker apart from other data collection platforms is that our measures are clearly defined, so that everyone is comparing apples to apples,” said NCAL Senior Director of Workforce & Quality Improvement Programs Lindsay Schwartz, Ph.D. “This allows any assisted living organization to instantly see how they’re doing in relation to their peers in their state, region, or the entire nation.”

The announcement comes during the association’s 10th annual NCAL Day. The day-long, educational event precedes the 67th Annual American Health Care Association (AHCA) and NCAL Convention & Expo held through October 19 at the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center.