Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Issue Brief: Strategies for Change - A Collaborative Journey to Transform Advanced Illness Care

Nine million Americans will be more than 85 years old by 2030, and many will suffer from substantial disability and chronic conditions. Advanced illness care ensures that all individuals, regardless of age and demographics, receive coordinated care that addresses their specific and highly personal needs, preferences, values, and goals.

National Quality Partners’ (NQP) new issue brief, Strategies for Change – A Collaborative Journey to Transform Advanced Illness Care, highlights six key preferences of person-centered care, provides snapshots of organizations that have embraced one or more of these key areas, and pinpoints opportunities to use measurement to transform advanced illness care. The brief was developed by NQP’s Advanced Illness Care Action Team and included AHCA quality experts.  The issue brief aims to empower individuals with advanced illness, their family members, and caregivers to lead decisions about their care and to help physicians and other health care providers better navigate end-of-life conversations with their patients.

AALNA/NCAL Caring Together Quarterly Webinar: Love, Affection, and Sexuality in Assisted Living

Lindsay Schwartz

Join the American Assisted Living Nursing Association (AALNA) and National Center for Assisted Living (NCAL) for the quarterly Caring Together webinar on December 13 from 3:00pm to 4:00pm Eastern. The webinar, Love, Affection, and Sexuality in Assisted Living will be presented by AALNA Board Member and past NCAL Board Member, Deb Choma, RN. A major challenge facing Assisted Living communities is inappropriate sexual behavior among cognitively impaired residents and the impact on other residents, their families and staff. Learn about sexual issues with cognitively impaired residents; successful tactics for families and spouses; and positive outcomes achieved through family involvement. The presenter will discuss ways to work with families and staff to better support the needs of residents. Senior living professionals will acquire new strategies and techniques that can be immediately incorporated into their programs. Pre-register for the webinar here.

New Committee Leadership Positions Filled

Walden (R-OR) 
Drew Thies

Both Republicans and Democrats recently chose new Members of Congress to fill important committee leadership positions for the upcoming session.

On the Energy and Commerce Committee, Fred Upton (R-Mich.) stepped down due to party-enforced term limits on chairmanships, leaving the way open for Greg Walden (R-Ore.). Walden did not have an uncontested path, however. He was challenged by John Shimkus (R-Ill.), who outranked Walden in seniority, but ended up not getting the top committee position.

Many are focused on the Energy and Commerce in the next Congress, as the committee has jurisdiction over a large part of Medicaid policy.

Sander Levin (D-Mich.) shocked some in Washington when he announced he would be stepping down from the top Democratic post on the Ways and Means Committee. This set up what many imagined would be a contentious race between the next most-senior Democrat on the committee, Richard Neal (D-Mass.) and member of Democratic Leadership Xavier Becerra (D-Calif.).

The potential infighting, however, was quickly avoided when Becerra accepted an offer from California Governor Jerry Brown to serve as Attorney General of the state. The position is currently held by Kamala Harris, who just won a Senate election and will vacate the post in January.

Neal will now serve as the Ranking Democrat on the committee with broad jurisdiction over tax and Medicare policy alongside Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Tex.).

National Handwashing Awareness Week: December 4 through 10

Practicing hand hygiene is a simple yet effective way to prevent infections. Cleaning your hands can prevent the spread of germs, including those that are resistant to antibiotics. On average, health care providers clean their hands less than half of the times they should. On any given day, about one in 25 hospital patients has at least one health care-associated infection.

Practice infection control to create a safe environment for your patients and staff. Find out more with Medicare Learning Network Web-Based Training courses:

· Infection Control: Hand Hygiene — Learn about hand hygiene in patient care zones and nearby administrative areas; appropriate methods for maintaining good hand hygiene; and how to recognize opportunities for hand hygiene in a health care setting

· Infection Control: Environmental Safety — Learn about proper cleaning practices in health care facilities, including information on the categories of environmental surfaces and turnover cleaning versus terminal cleaning

· Infection Control: Injection Safety — Learn about proper injection practices in health care facilities, including information on safe injection practices and single dose/single use versus multi-dose medications.

The Deadline for the Assisted Living Salary & Benefits Report Has Been Extended to December 12th

Rosanne Zabka

The deadline for the Assisted Living Salary & Benefits Report has been extended to December 12th. Questionnaires can be downloaded at:  

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. 

The Report covers management salaries, nonmanagement wages, and fringe benefits. Last year’s Report contained data from over 1,200 Assisted Living Facilities 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.

Nationally known, the Report is recognized as the standard for reliable and comprehensive compensation data for ALFs/Personal Care Facilities. The Report is published by Hospital & Healthcare Compensation Service (HCS) and supported by NCAL as well as LeadingAge

SNF QRP Video Presentation Now Available from CMS

A video presentation is now available from CMS for the September 14 MLN Connects Webcast on SNF Quality Reporting Program. Learn about the reporting requirements for the new Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF) Quality Reporting Program (QRP), effective October 1, 2016. The Improving Medicare Post-Acute Care Transformation Act of 2014 (IMPACT Act) established the SNF QRP and requires the submission of standardized data.

This video does not include the question and answer session that took place during the webcast. The audio recording and transcript are available on the CMS website.

AHCA/NCAL Summit Keynotes Take You to the Top

This year’s AHCA/NCAL Quality Summit keynote speakers will help you and your organization exceed in reaching top standards and excel in all areas of quality. Don’t miss them and more, March 6-8, 2017 in Orlando at the Walt Disney World Resort. Early registration for this event ends February 3, 2017.

Craig Deao has been a member of the senior executive team for Studer Group since 2006. He is also a sought-after national expert and speaker on topics related to leadership, accountability, patient experience, quality and safety. In addition to his fulltime work with Studer Group, he has served as faculty for the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, the American College of Healthcare Executives, and dozens of healthcare systems across the US and Canada.

For more than 30 years, clinical psychologist Wayne Sotile has studied high performers; how they think, cope, manage relationships, and stay resilient during changing times. In his clinical practice, he and his team have counseled more than 35,000 high performers, including more than 10,000 physicians and other health professionals.

For more information about our keynote speakers, education sessions (including LED TALKS), and special networking opportunities, visit the Quality Summit website today.

Federal Court Stops Implementation of Overtime Rule

A federal district court in Texas has issued an injunction that halts the implementation of the new overtime rule, thus ensuring that employers nationwide do not have to make changes to comply with the rule by the original December 1, 2016, implementation deadline. If the injunction remains intact when President-elect Trump takes office, it may allow the new administration additional methods for modifying, amending or repealing the DOL’s overtime rule, even if further judicial action is not taken to ultimately overturn the regulations.

See for more information about the injunction.

PEPPER Retrieval Map Updated

TMF Health Quality Institute, a Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) contractor, has updated the maps that display the Program for Evaluating Payment Patterns Electronic Report (PEPPER) retrieval rate for PEPPERs accessed via the PEPPER Resources Portal for each state/territory.

OIG Releases Fall Semiannual Report to Congress

The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Office of Inspector General (OIG) has released its Semiannual Report to Congress, which describes the agency’s work identifying significant problems, abuses, deficiencies, remedies and investigative outcomes relating to the administration of HHS programs and operations that were disclosed between April 1, 2016 to September 30, 2016. For FY 2016, OIG reports expected recoveries of more than $5.66 billion, consisting of nearly $1.2 billion in audit receivables and about $4.46 billion in investigative receivables.

OIG also reports 844 criminal actions and 708 civil actions (including false claims and unjust-enrichment lawsuits filed in federal district court, civil money penalty (CMP) settlements and administrative recoveries related to provider self-disclosure matters). Lastly, OIG reports exclusions of 3,635 individuals and entities from participating in federal health care programs.