Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Congress to Address Large Set of Issues After Recess

Drew Thies

The House and Senate are set to return to legislative work next week and both chambers face a large slate of pressing issues to address before the November election.

Facing a looming recess earlier this summer, Congress punted on legislation dealing with everything from fighting the Zika virus, to addressing opioid abuse, to funding medical research. Now, back from the annual August break, lawmakers face an additional October 1st deadline to appropriate government funding as well as any promises they may have made to voters back in their hometowns.
Many are in the dark about how leadership plans to tackle these issues when Members of Congress return to Washington after the Labor Day holiday next week. 

A recent calendar memo published by House Majority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., opted to focus on bills the House has already acted on, failing to outline a path to address the important October deadline or growing concerns surrounding the spread of Zika.

Both chambers are only in session for four weeks before again leaving Washington to hit the campaign trail for the month of October. September will be the last month lawmakers have before the election to wrap up old business.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

CMS Releases Final MDS 3.0 RAI Manual Update

Holly Harmon

The current MDS 3.0 RAI Manual v1.14 and MDS forms, effective October 1, 2016 is now available. This version of the MDS 3.0 RAI Manual incorporates the new Section GG: Functional Abilities and Goals, the new Part A PPS Discharge assessment, and clarifications to existing coding and transmission policy.  It also addresses clarifications and scenarios concerning complex areas.

Faces of Assisted Living: Now Accepting Submissions

New this year - pictures and stories of staff!

NCAL's Faces of Assisted LivingHonor the individuals residing and working in assisted living communities by sharing those everyday moments or special occasions. Now and through October 31, send NCAL your photos for our Faces of Assisted Living project.

This online effort was created to recognize the unique individuals residing in assisted living. New this year – NCAL will now also accept photos and stories of staff members.

When you submit a photo, tell us a little more about the staff pictured: How did they get into assisted living? Why do they like their job? What resident do they remember most?

Submitted photos with completed image release forms 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

Check out some of our most recent #FacesofAL:

Monday, August 29, 2016

HUD Updates Webinar on Residential Care Facilities Asset Management

Dana Halvorson

On Tuesday, September 27, 2016, from 2 – 3 PM Eastern Time, representatives of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD's) Office of Residential Care Facilities (ORCF) will discuss the Section 232 program, which provides mortgage insurance for residential care facilities, including nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and board and care homes. In this program, get an overview about programs offered through ORCF, and get detailed information related to a number specific ongoing requirements for borrowers and operators. 

HUD Webinar on Residential Care Facilities Asset Management
Tuesday, September 27th
2;00 PM-3:00 PM Eastern Time

 More details, including learning objectives and registration for the webinar, can be found here.

Directions to Register: It is important to note that this particular American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) webinar is open to non-members as well, as it is being done in conjunction with HUD. If you are not an AHCA/NCAL member, and are registering for this event, you will need to create an account. Creating an account does not cost you anything, and the webinar event is free to attend. The process is simple. Click on the webinar link above. Click on the “register” green icon button to the right. Then click the button noted “complete registration and “create account.” Please fill in your name and password, but you do not have to fill in what company or facility you are associated with. Then, the “create new account and sign in” button will appear. You will be directed to the AHCA/NCAL main home webpage, which you can EXIT. You will be returned to the webinar page. CHECK OUT of the webinar on the cart page. Your registration is COMPLETE. 

If you have any questions or problems, please contact:

New Research Shows That Nursing Facilities with ANCC Board Certified Nurses Are Twice as Likely to Receive a 5-Star Rating from CMS!

Dave Kyllo

Recent research conducted by AHCA/NCAL shows that nursing facilities with RNs certified in gerontological nursing by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) are twice as likely to receive an overall 5-Star rating from CMS.

Nationwide, CMS data shows that 24 percent of nursing facilities receive a 5-Star rating but AHCA/NCAL researchers found that number jumps to 48 percent for nursing facilities with at least one ANCC certified RN. Facilities with an ANCC board certified nurse were also significantly less likely to have a 1-Star rating from CMS with only two percent of facilities receiving the lowest rating compared to 15 percent nationally.

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 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 increase their star ratings from CMS 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.

Reach for the stars 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.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

CDC Releases Sepsis Vital Signs Report

Holly Harmon

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a report earlier this week on sepsis, a complication caused by the body’s overwhelming and life-threatening response to infection. The report focuses on preventing infections that lead to sepsis and the importance of sepsis early recognition.

The report was released as part of the CDC’s Vital Signs series, which focuses on critical public health issues.

The CDC will also host a Town Hall Teleconference, How Three States Tackled Sepsis, for state health departments, state hospital associations, and other partners. Additionally, two free webinars on sepsis will be available in September for Sepsis Awareness Month, one for all healthcare professionals and a second specific to nurses.

Payroll-Based Journal: Have you registered and submitted data yet?

The deadline for nursing centers to submit July through September 2016 data is November 14, 2016. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is currently considering how it will audit and enforce this requirement. The agency has stated it will consider “a good faith effort” for centers that have taken steps to register and submitted staffing and census data, even if the submission is not 100 percent accurate. Please note it is likely that simply registering by the deadline will NOT be sufficient to reflect a facility’s “good faith effort.”

If you haven’t registered, do it now! If you haven’t submitted any staffing or census data, begin the process or have an agreement in place through a vendor for submission.

AHCA/NCAL Convention: Advance Registration & Housing Update

Jon-Patrick Ewing

We can't wait to see you in Nashville in October! There are so many exciting and unique events planned for you! If you haven't yet registered, do it today. The Advance Registration deadline is September 21. The Gaylord Opryland Resort and additional convention hotels have sold out. However, AHCA/NCAL has just reserved additional rooms at the brand new Westin Nashville. But you must act fast!

The Westin is located in the heart of downtown Music City near fantastic dining, shopping, and entertainment, so you can make the most of Convention & Expo while experiencing the best of Nashville. This downtown area is also near the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, the Ryman Auditorium, the Frist Center for the Visual Arts, Ascend Amphitheater, and Lower Broadway. Or visit the Grand Ole Opry!

In addition to the Westin Nashville, an additional downtown hotel, the Homewood Suites Nashville, has been added to the AHCA/NCAL housing block.

AHCA/NCAL is making it even easier for you to enjoy your Convention experience with a free shuttle service to and from all hotels and the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center.

Rooms are going quickly, so register and book your hotel now.

AHCA/NCAL Strikes Agreement with Motion Picture Licensing Corporation

Lilly Hummel and Lyn Bentley

Member facilities can receive discount on Umbrella License through Dec. 31

“Movie Night” is a time honored tradition at an assisted living community or skilled nursing center – an expected social activity for many residents. This week, AHCA/NCAL announces a formal agreement with the Motion Picture Licensing Corporation (MPLC) to help long term and post-acute care providers continue to offer this cherished event while adhering to federal copyright laws.

Motion picture showings within senior living and health care communities have always required a public performance license in accordance with the U.S. Copyright Act. As a result, AHCA/NCAL (and all other leading industry associations including, LeadingAge, National Association of Activity Professional [NAAP], American Senior Housing Association [ASHA], and Argentum) has entered into a new agreement with MPLC.

The 2016 Agreement better educates members on the need for copyright compliance when motion pictures and other audiovisual programs are shown in senior living and health care communities.

The Agreement states that:

  • All communities, regardless of their type or license status, must obtain licensure for exhibitions of Videos transmitted over a closed circuit television system or in-house channel.
  • All communities, regardless of their type or license status, must obtain licensure for exhibitions of Videos in common areas such as a theater, lounge, or community room.
  • Assisted living, nursing and rehabilitation units receive a reduced rate on the license. Minimum fees are waived for campuses that are strictly nursing, assisted living, or rehabilitation. 

Best of all, AHCA/NCAL is pleased to announce that all associations have collectively negotiated a special introductory discount of almost 40% for qualifying member facilities that secure an Umbrella License® before December 31, 2016.

The Umbrella License provides the most comprehensive programming available from over 1,000 motion picture studios and producers ranging from major Hollywood studios to educational, independent, specialty, foreign language, documentary, and television producers. The license covers thousands of titles currently available in any legal format originally intended for personal, private use only.

The special introductory rate of only $2 per unit for all AHCA/NCAL member assisted living, nursing, and rehabilitation units is available starting October 1, 2016, and through the end of the year.

If you operate assisted living, nursing or rehabilitation units, AHCA/NCAL strongly encourages you to secure an Umbrella License prior to December 31, 2016 to ensure the lowest possible license fee. Please visit the AHCA/NCAL website for the application brochure.

Learn more about AHCA/NCAL’s agreement with MPLC and how to apply for an Umbrella License by visiting AHCA/NCAL’s website.

Webinar: SNF Quality Reporting Program

Holly Harmon

On Wednesday, Sept. 14 from 1:30 – 3 PM ET, join this webcast to 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. A question and answer session will follow the presentation.

To register or for more information, visit MLN Connects Event Registration. Space may be limited, register early.


  • Overview of the IMPACT Act and the SNF QRP
  • Resources for providers
  • Three Quality Measures (QMs) finalized for SNF QRP in FY 16 SNF Prospective Payment System (PPS) Final Rule
  • Four QMs Finalized in FY 17 SNF PPS Final Rule
  • Data collection timeframe and data submission deadline for the FY 18 payment determination
  • Consequences of not meeting the data submission deadline
  • Reconsideration and exception and extension procedures