Thursday, January 18, 2018

February 9 Housing Deadline for Quality Summit


If you want to be where all action is at this year’s AHCA/NCAL’s 3rd Annual Quality Summit, make your hotel reservations now! The hotel reservation deadline for the Quality Summit is February 9 (about three weeks away). This year, you must be registered for the Quality Summit before any hotel reservations can be made. If you register online, you may do both at the same time.
  • 14 education session offering topics important to skilled nursing, post-acute, and assisted living providers
  • Provider LEDTalks - short-form talks designed to Lead, Engage, and Discover
  • Updates from association leadership 
  • Moderated best-practice sessions
  • Networking events with quality-focused providers and sponsors from across the country

Good times will be had in New Orleans, so make sure you don’t miss out on all the things the Quality Summit has to offer!

Please remember, the early housing deadline of February 9. Reservation requests made after this hotel deadline will be based on availability at the prevailing rate determined by the hotel. You may register for the Quality Summit through March 2.

For detailed information regarding registration, educations sessions, events and conference sponsors please see our official conference website.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Germs Don’t Know Where They Live: AHCA/NCAL’s On-Line Infection Prevention and Control Program Works for Assisted Living Settings Too


Dave Kyllo

The methods for preventing and controlling infections are universal and apply regardless of setting. In other words, what works in the nursing facility setting will work in the assisted living setting.

AHCA/NCAL developed a new comprehensive program to help nursing facility members meet the new infection prevention and antibiotic stewardship requirements now being enforced by CMS. While originally designed for nursing facilities, the Infection Preventionist Specialized Training (IPCO) course provides education for all healthcare professionals who want to lead infection prevention efforts and prepares individuals to play an active role in the antibiotic stewardship efforts. Antibiotic stewardship is an overarching goal and priority among all health care professionals and is receiving a lot of attention from state and national health care regulators.

AHCA/NCAL’s course is an online, self-study program with 23 hours of training. 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 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. Strong and effective infection prevention programs and antibiotic stewardship efforts can set an assisted living center apart from the competition, especially when working with social workers and discharge planners who help seniors with their post-acute decisions

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: https://educate.ahcancal.org/p/ipco.

Discounted group purchase rates are available for groups of 25 or more. Those interested in making a group purchase should email AHCA/NCAL at educate@ahca.org.

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 update@ahca.org with your name and facility contact information.

Submit Your 2018 National Quality Award Application by Feb. 1

The deadline to apply for the 2018 AHCA/NCAL National Quality Award Program is quickly approaching!

All applications and payments must be submitted via the online portal before February 1, 2018 at 8 p.m. EST

Application packets are available on the Bronze, Silver and Gold award web pages. 

  • Below are some tips for submitting your application online: 
  • SNF applicants will need their six-digit Federal/Medicare Provider Number to submit their application. NCAL applicants can write N/A for this field.
  • Double check that the organization name is exactly the same for both fields. The organization name you submit will be the name printed on your award, if selected to be a recipient. If you have a parent company, please double check if there is specific way your center name should be written.
  • Characters and spaces need to be exactly the same in order for a successful submission. Extra spaces may cause an error message.
  • When your application is submitted successfully, applicants will receive confirmation of submission both on screen and through one automatic email. If the email is not received, contact Quality Award staff. 
  • Payments must be made online via credit card. Checks are not accepted. 

If you would like to review your center's award history or have any additional questions, please email qualityaward@ahca.org.

Webinar: International Perspectives on Supporting People with Dementia and Caregivers

Date/Time: January 30, 2018 from 2-3 p.m. ET
Webinar Description: Presenters of this web seminar will provide international perspectives on supporting people with dementia and their caregivers. The presentation will describe results from a survey on stigma given to people with dementia and caregivers from 54 countries. The presentation will also describe Scotland’s 10-year journey to improve dementia care and how Focus on Dementia is supporting the implementation of the dementia strategy in practice.

Participants in this web seminar will be able to:

Identify three ways people with dementia are stigmatized;
Identify methods to help reduce stigma in their local communities;
Describe Scotland’s dementia strategy and progress; and,
Understand how Scotland is supporting the implementation of the dementia strategy into practice.

Registration link: http://asaging.org/web-seminars/international-perspectives-supporting-people-dementia-and-caregivers

For this webinar series, the Administration for Community Living’s National Alzheimer’s and Dementia Resource Center has partnered with the American Society on Aging.

Please note, complimentary CEUs are available through these webinars. In addition, the webinars will be recorded and available for viewing at nadrc.acl.gov.

Webinar: The Flourish Care Model: Utilizing the Geriatric Workforce Enhancement Program (GWEP) to Implement A Shared-Care Approach to Health Care for Older Adults

To promote effective care coordination and quality care for older adults in rural areas, the Flourish Care model developed partnerships between primary care practices, local area agencies on aging and community coalitions as part of a federal grant to promote quality care for older adults.

Flourish is a shared-care approach to healthcare and functions from the belief that health is more than just visiting a primary care physician and taking medications. It focuses on creating communities that encourage a shared-care approach to healthcare through education, partnerships, and support for patients, physicians and frontline workers in the community. The model uses health navigators to work with a clinical and community team to create a coordinated care plan, including community-based support services. It also educates older adults in the use of electronic personal health records to monitor their health.

Please join the Aging and Disability Business Institute on January 23 at 1:00 PM Eastern for a one hour webinar. The presentation will share lessons learned from this partnership and report on preliminary results on care improvement for older adults with two or more chronic conditions. Two case studies will be presented to demonstrate how the Flourish Care model benefited rural older adults.

Learning objectives:

- Describe Flourish Care, a shared-care approach to healthcare;

- List the lessons learned to create this shared-care approach to healthcare in a rural community;

- Understand the value of care coordination where both healthcare providers and community-based organizations work together to provide quality care to older adults; and,

- Understand the importance of addressing the social determinants of health when providing healthcare to older adults.

Judge Overturns $350 Million Judgment Against Nursing Home

Lilly Hummel

Earlier this month a judge overturned a judgment of approximately $350 million in a False Claims Act case where a relator, which is a person who brings a lawsuit on behalf of the government, accused a nursing home operator of upcoding and failure to maintain care plans. See United States ex rel. Ruckh v. Rehabilitation, M.D.Fla. No. 8:11-cv-1303-T-23TBM, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 5148 (Jan. 11, 2018). 

A Florida federal judge found there was not evidence that the government would have declined payment if aware of alleged billing violations. He concluded that the “defendants argue persuasively that the relator failed to offer evidence of materiality, defined unambiguously and required emphatically by Universal Health Services, Inc. v. Escobar, 136 S. Ct. 1989 (2016). 

The court explained that the fact that the federal and state government continued to pay the defendants’ claims after learning of the allegations was fatal to the relator’s case.

This judgment continues a trend of courts taking the materiality requirements of Escobar seriously by looking at what the government did after it learned of the allegations underlying the alleged fraud. 

AHCA’s Online Infection Prevention and Control Program Helps Set the Stage for Survey Success


The American Health Care Association (AHCA) is ready to help members meet the new infection prevention and antibiotic stewardship requirements now being enforced by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) for 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 that took effect on November 28, 2017.     

Even though nursing facilities are not required to have a designated “Infection Preventionist” until November 2019, nursing facilities are currently being surveyed for many antibiotic stewardship and infection prevention and control requirements. Consider this: 
  • As of November 28, 2016 nursing facilities are being held accountable to more expansive infection prevention and control federal regulations. 
  • As of 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 have been trained and are now surveying for these expanded infection prevention & control and antibiotic stewardship requirements.   

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 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: https://educate.ahcancal.org/p/ipco.   

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

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 update@ahca.org with your name and facility contact information. 

The Number of Open LTC Jobs Dips in the New Year


There are 16,506 open jobs posted by direct employers in the nursing care facility (including SNFs), assisted living, and continuing care retirement community (CCRC) sectors this month according to the latest CEB TalentNeuron statistics. That is a decrease of nearly 1,500 openings since December. 

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 1,590 direct employers are competing for candidates this month – more than 1,100 fewer than December. 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 300 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. 

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. 

Of course, the LTC Career Center is always free for job seekers and the LTC Career Center  features many of the best positions the long term care profession has to offer. Job seekers are using the site with more than 96,000 searchable resumes on the National Healthcare Career Network this month – an increase of more than 1,000 candidates from December.   Job postings on the AHCA/NCAL Long Term Care Career Center network are averaging nearly 1,300 views in January. 

Join the growing list of high profile employers who use AHCA/NCAL’s premier member resource to find top talent.  Check out the LTC Career Center today and remember to use one of the two promo codes to save on your job postings.     

Deliver the Universal Language of Music with Mood Media


Hans Christian Andersen said “where words fail, music speaks.” 

Members can deliver the universal language of music in their communities through the music offered by Mood Media at AHCA/NCAL “Member Only” discounted rates.

Mood Media offers great musical variety for events or casual common area listening via the internet or streaming, and offers customized commercial free music options that allow facilities to tailor musical selections to meet changing resident preferences.

Mood customers enjoy freedom from music licensing worries on Mood Media’s huge collection of music selections played on Mood Media's portable devices.

Use Mood Media’s music to:
  • Improve the dining experience and set the mood in dining areas as residents gather for meals;
  • Provide a variety of background music in common areas;
  • Create a positive environment for activities; and 
  • Provide musical entertainment for social gatherings and happy hours.

AHCA/NCAL members receive exclusive discounted rates on Mood services and equipment with three-year agreements. The core music package starts at $29.99 per month or about $1 per day with a three-year agreement.     

For more information about Mood Media’s services, call 800-345-5000 or go to   http://partner.moodmedia.com/ahcancal/ (password: moodpartner).

IRS Extends Deadline for Employers to Provide 1095 B & C Forms to Employees


The IRS has published a notice extending the 2018 due date for certain employers and health coverage providers to furnish 2017 health coverage information forms to individuals.
The following organizations now have until March 2, 2018 to provide Forms 1095-B or 1095-C to individuals:
  • Insurers
  • Self-insuring employers
  • Other coverage providers
  • Applicable large employers
The March 2 date is a 30-day extension from the original due date of Jan. 31.
The organizations listed above must furnish statements to employees or covered individuals. The statements have information about the health care coverage offered or provided to the employees or covered individuals. The recipients may use this information to determine if they can claim the premium tax credit on their individual income tax returns.
This 30-day extension is automatic. Employers and providers don’t have to request it. The due dates for filing 2017 information returns with the IRS are not extended. For 2018, the due dates to file information returns with the IRS are:
  • Feb. 28 for paper filers.
  • April 2 for electronic filers.
Because of these extensions, individuals may not receive their Forms 1095-B or 1095-C by the time they are ready to file their 2017 individual income tax return. While information on these forms may assist in preparing a return, taxpayers are not required to have these forms to file.
Taxpayers can prepare and file their returns using other information about their health coverage. Therefore, taxpayers do not have to wait for Forms 1095-B or 1095-C to file.  More information is available at IRS.gov/aca.
AHCA/NCAL maintains a special web page containing the latest news related to the Affordable Care Act (ACA). In addition, AHCA/NCAL will continue to keep members apprised about any additional ACA developments as they occur through our AHCA/NCAL communications.
While the individual mandate has been repealed by Congress and the Administration, employers renewing their employee health benefit plan should still choose a plan that is ACA compliant. AHCA/NCAL Insurance Solutions was created to help members save money on their employee benefit plans.
To explore your health plan options available through AHCA/NCAL Insurance Solutions, contact Dave Kyllo at 202-898-6312 or Nick Cianci at 202-898-2841, or email them at ahcainsurancesolutions@ahca.org.