Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Coalition Letters to Congress on the Medical Expense Deduction

Dana Ritchie

AHCA/NCAL recently signed onto AARP driven House and Senate letters to members of Congress around the medical expense deduction. Specially, the letters urge support for the Medical Expense Savings Act (S. 110/H.R. 2073), which is bipartisan legislation that would make permanent the 7.5 percent threshold for the medical expense deduction. The letters also ask to support an extension of the 7.5 percent threshold in an end-of-year legislative package. Without action, 4.4 million Americans with high medical costs will face an unexpected tax increase when they file their returns in the coming months. For more than 75 years, Americans with high health care costs have been able to deduct medical expenses from their taxes. For the millions of Americans who annually take this deduction, it provides important tax relief which helps offset the costs of acute and chronic medical conditions. This includes costs associated with long-term care, assisted living, and nursing homes.

The Sources for Generating Electricity Are Changing

Special Feature Article from APPI Energy

Renewable energy is projected to provide half of the world’s electricity within the next 30 years. Renewable energy currently accounts for 28% of the global electricity and power capacity is expected to increase by 49% in the next 5 years.   In 2018, 96% of renewable energy was produced by three main areas; hydropower, wind, and solar. Projections are already being made that by 2024 a third of the Earth’s electricity will be provided by renewable energy which will be neck and neck with the world’s current generating leader, coal.

Leading the renewable energy growth trio is solar generation with expectations of growing 60% by 2024. Declining technology costs, regional load growth, and renewable policies all lead to an increase in the solar generation market. Second to solar, wind power should also show substantial growth in the next few years. Onshore wind is expected to make up a quarter of the renewable energy growth and off shore wind project costs are expected to decline 45-50% in the next five years. Growth in the hydropower market is not as vast since the main production method for hydropower is through an existing dam or construction of a man-made dam for generation pushing it third in growth expectation.

AHCA/NCAL partners with APPI Energy, a trusted name in energy consulting for 23 years, as our preferred provider of energy procurement and efficiency services.  APPI Energy can provide AHCA/NCAL members with the steps to utilizing renewable energy through its Energy Solutions Division.  For more information about an energy efficiency project, please visit APPI’s website at www.appienergy.com or call 800-520-6685.

New Training Offers Practical Strategies to Boost Employee Recruitment and Retention

Dave Kyllo

AHCA/NCAL offers a new instructional webinar titled “Pioneering Solutions to the Workforce Crisis.”  This 45-minute webinar developed in collaboration with PHI delivers practical action steps and strategies assisted living and nursing facilities of all shapes and sizes can take to improve their employee and retention efforts. The webinar also covers ways to improve the hiring process and explains supportive supervision and coaching methods that positively impact employee retention. 

The webinar’s learning objectives include:

  1. Explain the key factors contributing to the workforce shortage
  2. Identify at least 3 strategies to improve employee recruitment
  3. Identify at least 3 strategies to improve employee retention
  4. Explain the impact of supportive supervision on retention

The instructor is Sue Misiorski who served as Vice President of Workforce Innovations for PHI and currently serves as the New England Regional Director of Operations for SageLife.  Starting as a CNA, she later held positions as a DON and VP of Nursing in multi-site skilled nursing homes in New England and has supported the construction of several assisted living and nursing facilities.
 
This webinar is part one to a more extensive on-line training for middle managers that will be released in the coming months.  While no CEUs are offered for this webinar, participants can receive a certificate of completion.  The cost of the course is $25 for AHCA/NCAL members and $60 for non-members. 

Follow this link to read more about this educational webinar and to register for the course:  https://educate.ahcancal.org/products/pioneering-solutions-to-the-workforce-crisis#tab-product_tab_overview.

To access ahcancalED and the Pioneering Solutions webinar, 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.

Coming Soon…AHCA’s 2020 PDPM Academy

Dave Kyllo

Now that the Patient Driven Payment Model (PDPM) system is in effect for skilled nursing facilities, AHCA’s existing PDPM Academy resources will be archived at the end of December and no longer updated.

AHCA then will launch its new 2020 PDPM Academy that will provide new tools and resources to help AHCA members navigate challenges, incorporate changes and successfully operate under PDPM.  Resources available through 2020 PDPM Academy will include:

  • Virtual in-depth training modules on PDPM best practices (including role-specific modules); 
  • Monthly webinars;
  • Additional tools and resources; and,
  • AHCA’s analyses of CMS’s technical changes and updates to PDPM. 

To receive an email notification when enrollment for 2020 PDPM Academy opens, follow this link and enter your name, company name and email address.  Signing up for the early notification is fast and easy.

AHCA members who have questions now about PDPM can send an email to pdpm@ahca.org or  call 202-842-4444 and ask to speak to a PDPM Resource Navigator.

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

CDC Releases FAQs about Enhanced Barrier Precautions and Multidrug-Resistant Organisms

Pamela Truscott

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have received numerous questions following the July 2019 release of the enhanced barrier precautions. In response, the CDC has released a frequently asked questions website in reference to the enhanced barrier precautions (EBPs) and multidrug resistant organisms (MDROs).  The frequently asked questions (FAQs) include discussion about the definition and scope of the EBPs, application and duration of EBPs, and implementation of EBPs.  The FAQs can be found on the following website: https://www.cdc.gov/hai/containment/faqs.html

Plan to Attend the 2020 Independent Owner Leadership Conference

If you’re an owner, operator, or administrator of roughly 10 or fewer facilities, the Independent Owner (IO) Leadership Conference is an outstanding opportunity for you to discuss the issues that are critical to your business.

March 11-13, 2020
Gaylord Texan Resort & Convention Center
Grapevine, TX


This year, the focus is on Solutions to Differentiate Your Business. You can earn up to 13.75 CEUs.

Education sessions are specifically designed to help you thrive and succeed by distinguishing your organization amidst larger competitors.

  • Patient-Driven Payment Model (PDPM): Hear solutions for overcoming the top areas where providers struggle to implement PDPM.
  • Innovative Building Design: IOs will share how they implemented innovative design elements into their buildings.
  • Workforce Issues: Get new ideas and specific strategies and tools for addressing challenges in hiring, retention, and turnover.
  • New Assisted Living Opportunities for Quality and Payment in a Value-Based World: As private pay residents decline and Medicaid reimbursements stagnate, providers of assisted living are in a unique position to offer high quality care at a cost savings to consumers and health plans. Learn why and how providers and health plans can partner to create new funding opportunities for assisted living and which partnership models can best differentiate your business and position IOs for success.
  • Should Independently Owned Facilities Grow, and If So, How?: IOs who have grown their business share success stories and lessons learned. Learn if this is the right path for your business.
  • Translating Current Dining Trends to Senior Living for Success: Key aspects of the importance of food, nutrition, the dining experience, and regulatory requirements will be included. A culinary demonstration will also show you how to incorporate these lessons into successful facility operations.

Other highlights of the conference include:

  • Pre-conference session of LED Talks curated by Provider magazine
  • Owner-to-Owner Town Hall
  • Washington Update

Don’t miss this chance to learn, network, and strategize. Get all the details and register to attend.

Sponsors as of December 1, 2019:
Evans Senior Investments, Grace Financial Services, Guardian Pharmacy Services

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

CMS Speaker confirmed for 2020 AHCA/NCAL Quality Summit

Jon-Patrick Ewing

The Opening Keynote Speaker for the 2020 AHCA/NCAL Quality Summit has been confirmed. David Wright currently serves as the Director of the Quality, Safety & Oversight Group within the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).  Under Wright’s leadership, the Quality, Safety & Oversight Group provides oversight of national accrediting organizations, certifies providers and suppliers for Medicare reimbursement, and shares important quality of care information to the public through various CMS websites, including Quality Certification Oversight Reports, the Integrated Surveyor Training Website, and Nursing Home Compare.  Wright sees this Group’s work as a primary driver for improving health care quality in the United States, which can only be accomplished through meaningful collaboration with all who are impacted by its programs.

Don’t miss Wright’s session and more than a dozen additional education sessions at the 2020 AHCA/NCAL Quality Summit, March 9-11, 2020 in Texas. Attendees can earn up to 11.5 CEs and will benefit from valuable networking opportunities with other professionals dedicated to quality in assisted living, long term, and post-acute care.

Reserve your spot before the holidays and register today. The housing deadline for this event is February 7, 2020.

Thank you to our event sponsors (as of 11/26/2019):

Host Sponsors: Medline and MatrixCare

Contributing Sponsors: Healthcare Academy, Kronos, Select Rehabilitation, RCare, Team TSI

New Training Offers Practical Strategies to Boost Employee Recruitment and Retention

Dave Kyllo

AHCA/NCAL offers a new instructional webinar titled “Pioneering Solutions to the Workforce Crisis.”  This 45-minute webinar developed in collaboration with PHI delivers practical action steps and strategies assisted living and nursing facilities of all shapes and sizes can take to improve their employee and retention efforts. The webinar also covers ways to improve the hiring process and explains supportive supervision and coaching methods that positively impact employee retention. 

The webinar’s learning objectives include:

  1. Explain the key factors contributing to the workforce shortage
  2. Identify at least 3 strategies to improve employee recruitment
  3. Identify at least 3 strategies to improve employee retention
  4. Explain the impact of supportive supervision on retention

The instructor is Sue Misiorski who served as Vice President of Workforce Innovations for PHI and currently serves as the New England Regional Director of Operations for SageLife.  Starting as a CNA, she later held positions as a DON and VP of Nursing in multi-site skilled nursing homes in New England and has supported the construction of several assisted living and nursing facilities. 

This webinar is part one to a more extensive on-line training for middle managers that will be released in the coming months.  While no CEUs are offered for this webinar, participants can receive a certificate of completion.  The cost of the course is $25 for AHCA/NCAL members and $60 for non-members. 

Follow this link to read more about this educational webinar and to register for the course:  https://educate.ahcancal.org/products/pioneering-solutions-to-the-workforce-crisis#tab-product_tab_overview

To access ahcancalED and the Pioneering Solutions webinar, 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.

CMS Posts 2020 Annual Update to the Medicare Part B Therapy Code List

Dan Ciolek

Recently, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) posted a MLN Matters article containing updates to the list of codes that sometimes or always describe therapy services under Medicare Part B. The additions, changes, and deletions to the therapy code list reflect those made in the Calendar Year (CY) 2020 Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) and Level II HCPCS.  These changes , effective for dates of service starting January 1, 2020, impact Medicare Part B claim coding for physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech-language pathology services include:

  • Two new biofeedback training CPT codes 90912 and 90913 were added
  • Two new cognitive function CPT codes 97129 and 97130 were added
  • The following four manual muscle testing codes were removed: 95831, 95832, 95833, and 95834    
  • The following 42 HCPCS Level II G-codes related to the discontinued functional reporting requirement are deleted for dates of service after December 31, 2019: HCPCS codes G8978 through G8999; G9158 through G9176; and G9186

The official instruction, CR 11501, issued to your MAC regarding this change can be found here.  Make sure your billing staff are aware of these updates.

Monday, November 25, 2019

NCAL/AALNA Caring Together Webinar - Dementia Care: Managing Wandering and the Risk of Elopement

Lindsay Schwartz

Please join the National Center for Assisted Living (NCAL) and the American Assisted Living Nurses Association (AALNA) for the quarterly webinar on Tuesday, December 3rd from 3pm – 4pm Eastern Time. Juliet Holt Klinger, Senior Director Dementia Care with Brookdale Senior Living will review symptoms of dementia that could contribute to wandering. The presentation will include definitions and discussion of types of wandering and elopement. The presenter will share processes that can help manage wandering and reduce elopement risk. This will include a special focus on person-centered approaches and environmental adaptations that reduce the risk of wandering and elopements. Attendees must register prior to the webinar.