Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Aid in the Recovery

In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, our New Jersey and New York affiliates have established foundations to support those long term employees whose lives have been impacted significantly by Hurricane Sandy.

Countless homes have been destroyed or washed out to sea, and thousands of people have been forced into shelters or to live without power for prolonged periods. Some of these people are the dedicated employees of New Jersey and New York's long term care facilities.

And just like our first responder heroes, some of these employees have been more focused on the wellbeing of others, especially their residents, than their own situations.

Honor our care heroes by making a donation to either or both of these relief funds today:

Your generous donations go directly to those in need.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

It’s Over! So What’s Next?

Doug Mills/The New York Times
It’s Wednesday, November 7th and finally, we know who our next president and our members of Congress will be (most of us, anyway). The campaign commercials are being taken off the air, the yard signs are being pulled out, and candidates around the country are either celebrating their victories or licking their wounds.

After countless hours and billions of dollars spent, we’re pretty much exactly where we were before: with President Obama in the White House, a Republican-controlled House and a Democratic majority in the Senate.

(Read AHCA/NCAL’s response on the election results)

This isn’t to say individual races don’t matter, that the gains made by the Democrats in the Senate aren’t important, or that the races yet to be decided in the House shouldn’t continue to be monitored. But in terms of dynamics, we have to wonder how much will truly change after this year’s election? Will the two parties be able to find compromise, or will they remain as gridlocked and as partisan as ever?

It’s the question we ask ourselves as we look at the next big issue that’s just around the corner: the fiscal cliff.

Before the end of the year, Congress must decide whether to let the Bush tax cuts expire and possibly prevent sequestration from taking effect. (Sequestration includes a 2% across-the-board cut to Medicare providers, including skilled nursing.) At the same time, the legislative body considers whether to address the Medicare Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) to prevent overwhelming cuts to doctors, or what’s known as the doc-fix.

Both of these “to-do” items have the potential to have an enormous effect on funding for skilled nursing care. Congress will be looking for areas to pay for these policies, and even as SNFs have already been cut by billions of dollars in recent years, the profession could be targeted again.

(Be ready to let your Member of Congress know cuts to skilled nursing care are not the answer.)

But will the Lame Duck Congress address these issues, or leave them for another day and the new Congress? Will either party work with the other to find responsible solutions to our budget crisis, or stick to their political ideologues?

While candidates are waking up to a new perspective on the next four years, in virtually every congressional district around the country, millions of seniors and individuals with disabilities are waking up in a skilled nursing center. And millions of employees are waking up to go to work at skilled nursing center. Many of them aren’t focused on exit polls or political analysis; they’re interested in receiving or providing high quality care to make it through the day.

That’s why we have to care: so that seniors can receive their rehab and go home, so that nurses can become family members to residents with no family left. We have to ensure budget compromises don’t compromise the care our residents need.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Imagine the Posters

Hey Providers:

Think your quality of care is all that? Your colleagues want to know how you did it!

Take part in AHCA/NCAL’s poster session at the 2013 Quality Symposium.

We’re looking for providers who have been successful in:
  • safely reducing hospital readmissions;
  • safely reducing off-label antipsychotic drug use;
  • reducing staff turnover; or
  • improving customer satisfaction
(Sound familiar?)

Posters will be presented at the AHCA/NCAL Quality Symposium held from February 11-13, 2013, in San Antonio, TX.

Apply for the poster session by November 16th. And while you’re at it, register for the 5th annual Quality Symposium.

Don’t be shy! We know you’ve got the stuff.

(But if you have any questions, contact qualityinitiative@ahca.org)