Wednesday, October 28, 2015

CDC Publishes Guidance on What to Expect for the 2015-2016 influenza season

Holly Harmon

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has developed a new web page titled “What You Should Know for the 2015-2016 Influenza Season.” This web page features sections on what to expect for the upcoming flu season, information on what viruses may circulate, and other general information for the flu season.  It also contains a toolkit intended to help long-term care facility, agency, or owners and administrators provide access to influenza vaccinations for their workforce and to help any employer of workers in long-term care understand the importance of influenza vaccinations.

House Set to Vote on Bipartisan Budget Proposal

Drew Thies

Late Monday night, the White House and Congressional Leadership released the text of a two-year bipartisan budget agreement. Called the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015, it would raise spending caps, increase the debt limit and offset higher discretionary spending through various spending cuts and revenue increases.

Preparing for Risk: Where Independent Owners Should Start the Journey

In today's value-based health care environment, providers across the healthcare continuum, including post-acute care and long-term care providers, are being asked to take on risk. Independent Owners of skilled nursing facilities are looking at payers and provider networks and developing strategies to communicate how they can serve as a partner rather than a service provider. To identify the appropriate strategies, it is important to understand the challenges and opportunities associated with taking on additional risk. Independent Owners need to engage in care transformation in order to effectively deliver on their promises. This webinar will help Independent Owners assess preparedness and know where to begin.
Tuesday, November 3, 2015 
2:00-3:00 PM Eastern Time
Speakers for the webinar include Brent Feorene, Vice President at Health Dimensions Group and Beth Carlson, Senior Consultant at Manager of Consulting Services. Sign up for the free webinar to understand today's environment and the keys to knowing your market.

Health Insurance Marketplace Open Enrollment Begins November 1

Dave Kyllo

Individuals eligible to go the health insurance exchange will be able to select or renew their 2016 policies beginning on November 1, 2015 through December 15, 2015. The federal government has posted preview of 2016 plans on its website. 

Several articles have been written in the last week touting improvements to the for the upcoming plan year, including easier navigation. In addition, the Kaiser Family Foundation recently published a helpful Frequently Asked Questions about individual health plans and the upcoming enrollment period. 

Most AHCA/NCAL members offer health insurance to their employees, and several members are reporting substantial increases in their 2016 employee health plan premiums. 

AHCA/NCAL created AHCA/NCAL Insurance Solutions to help members have options when selecting health benefit coverage for their employees. Members who are concerned about their health benefit premium increases are encouraged to take a look at AHCA/NCAL Insurance Solutions to see if that program can save them money or call Dave Kyllo at 202-898-6312 or Nick Cianci at 202-898-2841. 

CoreQ is now available on LTC Trend Tracker!

Lindsay Schwartz, Ph.D.

The AHCA/NCAL new customer satisfaction measure, the CoreQ is now available to upload in LTC Trend Tracker. AHCA/NCAL has developed this short customer satisfaction questionnaire in order to have a satisfaction quality measure for use as part of the AHCA/NCAL Quality Initiative.

This questionnaire has been independently tested as a valid and reliable measure of customer satisfaction across long-term care providers. No other measure like this exists and AHCA/NCAL is pleased to share this with our members.

AHCA/NCAL is working with many of the customer satisfaction survey vendors to add the 3-4 CoreQ questions to their existing questionnaires or administer just the CoreQ questionnaire. A list of vendors who have added the CoreQ to their questionnaires can be found at the AHCA or NCAL Quality Initiative websites. If you do not see your vendor listed, we encourage you to ask them to add these questions to their questionnaire or to contact Lindsay Schwartz ( if they have questions. If you don’t currently use a vendor to collect customer satisfaction, don’t worry - you can still participate and find information on how to do so on our Quality Initiative websites.

To learn how to upload your CoreQ results, please refer to our help document on the LTC Trend Tracker Resources webpage.

For more information about this questionnaire and satisfaction measure you can visit the AHCA or NCAL Quality Initiative website. 

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

NPUAP Hosts Free Webinar in support of World Wide Pressure Ulcer Prevention Day

Holly Harmon

In support of World Wide Pressure Ulcer Prevention Day, please join us on Thursday, November 19 from 1:00-2:00 PM Eastern Time as NPUAP offers a FREE webinar presented by Jeffrey Levine, MD.

Dr. Levine’s webinar, titled History of Pressure Ulcers and Wound Care: Past, Present and Future will review the history of pressure ulcers and wound care from ancient times to the present. Review the origin of contemporary controversies and challenges. Highlight major issues facing today’s practitioner caring for pressure ulcers. The attendees will also listen to what the experts say about the future of pressure ulcers and wound care.

This webinar is only open to the first 1,000 registrants so register today! 1 hour of multidisciplinary CEU is also available!

For more information on the webinar and how to register please view the attached flyer or visit

The NPUAP is also pleased to provide free marketing materials for World Wide Pressure Ulcer Prevention Day to help others spread the word and support the day. Please visit the following site to download the materials:

If you are unable to attend the live webinar or are interested in viewing previous webinars that were presented this year please visit the following website to access the recordings and handouts:

AHCA/NCAL Convention Survey and Post Event Information

Jon-Patrick Ewing
You only have one week left to tell us what you liked and what we could improve about the AHCA/NCAL 66th Annual Convention & Expo in San Antonio. Your opinion matters, so please fill out the Convention Survey. It only takes a few minutes, and you could win $200! The winner will be announced on November 2nd so don't delay. Complete the survey today.

Convention Photos and CEUS Available Soon

If you are interested in obtaining any of the photos taken at convention, such as at the AHCA/NCAL Quality Award Celebration, they will be available on the AHCA/NCAL Flickr account at the end of the month. Check the convention website next week to see if the link has been posted.

Meanwhile, starting November 1, you will be able to print out your CEUs from the convention website. Please note that CEU certificates will not be mailed to you. The convention website will post the link with further instructions next week.

Continue Your Path to Happiness

Closing keynote speaker Shawn Achor has provided a few tips to help you find happiness and success. Click for additional information.

Thank you for attending this year's convention.

AHCA/NCAL Announces the 2016 Quality Summit: Registration Now Open

AHCA/NCAL members, we heard you! Based on your feedback, changes have been made to two of our popular conferences. The Quality Symposium and NCAL Spring Conference  have joined forces to become the AHCA/NCAL Inaugural Quality Summit. This merger makes it even easier for you to enjoy top-notch  speakers, priceless networking opportunities with your peers, and strong just-in-time training on key quality improvement topics that will ensure you reach your quality goals. Earn 12.75 CEUs and return home with fresh ideas and inspiration. ​Registration is now open.

Join your long term and post-acute care peers for this unique gathering, held February 9-11, in San Antonio, Texas.

The Quality Summit features:

·         AL- and SNF-Focused Sessions
·         Four Intensives (chose one when you register)
·         Moderated Poster Gallery Walk
·         Sponsor Supported Sessions
·         Networking Receptions
·         Happy Hour Hops
·         And Much More

Make the AHCA/NCAL Inaugural Quality Summit the first event you attend next year! The registration deadline is January 12, 2016. Please note, you must be registered for the Quality Summit before ANY housing reservations can be made. Don’t wait! 

A Journey to Quality Excellence: Tips from 2015 Gold Award Recipient Pacific Coast Manor

By Marise Goetzl, Executive Director of Pacific Coast Manor

Pacific Coast Manor began its AHCA/Baldrige quality journey in 2009 with the Bronze, 2011 with the Silver and 2014 with the Gold. During each step, the center strived to develop a culture which supported a strong level of engagement between staff and residents.

Our Tiered Hiring Practices provided a systematic process to select qualified employees that valued our  “family serving families” culture. Pacific Coast Manor’s “IDT walking rounds” provide the foundation for aligning expectations and driving customer satisfaction  by providing the opportunity to innovatively personalize each resident’s care. 

Our Quality Management Program provides the opportunity to validate strengths we can build on and identify opportunities  for improvement. This quality management process is incorporated into daily stand up meetings, quality meetings and performance improvement teams. Our goal is to resolve issues with effective system changes that minimize opportunities for reoccurrence. Frequent mock surveys support our focus on regulatory compliance to sustain our”5 Star” CMS status. Our “7 Day Strong” program staggers managers’ schedules to provide 7 day a week management team support for all of our staff with the goal of  upholding  important care processes and to  provide oversight of  our abundant weekend admissions.

The Pacific Coast Manor leadership team is proud of each and every employee’s contributions in achieving the 2015 Gold Award.


Want to achieve and excel at quality performance?  Be sure to submit your Intent to Apply for a 2016 Quality Award by 8 pm EST on November 19! 

Have questions?  Contact the Quality Award staff at

Important Dates to Know!
November 19: Intent to Apply deadline
December 7: Applications accepted online
January 28: Bronze, Silver and Gold application deadlines

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

More Education on Medicare Maintenance Coverage Sought

Dan Ciolek
An October 20 Bloomberg BNA article cites concerns from the Center For Medicare Advocacy (CMA) that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is not doing enough to educate providers that the agency covers maintenance nursing and therapy services. Per provisions of the Jimmo v. Sebelius settlement agreement in 2013, CMS was to update policy and educational materials to confirm that there is no “improvement standard” required for Medicare coverage, and coverage can be available to maintain or prevent decline of a patient’s condition.

Daniel Ciolek, the senior director of therapy advocacy at AHCA told Bloomberg BNA that the group “has been quite concerned about the paucity of educational materials provided to providers and patients related to the appropriate provision of skilled nursing and therapy services, and we have seen nothing new since the mandated provider manual updates were released in January 2014.”

Alice Bers, an attorney with CMA told Bloomberg BNA that she is hearing that “some providers still aren't aware” Medicare will cover maintenance services. “In addition, providers may be reluctant to provide maintenance services for fear that Medicare will deny the claim”, Bers said.

CMS officials indicated to Bloomberg BNA that the agency “has successfully carried out an extensive educational campaign including meeting all educational requirements” of the Jimmo settlement agreement.”

“The CMA would like to see the CMS move away from a “static” outreach model and develop a more sustained approach to educating providers and beneficiaries about the Jimmo settlement”, Bers told Bloomberg BNA. 

Ciolek agreed with Bers that the CMS should schedule calls and webinars about the settlement. Specifically, more outreach along the lines of updated frequently asked question documents, updated Medicare Learning Network articles, Open Door Forum calls, “and other educational media within the CMS Medicare Learning Network would be welcomed by the AHCA skilled nursing provider community,” Ciolek said.

#ProviderChats: Wednesday, October 28th

Bill Myers

Join the next Twitter chat hosted by Provider Magazine next Wednesday, Oct. 28, from 1 p.m. until 2 p.m. EST for, “Sex And The Singular Senior.” 

This topic will become even more important as the baby boomers age and become residents in long term care. We have a terrific panel of experts who’ll discuss everything from “skin hunger” to informed consent to the risks and rewards and helping our elders attain their full height as humans. We'll cover important items to ask caregivers and tips on a topic that may cause some folks to cringe, our elders having sex.

Our Panel of Experts Include-

Dick Butler is an attorney with more than three decades of experience in long term care. He’s a former executive vice president with the Indiana Health Care Association and was the on the facility standards committee for the American Health Care Association. He is currently an independent director Medicalodges’ corporate board, and services on AHCA’s survey/regulatory committee.

Melanie Davis is co-president of the Sexuality and Aging Consortium at Widener University. She teaches at Widener University, Moravian College, Moravian Theological Seminary, and Drexel University. She developed and coordinates Davis is also the author of Look Within: A Woman’s Journal and is on the editorial advisory board of the American Journal of Sexuality Education. She is a certified sexuality educator and educator supervisor through the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists.

Gayle Appel Doll is an associate professor and the Director of the Center on Aging at Kansas State University. She is an expert on person-centered care for nursing homes and sexuality and aging specifically for persons living with dementia. She has written an award-winning book, Sexuality and Long-Term Care: Understanding and Supporting the Needs of Older Adults and has been interviewed for publications from AARP to the New York Times.

Lynne Katzmann is the founder and CEO of Juniper Communities in Bloomfield, N.J. A graduate of the London School of Economics, she helped Oregon put together the first-of-its-kind state health care system in the early 1980s. An anti-ageism activist, she founded Juniper in the hope that it can “be a model for public policy.” She was named to Provider’s “20 To Watch” list in 2015.

Follow the conversation using #ProviderChats next week.

New Learning Management System

We officially launched ahcancalED, the Association's new online Learning Management System (LMS), during Convention. We created this resource to support our members who do not have time to develop the newest in-service training. Our objective is to provide the best and latest educational tools, especially as CMS increases its regulatory requirements about staff training and competency in a number of areas.

ahcancalED contains a wealth of information including educational programs, webinars, instructional videos, training courses, and other tools. It also includes opportunities to discuss topics, learn best practices, and grow the competency of staff. It is designed to help individuals in the profession do a better job of caring for patients and residents and advance in their careers.

The information is structured to make the online learning experience engaging, meaningful, and interactive for users. The fresh graphics and clearly defined sections within the site make it easy for users to navigate and find the information they need. ahcancalED allows us to deliver, manage, track, record, and report on instructor-led and online learning activities. It also allows users to track their own learning progress.

Best of all, the information on ahcancalED is available free to members. Think of what this will mean to independent owners, for example, who have little or no budget for staff training. We see ahcancalED as the go-to resource for staff who need information in the moment to better care for people.

Teams of member experts from around the country working with AHCA/NCAL staff have helped to create the content. We will constantly be adding new programs and materials so that we can keep the site fresh and dynamic. We'll continue to look for new ways the site can grow and serve our members.

Please take a minute to check out ahcancalED at If you have suggestions for content or other site enhancements, please contact a member of the ahcancalED team at We look forward to hearing from you with ideas that will help improve quality and strengthen the knowledge, skills and attitudes of staff in the long term and post-acute care community.

Paul Ryan Announces Candidacy for Speaker, With Conditions

Drew Thies
Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) told the Republican House caucus Tuesday night that he would consider a run for Speaker, if Republicans abide by conditions he set.

Ryan, the current Chair of Ways and Means, previously said he would not run for Speaker but the shakeup in the wake of Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s decision not to seek the chamber’s top post put more pressure on the 45-year-old former vice presidential candidate.

Ryan said he will run for Speaker if he can gain support of the conservative House Freedom Caucus and Republican Study Committee, as well as the more moderate Tuesday Group, reinforcing that he wanted to be a unifier of a party recently plagued by infighting.

RSC Chairman Bill Flores has said that he endorses Ryan for Speaker and will ask the RSC for their support at a weekly lunch today. Charlie Dent, co-chair of the Tuesday group, expects most of the group to support Ryan as well.

Ryan faced more substantial push-back from the Freedom Caucus. Raul Labrador, a member of the caucus, called Ryan’s proposals to strengthen the role of Speaker a “non-starter” and suggested that the Chairman would not receive the 80 percent approval necessary from the caucus for an official endorsement. Daniel Webster, a member previously supported by the Freedom Caucus when running against Kevin McCarthy for the post, still plans on staying in the race for Speaker.

Current Speaker John Boehner released a statement prior to Ryan’s announcement that, “Paul would be a great speaker.” Boehner has said that he wishes to leave his post by the end of the month.

Get a Competitive Edge: Credential Your RNs!

Dave Kyllo

The AHCA/NCAL Gero Nurse Prep program is on sale through the end of the year. Save $100 on each training spot through December 31 by entering promo code GNPFALL15 (all caps) when registering.

Gero Nurse Prep is a smart and effective use of training dollars. This unique program prepares nurses for the American Nurses Credentialing Center board certification test in gerontological nursing. Board certification (RN-BC) is the gold standard for demonstrating clinical excellence in geriatric patient care. Gero Nurse Prep Alums have a 96% pass rate on the ANCC gerontological nursing certification exam. 

Whether seeking to participate in an Accountable Care Organization or Managed Care Organization or attract referrals from the local hospital, providers need to demonstrate that their health care expertise and services are better than the competition. The Gero Nurse Prep program is an important step toward demonstrating your company’s geriatric nursing expertise. Less than one percent of nurses have this prestigious credentialing, so investing in this program can give providers a competitive edge when negotiating with ACOs, MCOs and hospitals. 

Check out the AHCA/NCAL Gero Nurse Prep program and try a free demo today!

AHCA/NCAL Senior Director Appointed to Chair of the Partnership for Medicaid's Policy Committee

Mike Cheek
AHCA/NCAL has long participated in The Partnership for Medicaid . The Partnership is the only coalition representing the interests of industry groups with significant interests in Medicaid. The Partnership is a nonpartisan, nationwide coalition made up of 23 organizations representing providers, health plans, counties, and labor that serve the Medicaid population. The Partnership for Medicaid seeks to raise awareness about the vital role played by the Medicaid program, which provides essential health care services to more than 51 million people.

Caroline Haarmann, our Senior Director for Medicaid Policy, has been appointed Chair of the Partnership for Medicaid’s Policy Committee. In this role, she will coordinate and lead the development of the coalition’s policy work. We look forward to the expanded voice Caroline’s appointment offers AHCA/NCAL with this important group in the Medicaid space. 

Follow the Partnership for Medicaid on social media for regular updates on Twitter @P4Medicaid.

MedPAC Releases Updated Medicare Payment Basics Series

Dianne De La Mare

MedPAC announces the release of the updated 2015 Medicare Payment Basics series. You may view the documents in the series, which provide an overview of 19 payment systems, by going to and selecting “Payment Basics” under “Documents.” Alternately, the following link will take you directly to the Payment Basics page.

Payment Basics is a series of brief overviews of how Medicare’s payment systems function. The Commission produces Payment Basics as a resource for Congressional staff and others to better understand how Medicare pays for health care services.

The website:  Please note all files are in Adobe PDF format.

Submit your ITA to save up to $550!
Want to enhance organizational success? Prepare for the regulatory future? Obtain superior performance outcome?
If you answered YES to any or all of the above be sure to submit your Intent to Apply (ITA) for a 2016 Quality Award by 8 pm EST on November 19!
Applicants who submit an ITA receive a discount off of their overall application fee – a$200 savings for Bronze applicants; a $400 savings for Silver; and $550 savings for Gold – AND receive exclusive tips on submitting a successful application. The complete awards fee schedule is available here.
But don’t forget that now is the time to begin working on your application, available on the Bronze, Silver or Gold Quality Award pages. Resources to help you include:
The AHCA/NCAL National Quality Award Program sets high standards for quality based on the Baldrige Performance Excellence criteria and encourages member providers to commit, achieve and excel in quality performance. 
If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to Quality Award staff at
Important Dates to Know!
November 19: Intent to Apply deadline
December 7: Applications accepted online
January 28: Bronze, Silver and Gold application deadlines

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Promoting Flu Vaccination to Staff

Flu season is upon us. Flu vaccination rates among health care personnel working in long term care continue to be the lowest in the nation compared to other health care settings. CDC offers a toolkit for long term care employers to help increase influenza vaccination among health care personnel in long term care settings. Influenza is a serious health threat, especially for vulnerable populations like older adults and people living with chronic medical conditions. It’s especially important that people living with and caring for frail, disabled and/or aging persons get vaccinated for influenza and other vaccine-preventable diseases.

Check out the toolkit today and promote flu vaccination to your staff!

Inaugural “Trustee of the Year” Award Presented at the 66th AHCA/NCAL Annual Convention & Expo

Dana Halvorson and Tom Burke

Last week, the Not for Profit Council of AHCA/NCAL presented the inaugural “Not For Profit Trustee of the Year” award to Neil Gulsvig, immediate past Chair of the Board of Directors for The Evangelical Lutheran Good Samaritan Society (Good Samaritan Society). Mr. Gulsvig served two years as Chair preceded by four years in various committee leadership roles. The Good Samaritan Society has more than 240 locations across the country and is the largest not for profit provider of senior care and services in the USA.

The new award presentation was made by Mark Parkinson, AHCA/NCAL President and CEO, during “Not for Profit Day” at the 66th AHCA/NCAL Annual Convention in San Antonio, TX. Other dignitaries participating in the ceremony included David J. Horazdovsky, President and CEO of the Good Samaritan Society, and Steve Chies, Chair of the AHCA/NCAL Not For Profit Council and past national Chair of the AHCA/NCAL Board of Directors.

Mr. Gulsvig’s 35-year career spans all aspects of long term care and senior services. He is perhaps best regarded for his years leading MyInnerView, Inc.’s joint effort with AHCA/NCAL to promote and encourage the use of customer and staff satisfaction surveys at skilled nursing care and assisted living centers. Today, as CEO of Align and Living Life Solutions, Mr. Gulsvig is still an active participant in developing efficient services and supports and offering a focus on patient transitions.

The AHCA/NCAL Trustee of the Year award will be presented as part of the Not for Profit Day at the Annual Convention. The award will be an integral part of the AHCA/NCAL Awards Program and will recognize a trustee who demonstrates several key attributes, including a commitment to faithfully executing the functions of the board, fostering effective board practices, showing a passion toward the organization’s mission, and, lastly, being willing to devote the time and energy necessary to be successful.

HRSA Releases Strategic Plan for FY 2016-2018

Dana Halvorson

The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), an Agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is the primary federal agency for improving access to health care for the tens of millions of Americans who, for a variety of reasons, are medically underserved or face barriers to needed care. HRSA has released it strategic plan for FY 2016 – 2018. According to a posting on the HRSA website, “This Strategic Plan FY 2016-FY 2018 is a blueprint for HRSA as it addresses ongoing access and service delivery issues in the context of an evolving health care system. The Plan reflects the Agency’s commitment to build upon past successes while advancing its mission to improve health and achieve health equity through access to quality services, a skilled health workforce and innovative programs. The Strategic Plan sets forth five mission-critical goals:

Goal 1: Improve Access to Quality Health Care and Services
Goal 2: Strengthen the Health Workforce
Goal 3: Build Healthy Communities
Goal 4: Improve Health Equity
Goal 5: Strengthen HRSA Program Management and Operations

Because of their continuing relevance the first four goals are the same as those in HRSA’s Strategic Plan 2010-2015. A fifth goal has been added to focus on improving and strengthening operational and programmatic efficiency and effectiveness.” The posting goes on to include that “the Strategic Plan will help inform program- and operational-level planning and resource allocation decisions over the next three years. It aligns with the Department of Health and Human Services’ Strategic Plan 2014-2018.” The full HRSA strategic plan can be found here.

Rep. Renacci Blasts Three-Day Stay Requirement at NIC Meeting

Dana Halvorson

According to an October 1, 2015, McKnight’s article by John O’Connor, “Rep. Jim Renacci (R-OH) blasted the three-day hospital stay rule during comments to providers Thursday [October 1, 2015], insisting it would be better to let physicians admit residents directly to skilled care facilities. He spoke during the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing and Care's annual meeting near Washington. Renacci, who is a former operator, said many inside the Washington beltway erroneously continue to believe a policy change here would fuel rampant skilled-care admissions and higher healthcare costs. This view extends to the Congressional Budget Office, which has scored the option as a tax raiser. He said this perception runs counter to a growing mountain of evidence.”

Earlier this year, Rep. Renacci (R-OH) reintroduced the Creating Access to Rehabilitation for Every Senior (CARES) Act of 2015 (H.R. 290), which AHCA/NCAL supports. The CARES Act of 2015, which was first introduced in 2013, eliminates the three-day inpatient stay required for Medicare coverage of Part A skilled nursing care benefits by allowing centers that meet particular criteria to automatically qualify to waive the prior hospitalization requirement. The criteria are based on the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Nursing Home Compare program. 

AHCA/NCAL supports eliminating the three-day stay requirement and solving the related issue of observation stays. Rep. Renacci’s press release on his bill can be found here. For more information about observation stays and the three-day stay requirement, visit the AHCA/NCAL website.

Affordable Care Act Revision Approved in U.S. Congress

Dana Halvorson

According to an October 1, 2015, New York Times article, by Robert Pear, Congress recently passed legislation intended to protect small and mid size businesses from increases in health insurance premiums. The President is expected to sign it into law. The legislation (H.R. 1624, the Protecting Affordable Coverage for Employees Act), eliminates a provision of the law that would have imposed new requirements on businesses with 51 to 100 employees. 

The article states, “At issue is a provision of the health care law that expands the definition of a ‘small employer’ to include companies with 51 to 100 employees, subjecting them to stringent insurance regulation starting Jan. 1. States have historically defined small employers as those with 50 or fewer employees. The bill preserves the traditional definition of ‘small group,’ but allows states to expand it to include organizations with 51 to 100 employees if they want to do so.” A summary of the legislation can be found here.

House Speaker Race in Chaos as McCarthy Withdraws

Drew Thies

Many in Washington are left wondering about the future of leadership in the U.S. House as current Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy withdrew his name for consideration for the chamber’s top post.

House Republicans held a closed-door meeting at noon on Thursday, October 8 to determine who would be the party nominee for Speaker. McCarthy abruptly withdrew his name at the beginning of the meeting, forcing current Speaker John Boehner to delay the vote.

Two other members were running for Speaker, David Webster of Florida and Jason Chaffetz of Utah, though both bids were seen as long shots to McCarthy’s assumed succession.

While it was never questioned whether or not McCarthy would receive a votes from the majority of his caucus, there was more uncertainty surrounding his ability to garner 218 votes out of the 247 House Republicans. After the majority party nominates a Speaker, the vote then moves to the full House floor, where Democrats were not promising to helpful.

A group of about 40 right-leaning Republicans known as the House Freedom Caucus openly expressed reservations about McCarthy’s ascension to the Speakership and announced their support of Webster Wednesday, the day before the party nomination vote.

Without the support of the most conservative members of his own caucus, McCarthy faced a chance to be embarrassed on the House floor by not receiving the 218 votes necessary to have a true majority.

McCarthy saw what many thought was a meteoric rise within House Republican leadership. Sworn-in in 2007, McCarthy has been a Member of Congress for fewer than nine years. He became a member of leadership just two years into his tenure, becoming Republican Chief Deputy Whip in 2009, before then serving as Majority Whip in 2011, after the Republican surge of 2010, and then Majority Leader in 2011 after the defeat of then-Majority Leader Eric Cantor in a primary election.

After the delayed vote, Speaker Boehner announced he would remain Speaker until the party can coalesce around a new candidate. McCarthy announced he will remain Majority Leader.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Convention Photos Available Later this Month

Jon Patrick Ewing

Len Russ and audience enjoying Shawn Achor's keynote
If you are interested in obtaining any of the photos taken at convention, such as at the AHCA/NCAL Quality Award Celebration, they will be available on the AHCA/NCAL Flickr account at the end of the month. We will send out a notice to you when the photos are ready to be downloaded so please keep your eye out for that e-mail.
Don't forget to share your own photos with us on Facebook. Use #LTCTX for others to follow.

10 Webinars to Help you Achieve a Silver Quality Award

Now that convention is over, it’s time to get back to your Quality Award application!  The Silver Criteria Series, a ten part webinar series to help Silver applicants understand the criteria and apply it to their organization, is now available

The series starts with an introduction of the program and a webinar on the Silver evaluation process.  Eight additional webinars follow covering each section of the Silver Criteria - from the Organizational Profile through Categories 1-7. Each video provides an explanation of the criteria and questions to help applicants through the process.

The Silver Criteria are largely based on the Baldrige Excellence Builder. In addition to the Organizational Profile, applicants will respond to the seven Baldrige categories and overall item requirements within these categories. This allows Silver applicants to begin focusing on the Baldrige Criteria, which provides a clear pathway for recipients moving to Gold.

In addition to this series of videos, you'll find many other resources on the Quality Award website.

As always, feel free to reach out to Quality Award staff at We are here to help you join the ranks of the over 4,000 Quality Award recipients.

**Important Dates to Know**
  • November 19: Intent to Apply deadline
  • December 7: Applications accepted online
  • January 28: Bronze, Silver and Gold application deadlines

Win $200 When You Complete Convention Survey

Jon Patrick Ewing
 Thank you for attending another successful AHCA/NCAL Convention & Expo. We hope you thoroughly enjoyed your time in San Antonio. Please help us in our continual efforts to bring you the very best experience at every convention you attend. Take a moment to fill out the Convention Survey and enter your chance to a $200 cash card.

Hawaii Seeks Waiver from Parts of Health Care Law

Dana Halvorson 

According to a September 28, 2015, Pacific Business News blog posting from Lorin Eleni Gill, “Hawaii’s first draft of an Affordable Care Act waiver proposal is the first of its kind in the nation. The state is seeking public input on a waiver to harmonize its relatively progressive Prepaid Health Care Act, which passed in 1974, with the federal health care law. The Affordable Care Act allows states some flexibility through Section 1332 ‘state innovation’ waivers to modify coverage rules. Such waivers must keep essential mandates of the federal law and not create additional cost to the federal government.” The full article, including more on the proposed waiver, can be found here.

State Innovation Waivers are available beginning January 1, 2017, and more details on the waivers can be found on the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ website. In addition, more information about the health care law in general is on the AHCA/NCAL website.

State of the States Clearinghouse - Your Resource for Valuable Medicaid and Medicare Data

Abigail Barreto

The AHCA State of the States Clearinghouse is a one-stop shop for valuable Medicaid and Medicare data impacting the long term care profession in every state.

Log in to the online resource and discover state-specific data on demographics, spending in Medicare and Medicaid, state certificate of need and licensure requirements, Medicaid program structure, links to state Medicaid payment policies for nursing centers, overall Medicaid program structure and much more.

Please visit the AHCA Medicaid page to learn more about this resource and to access other AHCA members-only Medicaid resources. You can also view an AHCA educational webinar to learn about everything the State of the States Clearinghouse has to offer.

3 Tips for a Successful Bronze Application

The Bronze- Commitment to Quality award is the first step of your Quality Award journey. At this level, organizations are asked to provide the Examiner with a context for understand their organization and its approach to quality improvement. In the course of writing your Bronze application you will assess your organizations mission, vision, and the key factors that lead to its success. Below are three tips to help you write a successful Bronze Quality Award application.

  1. Check out the Bronze Criteria Series.  This series is a collection of short YouTube videos to guide you through the Bronze criteria. This is a great resource that can help you complete your Bronze application in ten hours!
  2. Understand what is KEY! Key, according to Baldrige, means “major or most important; critical to achieving your intended outcome”. This word comes up often in the Bronze criteria and helps support the intention that the Bronze application is a statement of your most important priorities.
  3. There are no trick questions in the Bronze criteria but it’s important for an applicant to be consistent. Remember to address ALL areas of each criterion, refer to the notes, and appropriately follow technical requirements. 

As always, feel free to reach out to Quality Award staff at We are here to help you join the ranks of the over 4,000 Quality Award recipients!

**Important Dates to Know**
  • November 19: Intent to Apply deadline
  • December 7: Applications accepted online
  • January 28: Bronze, Silver and Gold application deadlines