Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Getting Started with LTC Trend Tracker

help@LTCTrendTracker.com

Last week, AHCA/NCAL announced that four new measures and a dynamic dashboard were added for assisted living members on LTC Trend Tracker. Now is the time to get started tracking important quality measures. If you haven't already registered for LTC Trend Tracker, it's easy, just follow the steps here.

The LTC Trend Tracker Resource Center has guides and videos to help you get started collecting and uploading data. The resources will walk you through generating a report and navigating the dynamic dashboard.

Each month, the LTC Trend Tracker team hosts a Q&A webinar, the next one is November 11th at 1:00pm-2:00pm Eastern. The team will review the newest enhancements for assisted living and members will have the opportunity to ask any questions they have about LTC Trend Tracker.

AHCA Seeks Injunction Barring Implementation of Arbitration Rule

Drew Thies

The American Health Care Association continued its legal challenge with the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) this week, filing both a request for preliminary injunction and a supporting memo regarding the recent partial ban on arbitration in skilled nursing facilities.


The injunction would bar the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) from implementing the final rule that bans arbitration agreements in skilled and nursing care facilities. The rule is currently set to go into effect on November 28.


The CMS final rule on the Requirements of Participation issued in late September barred SNF providers from offering residents voluntary, binding, pre-dispute arbitration agreements. The rule stipulates that arbitration agreements can only be entered into until after a dispute arises.


AHCA is suing CMS, saying the rule violates the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) and exceeds HHS/CMS statutory authority under the Medicare and Medicaid Acts, neither of which vests the agencies with the power to regulate alternative dispute resolution procedures. Plaintiffs include AHCA, the Mississippi Health Care Association, Great Oaks Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center, Heritage House Nursing Center and the Pavilion at Creekwood.

The United States District Court for the Northern District of Mississippi will hear arguments related to the injunction on November 3 and a ruling is expected by November 7.

“A preliminary injunction is both appropriate and necessary in this situation,” said Mark Parkinson, AHCA President and CEO. “Delaying the implementation of this provision of the rule will allow the court time to examine the legality of the issue.”

DAB Launches E-Filing System

Dianne De La Mare


The Departmental Appeals Board (DAB), Medicare Operations Division, which supports the Medicare Appeals Council (Council) at the 4th level of a Medicare appeal, has recently launched an Electronic Filing System (MOD E-File). The MOD E-File will allow appellants to file requests for review to the Council electronically. Appellants, parties, and the public also can use MOD E-File to check the status of appeals. In order for a party to use MOD E-File, the party (or the party's representative) must first become a registered user by registering here.

Learn more at https://dab.efile.hhs.gov/mod/.

ACL Awards Money to Create New National Center on Law and Elder Rights

Dianne De La Mare


The US Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Community Living (ACL) has recently announced the release of $1,050,000 to Justice in Aging to create a new National Center on Law and Elder Rights (NCLER). The NCLER will support ACL’s on-going efforts to protect the rights, financial security and independence of older adults. The Center will provide tools to help aging professionals serve older clients and consumers more effectively and serve as an easy single point of entry to a comprehensive system of legal resource support.

For more information, contact Omar Valverde at omar.valverde@aoa.hhs.gov or check out www.nlrc.acl.gov.

Check Updated LEIE Database

Dianne De La Mare


The US Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General (OIG) has released its updated List of Excluded Individuals and Entities (LEIE) database file, which reflects all OIG exclusions and reinstatement actions up to, and including, those taken in September 2016. This new file is meant to replace the updated LEIE database file available for download last month. Individuals and entities that have been reinstated to the federal health care programs are not included in this file.

The updated files are posted on OIG’s website at http://www.oig.hhs.gov/exclusions/exclusions_list.asp, and healthcare providers have an “affirmative duty” to check to ensure that excluded individuals are not working in their facilities or face significant fines. Instructional videos explaining how to use the online database and the downloadable files are available at http://oig.hhs.gov/exclusions/download.asp.

Given the penalties and recent government warnings, long term care providers should check the LEIE on a regular basis.

CMS Rescinds Troubling SNF Benefit Policy Manual Language

Dan Ciolek
On September 16, 2016 the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) published Transmittal 227 which included updated language to Chapter 8 of the Medicare Benefit Policy Manual that describes Coverage of Extended Care (SNF) Services. The policy update is effective October 18.


AHCA responded to CMS on September 26 and cited concerns that new policy language regarding the scope and purpose of Medicare’s post-hospital extended care benefit was confusing and appeared to conflict with existing Medicare law and regulations. The AHCA concerns centered on language pertaining to 1) the 3-day hospital stay requirement, 2) the definition of “skilled” services, 3) the 100-day stay benefit period, 4) the “intensity” of services, and 5) the absence of reference to the SNF as a “practical matter” requirement and “skilled maintenance” services. AHCA requested that the language be rescinded until the various concerns could be addressed.


On October 13, CMS published Transmittal 228 that rescinded the language that was of concern to AHCA while maintaining other changes that were not controversial. Additionally, CMS published a revised MLN Matters article MM 9748 that summarizes the policy correction, which includes the following statement:

“Language that was initially added by CR9748 in Transmittal R227BP to §20 of Chapter 8, regarding the scope and purpose of Medicare’s post-hospital extended care benefit, inadvertently included unclear wording and has been rescinded by Transmittal R228BP. As a result, the original version of this section’s text, as it read prior to that revision, is now restored.”

Members may contact dciolek@ahca.org if there are questions.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

AHCA/NCAL Convention Survey: We Want to Hear from You



Did you attend the AHCA/NCAL Convention in Nashville? If you haven't already, please take a moment to tell us your thoughts about the overall AHCA/NCAL Convention & Expo. We take your feedback into serious consideration as we plan for future events. When you complete the survey, you will be entered for a chance to win $200! Please provide your feedback no later than November 4.


This survey is for convention attendees only. Exhibitors will be invited to complete a different survey.

OSHA Updates its Recommended Practices for Safety and Health Programs



OSHA has updated its Guidelines for Safety and Health Programs. The guidelines are not new mandates, but are recommended practices to prevent workplace injuries that can be implemented in any industry. They are designed to be used in a variety of small and medium-sized business settings, including senior living providers. The Administration has compiled tools, such as a program audit tool to help providers evaluate their safety and health program. The website also includes action items for employers, case studies and additional resources.

This update targets seven general areas: management leadership; worker participation; hazard identification and assessment; hazard prevention and control; education and training; program evaluation and improvement; and communication and coordination for host employers, contractors and staffing agencies.

ANCC Board Certified RNs May Help Reduce Rehospitalization Baseline Rates Under Medicare’s New Value Based Purchasing System 


Dave Kyllo

CMS begins tracking skilled nursing rehospitalization rates on January 1, 2017 for the new SNF Value-Based Purchasing (VBP) program. Under the VBP program, claims for services furnished on or after Oct. 1, 2018, will be subject to a 2 percent withhold. Providers will have the opportunity to get some or all of this money back depending on how well they do in managing hospital readmissions and meeting or exceeding performance standards.

SNFs will be rated on achievement against all other facilities nationally as well as on their own improvement, comparing their rate during 2017 with their previous performance during 2015.

The key metric for the program is known as the SNF 30-Day All-Cause Readmission Measure (SNFRM). SNFRM estimates a risk-standardized rate of all-cause, unplanned hospital readmissions of Medicare SNF beneficiaries within 30 days of discharge from their prior acute hospitalization.

Research conducted by AHCA/NCAL this summer found that the rehospitalization rates in nursing facilities with at least one RN certified in gerontological nursing by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) consistently have run at least two percentage points lower than the national average since 2011. Lower rehospitalization rates will be key to success under the new CMS VBP program. 

In addition, AHCA/NCAL research found that nursing facilities with at least one ANCC board certified nurse were twice as likely to receive an overall 5-Star rating from CMS and far less likely to receive a 1-Star rating.    

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 designed 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 reduce their rehospitalization rates 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. 

Get ready for the new VBP program 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.


Excellence Has No Limits: Tell Us How You Did It



We are currently accepting Poster Session proposals for the 2017 Quality Summit in Orlando, March 6-10, 2017. 

Tell us how you have employed either a QAPI or Baldrige approach to accomplish one of the AHCA or NCAL Quality Initiative goals.

Poster Sessions are excellent forums for communicating interventions, new models of service delivery, and innovative research projects. They provide a fun, interactive learning experience. This will be your opportunity to shine and share all of the great things that you've done at your center. It also provides a wonderful networking opportunity for everyone. All poster session participants will receive a certificate recognizing their participation and 4 will be chosen for a special moderated gallery walk.

The deadline to submit is November 22th, 2016. Applicants will be notified on December 14, 2016. For questions contact Urvi Patel at upatel@ahca.org.

OSHA extends Anti-retaliation Provisions associated with Electronic Tracking rule

Lyn Bentley, MSW


OSHA has extended the effective date of the anti-retaliation provision in its final rule, Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses until Dec. 1, 2016. This is an additional extension from the original August date, which was then extended until Nov. 1, 2016. This is one provision of the OSHA rule, which requires nursing centers, assisted living communities, and other employers to electronically submit workplace injuries and illnesses as well as post anti-retaliation protections for workers who report work-related injuries or illnesses.




Time's Running Out to Participate in 'Faces of Assisted Living'

Rachel Reeves

Don't get scared, but you only have until Halloween to participate in NCAL's Faces of Assisted Living project this year. Honor the individuals residing and working in assisted living communities by sharing those everyday moments or special occasions before October 31.

It's a great way to recognize an amazing staff member! New this year, Faces of Assisted Living is now accepting photos and stories of the caregivers that make our assisted living communities such a special place. And that's staff at any level: executive directors, nurses, CNAs, dietary aides, housekeeping, you name it. If they have an interesting background or unique passion for working in assisted living, we want to hear from them.

(We can't wait to share some of the amazing stories we heard from assisted living providers at the AHCA/NCAL Convention & Expo last week:)


Just make sure you have each person pictured sign an AHCA/NCAL image release form, and they 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 www.ahcancal.org/faces.



Tom Coble: A Leader With A Passion For Care

ahcapressoffice@ahca.org

Coble at 67th Annual Convention & Expo
In its October issue, Provider magazine highlighted American Health Care Association Board Chair Tom Coble and the work he has done to support and advance the long term and post-acute care profession.

Below is an excerpt from the article, which can be found in its entirety here.

Talk to any staff member about their position in a skilled nursing care center or assisted living community and eventually someone will say: “This is my calling.” Some care professionals can easily trace their passion for caregiving to their childhood or personal experiences, saying that they “always knew” that caring for the elderly was their “mission in life.”

For Tom Coble, that calling came as a surprise. After spending 15 years in the oil and gas business, Coble seized an opportunity to purchase a local skilled nursing center with a longtime friend, and he’s never looked back.

Before taking up the helm at Elmbrook Home, a skilled nursing, long term care, and rehabilitation center in Ardmore, Okla., Coble had only been in a care center twice in his life: once when his uncle needed care in the mid 1970s and again in the 1980s, when his father required care.

It wasn’t until 1993 that Coble walked into a care center with a new mission.

“On Feb. 28, 1993, I was wrapping things up in my office I had occupied for years, and then on March 1, there I was in long term care,” says Coble. “I had so much to learn. I realized then that I didn’t truly know what a nursing care center really was.”

Monday, October 24, 2016

Participate in the Assisted Living Salary & Benefits Survey

Rosanne Zabka, HCS

Hospital & Healthcare Compensation Service (HCS) is conducting its 19th annual Assisted Living Salary & Benefits Report. Nationally known, the report is recognized as the standard for reliable and comprehensive compensation data for ALFs/Personal Care Facilities. The report is supported by NCAL.

The report covers management salaries, nonmanagement wages, and fringe benefits. Last year’s report contained data from over 1,200 assisted living communities across the nation.

Salaries and bonus payments will be reported according to unit size, profit type, revenue size, CBSA, state, region, and nationally. In addition, both for-profit and not-for-profit data will be separately covered in the report. Information on 18 fringe benefits will be reported according to region. Percent increases planned for 2016 will be reported for management, nonmanagement, RNs, LPNs, and CNAs.

The deadline for participation is November 14th. Questionnaires can be downloaded at: https://www.hhcsinc.com/survey-questionnaires.html

There is no cost to participate in the study. Participants may purchase the results at the reduced price of $175, versus the $350 nonparticipant rate. Publication is scheduled for January 2017.

You can purchase the 2015-2016 Assisted Living Salary & Benefits Report from the AHCA/NCAL Bookstore.

Since 1971, HCS has served the healthcare industry by conducting and publishing an array of comprehensive, reliable compensation reports. HCS currently publishes 11 different reports on an annual basis. In addition, the firm conducts custom marketplace studies to support its clients. A complete listing of all HCS products and services is available on their website: www.hhcsinc.com.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

NCAL Report: Nearly Half of States Modified Assisted Living Regulations in 2016

Lilly Hummel

Assisted living regulations, statutes, and policies in 23 states were changed this year, according to the National Center for Assisted Living’s (NCAL) 2016 edition of “Assisted Living State Regulatory Review.” The association released the latest edition of its annual review today.

“Adjustments in state requirements help us learn more about the evolution of assisted living itself,” said NCAL Executive Director Scott Tittle. “This year’s changes reflect that a growing number of assisted living residents are facing increasing needs, whether living with dementia or dealing with multiple chronic diseases. States are recognizing that assisted living can play a crucial, cost-effective role in caring for our nation’s seniors.”

The annual report summarizes key selected state requirements for assisted living licensure or certification. It includes information on 20 categories, including which state agency licenses assisted living as well as recent legislative and regulatory activity. Additional categories cover requirements for resident agreements, admission and discharge policies, scope of care, life safety, among others.

“Staffing and training, dementia care, and medication management were the most common policy areas addressed by states in 2016,” said Lilly Hummel, NCAL’s senior policy director and the report’s author. “Most of the changes were targeted, and only a few states made significant, broad changes to their regulations. Over time, states are generally increasing the regulatory requirements for assisted living communities.”

The review found that:
  • Eight states reported changes to requirements for staffing and training: Calif., Fla., Iowa, Idaho, La., Mass., Minn., and S.C.
  • While the level and types of changes varied, five states reported changes to requirements for units that serve individuals with Alzheimer’s or other dementias: Iowa, La., Mass., Neb., and Ore.
  • Three states reported different kinds of changes to requirements related to medication management: Del., S.C., and Tenn.
  • Nine states reported that proposed regulations for assisted living communities are being reviewed for an update: Calif., Fla., Hawaii, Md., N.Y., N.C., Va., and Wyo. California and Florida’s regulations are being updated to reflect legislative changes that have already been enacted.
The report also provides contact information for state agencies that oversee assisted living. The full report along with each states’ summary is available online at www.ncal.org.

NCAL Announces Addition of Assisted Living Measures in LTC Trend Tracker at Convention

Lindsay Schwartz

Before hundreds of assisted living professionals, the National Center for Assisted Living (NCAL) today announced an expanded national effort to demonstrate the profession’s commitment to quality care through data. NCAL added four new assisted living measures to its online data collection tool LTC Trend Tracker: hospital admissions, hospital readmissions, the off-label use of antipsychotic medications, and occupancy rates.

“We know our assisted living communities are providing high quality care, but in today’s health care environment, we need to be able to demonstrate it,” said NCAL Executive Director Scott Tittle. “NCAL is proud to grow our assisted living footprint in LTC Trend Tracker to help providers better understand how they’re doing, share that with other health care partners and consumers, and hopefully, get recognized for their amazing work.”

The four additional measures bring the total to six for assisted living providers in LTC Trend Tracker. Reports currently exist regarding staffing (calculating turnover and retention) and customer satisfaction. Today’s announcement now gives NCAL member organizations the ability to track their progress on all of the NCAL Quality Initiative goals within one tool.

“What sets LTC Trend Tracker apart from other data collection platforms is that our measures are clearly defined, so that everyone is comparing apples to apples,” said NCAL Senior Director of Workforce & Quality Improvement Programs Lindsay Schwartz, Ph.D. “This allows any assisted living organization to instantly see how they’re doing in relation to their peers in their state, region, or the entire nation.”

The announcement comes during the association’s 10th annual NCAL Day. The day-long, educational event precedes the 67th Annual American Health Care Association (AHCA) and NCAL Convention & Expo held through October 19 at the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center.

NCAL Advocates on Concerns over HCBS Final Rule Implementation

Lilly Hummel

Last week the National Center for Assisted Living sent a letter to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) about concerns on the implementation of the home and community-based services (HCBS) waiver final rule. The rule, published in January 2014, presumes that certain settings are institutional and thus ineligible to provide Medicaid HCBS unless they overcome the presumption during a heightened scrutiny review from CMS. These settings include those in a publicly or privately owned facility that provides inpatient treatment, those located in a building on the grounds of or immediately adjacent to a public institution, or those that have the effect of isolating individuals receiving HCBS from the broader community.

NCAL noted concern that the rule could ultimately exclude many AL communities from the Medicaid program. These exclusions would reduce access to this type of home and community-based setting and therefore significantly increase Medicaid expenditures because AL residents would be left with no options other than costlier intuitional settings.

NCAL requested more guidance from CMS, specifically on: (1) operationalizing PCC for people with dementia; (2) criteria for AL communities to overcome a heightened scrutiny review for home and community-based settings that are co-located with or adjacent to an institutional setting; (3) CMS’ process for heightened scrutiny review, including CMS’ timeline for response to settings submitted for review, opportunities for the state or settings to amend files during review, and appeal rights; and (4) response to confusion about how to operationalize CMS’ guidance on new construction (published in April 2016). NCAL also urged CMS officials to visit assisted living communities to ensure that forthcoming guidance reflects the current preferences of AL residents and the true nature of AL communities. Such visits should include communities offering memory care, co-located with a nursing center, and located in a rural area.

 In a similar letter sent last month, U.S. Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), co-chairs of the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging, urged CMS to provide information regarding the criteria for determining certain settings ineligible to be a Medicaid HCBS provider.

AHCA/NCAL Elects New Board of Governors, Directors at Annual Convention in Nashville

Today the American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) elected AHCA’s Board of Governors and NCAL’s Board of Directors for the 2016-2017 term. Tom Coble of Oklahoma was elected for a second term as AHCA Chair, and Christian (Chris) Mason of Oregon was re-elected as NCAL Chair.

New to the AHCA Board of Governors were Not-For-Profit Representative Gary Kelso (Utah), Affiliated State Health Care Association Executives (ASHCAE) Representative Dirk Anjewierden (Utah), and At-Large Board Representative Janet Snipes (Colorado). New members to the NCAL Board of Directors include ASHCAE Vice President Veronica Sharpe (Washington, D.C.) and At-Large Representative Gail Sheridan (Minnesota).            

“We are proud to welcome this distinguished group of leaders to our respective Boards,” said AHCA/NCAL President and CEO Mark Parkinson. “We face many challenges and opportunities in the coming year, and I believe that we can continue to deliver solutions for quality care under Tom and Chris’ leadership.”

Coble is CEO of Elmbrook Management Company in Oklahoma. He has been a board member of the Oklahoma Association of Healthcare Providers since 2000 and began serving on AHCA’s Board of Governors in 2011 in various roles. Coble spent over 15 years working in the oil and gas industry prior to entering the long term care profession in 1993. He is now recognized as an expert and spokesman in the profession, delivering expert testimony before committees of the U.S. Congress and the Oklahoma State Legislature. Coble also represented AHCA at The White House Conference on Aging in 2015, which marked the 50th anniversary of Medicare and Medicaid.      

The remaining members of AHCA’s 2016-2017 Board include:

• Michael Wylie of Pennsylvania, Vice Chair

• Robin Hillier of Ohio, Secretary/Treasurer

• Len Russ of New York, Immediate Past Chair

• Phil Scalo of New Jersey, Independent Owner Representative

• Steve Cavanaugh of Virginia, Multifacility Representative

• Glenn Van Ekeren of Nebraska, Regional Multifacility Representative

• Debbie Meade of Georgia, At-Large Board Representative

• David Norsworthy of Arkansas, At-Large Board Representative

• Greg Elliot of West Virginia, At-Large Board Representative and

• Phil Fogg of Oregon, At-Large Board Representative.

There are three ex-officio members on the AHCA Board of Governors. In addition to the ASHCAE Representative, they include:

• Peter Corless, Associate Business Member (ABM) Representative and

• Chris Mason of Oregon, NCAL Representative.

NCAL also elected its Board of Directors today, including the re-election of Mason as Chair. He is the president and chief executive officer of Senior Housing Managers, which operates assisted living, residential care communities and nursing centers in multiple states. Mason’s career in long term care spans 30 years. He was elected to NCAL’s Board in 2006 and is an active member of the American College of Health Care Administrators.

The remaining members of NCAL’s Board of Directors include:

• Ashley Blankenship of Arkansas, Vice-Chair

• Helen Crunk of Nebraska, Secretary-Treasurer

• Patricia (Pat) Giorgio of Iowa, Immediate Past Chair

• Rod Burkett of Illinois, At-Large Representative

• David Chensvold of Iowa, At-Large Representative

• Michele DeClemente-Hughes of New Jersey, At-Large Representative

• Lee Field of Washington, At-Large Representative

• Gerald Hamilton of New Mexico, At-Large Representative

• Steven Heaney of New Jersey, At-Large Representative

• Carmy Jerome of Colorado, At-Large Representative

• Mark Maxfield of Idaho, At-Large Representative

• Ed McMahon of Virginia, At-Large Representative

• Sean Mockbee of Arizona, At-Large Representative

• Tom Reddy of Kansas, At-Large Representative

• Steve Schrunk of Florida, At-Large Representative

• Laurie Shepard of Michigan, At-Large Representative

• Michael Wylie, AHCA Vice-Chair

• Heath Boddy of Nebraska, ASHCAE Representative

• Kathleen Collins Pagels of Arizona, ASHCAE Representative and

• Shawn Scott, ABM Representative.

As the AHCA Chair, Coble also serves as an ex-officio member on the NCAL Board.

“The diversity of assisted living professionals on the NCAL Board is what helps make our association strong,” said NCAL Executive Director Scott Tittle. “We are honored they have chosen to share their expertise and leadership to move the assisted living profession forward.”

Members of the AHCA Board of Governors are elected annually by the association’s governing body, the Council of States. The NCAL Board of Directors is elected by current members of the NCAL Board and by NCAL State Leaders or the NCAL State Leader’s proxy. Both are elected annually at Convention.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Convention Preview: What Assisted Living Providers Can Expect

The AHCA/NCAL Convention & Expo is always the event of the year for long term and post-acute care providers. And this year’s Convention promises to deliver with inspiring keynotes, robust education, and fruitful networking opportunities—all in the electrifying town that is Nashville.

If you’re an assisted living provider, how do you make sure you maximize your Convention experience? We’re here to help with these AL highlights:

NCAL Day

It’s a celebration 10 years in the making! Start the week off right with Sunday’s event exclusively for assisted living providers. We’ll have a full day of sessions covering the hot topics as well as a moving awards ceremony.

Note: NCAL Day is a separate ticketed event that must be purchased in addition to any convention package. If you do not have your ticket to NCAL Day, please go to the registration desk to purchase.

Assisted Living Education Track & Other Sessions

The rest of week offers tens of education tracks, so you can find what topics matter to you. The assisted living educational track will dig deeper into many of the nuanced issues that currently exist within the profession:

· Mental health
 
· Chronic disease management

· Communication, When Words Don’t Work

· Liability in Assisted Living

· Medicaid

· Leadership Development

But with so many other education tracks and countless great sessions, it can be hard to choose which one to attend. So, we’ll give you a hint:

Anytime you see this icon in the program book or in the Convention app, that means the education session is applicable to assisted living providers.

Expo Hall

With over 300 vendors in the Expo Hall, Convention offers assisted living providers a chance to find new ways to improve their daily operations with quality products and services. AHCA/NCAL will also have multiple booths for you to visit:

LTC Trend Tracker - #641

Come learn about the new assisted living measures in LTC Trend Tracker, and how you can use this member resource to your advantage.

Faces of Assisted Living - #431

Share why you care to inspire others to join the assisted living profession. Your story could be featured on AHCA/NCAL’s social media channels

That’s just scratching the surface of what Convention offers. We can’t wait to see you there!

Please note: Advance registration for the AHCA/NCAL 67th Annual Convention & Expo is now closed. If you would like to attend our event, registration is available. You may register on site in Nashville beginning on Sunday October 16 at 6:45 a.m.

CMS Final Rule Prohibits Pre-Dispute Arbitration Agreements

Dianne De La Mare


The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has released a final rule that includes a regulation that prohibits pre-dispute arbitration agreements. The regulation allows for voluntary post-dispute arbitration agreements; but there are certain conditions that must be met even with a post-dispute arbitration agreement. The regulation also allows another individual to sign the arbitration agreement under certain conditions. The regulation is effective on November 28, 2016, and is not retroactive. If a center enters into a pre-dispute arbitration agreement up through Nov. 27, 2016, it is still a valid agreement. See § 483.70(n).

PEPPER Retrieval Maps Allow State Comparison

Dianne De La Mare
The Program for Evaluating Payment Patterns Electronic Report (PEPPER) retrieval rate for PEPPERs accessed via the PEPPER Resources Portal for each state has recently been updated. By going to Map of SNF PEPPER retrievals by state, you can see the number of SNF PEPPERs accessed via the portal, the retrieval rate, and a link to the data file for all the states in the US. This map will be updated monthly.

If you haven’t accessed your PEPPER yet, visit Distribution Schedule - Get Your PEPPER page, and follow the instructions. The PEPPER is an educational tool that summarizes provider-specific data statistics for Medicare services that may be at risk for improper payments. Providers can use the data to support internal auditing and monitoring activities.

Visit PEPPERresources.org to access resources for using PEPPER, including user's guides, recorded web-based training sessions and a sample PEPPER.



CMS Proposed Rule Would Expand MFCU Authority

Dianne De La Mare


The US Department of Health of Human Services, Office of Inspector General (OIG) and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), have released a proposed rule that “would update the Medicaid fraud program, which has undergone only 2 amendments since its establishment in 1978.”

In the last four decades, “growth of the Medicaid Fraud Control Units (MFCU) program…as well as changes in MFCU practice, healthcare, and the workplace have led to the need for many amendments to the regulation,” according to the agencies. The proposed rule also would incorporate statutory changes affecting MFCUs, as well s policy and practice changes that have occurred since the regulation was initially issues in 1978. These changes include a codification of OIG’s delegated authority, MFCU authority, functions and responsibilities, disallowances, and issues related to organization, prosecutorial authority, staffing, recertification and the MFCUs relationship with the state Medicaid agencies.

AHCA/NCAL will submit formal comments on the November 21, 2016, the due date.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

DOL Issues Final Rule Implementing EO on Government Contractor Paid Sick Leave

Dana Halvorson


According to an alert from Jackson Lewis, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has released final regulations on September 30, 2016, implementing President Barack Obama’s Executive Order 13706, requiring up to seven days of paid sick leave for workers on federal contracts. The Department estimates that the Final Rule will provide paid sick leave to about 1.15 million workers employed by Federal contractors. The Final Rule specifies the contracts and employees covered by the EO, as well as rules for how sick leave will accrue, when it can be used, and how the Department will ensure that covered employers comply with these new requirements.

Executive Order 13706 applies to new contracts and replacements for expiring contracts with the Federal Government that result from solicitations issued on or after January 1, 2017 (or that are awarded outside the solicitation process on or after January 1, 2017). Key requirements of the final rule are discussed in the Jackson Lewis article and this Employee Benefit Adviser article. In addition, DOL has released a fact sheet and frequently asked questions you might find of assistance.


As you know from previous AHCA communications, Medicare (Parts A and B) or Medicaid providers are not considered to be federal contractors. However, if a provider currently has VA patients and a VA contract, they are considered to be a federal contractor. Since VA contracts are covered by the Service Contract Act, this Executive Order applies to such contracts. AHCA continues to work with our Congressional champions on getting VA provider agreements across the finish line, and taking those with VA contracts out of the scope of being deemed a federal contractor.

AHCA’s Ciolek Is Voice for Skilled Nursing Profession During Capitol Hill Briefing

(Dan Ciolek-in the center)
Daniel Ciolek and Dana Halvorson


Last Thursday, October 6, AHCA’s Associate Vice President of Therapy Advocacy, Daniel Ciolek, spoke at an American Heart Association/American Stroke Association breakfast briefing on the associations’ first ever evidence-based guidelines that are “intended to optimize the rehabilitation and recovery of stroke survivors.” According to the briefing notice, “Nearly 800,000 Americans have a stroke each year, and the rehabilitative care and support a patient receives can have a significant impact on his or her ultimate recovery.” Mr. Ciolek was one of five invited expert panelists speaking on the guidelines, and was the leading voice on the skilled nursing center perspective.


The panel discussed topics on how the 227 recommendations in the stroke rehab guidelines could be applied to fill in the gaps in stroke rehab research, align with the new IMPACT Act quality measures, improve interdisciplinary care coordination across the continuum, and improve overall patient care. It was notable that the guideline authors and other panelists pointed out that one of the recommendations indicating a preference for IRF over SNF created some controversy, and acknowledged that many SNFs have the facilities and capabilities to furnish intensive stroke rehab with good outcomes.


During the panel, Mr. Ciolek focused on the fact that new payment models must meet the acute and chronic care needs of the stroke survivor. He provided examples where outpatient therapy cap policy and third-party prior authorization processes are counterintuitive to facilitating care coordination and transitioning care to meet the rehabilitation needs of stroke survivors. Ciolek noted that stroke survivors across the country need rehab, and many SNFs near their homes have stepped up their game to fill in the void. He agreed with other panelists that hospitals, physicians, patients and their families should ask a potential SNF about their facilities, staffing, expertise, and experience with rehabilitating stroke survivors. With regards to patient-centered care, Mr Ciolek cited research that the lack of common language as a patient moves from setting to setting is a key barrier to successful outcomes - and that the standardization of functional assessment information and outcomes measures across settings required by the Improving Medicare Post-Acute Care Transformation (IMPACT) Act that became law in October 2014 should improve coordination at care transitions - but only if the information is shared. Finally, with regards to the stroke rehab guidelines document, Mr. Ciolek stated that overall they are a helpful step as they can be used by SNFs as an aspirational document to improve their assessment and treatment approaches, and to fill in gaps in stroke rehab care not covered yet by IMPACT measures.


Moderating the panel discussion was Dr. Daofen Chen (Program Director of Sensorimotor Systems & Neurorehabilitation Research at NINDS/NIH Neuroscience Center. Other panelists included Dr. Alexander Dromerick (Chairman and Professor of the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine at Georgetown University Medical Center and Vice President for Research at MedStar National Rehabilitation Hospital), Dr. Joel Stein (Simon Baruch Professor of Physician Medicine and Rehabilitation at Weill Cornell Medical College and Professor and Chair of the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons), Dr. Mary Beth Walsh (Board Member of the American Medical Rehabilitation Providers Association and Executive Medical Director of Chief Executive Officer of the Burke Rehabilitation Hospital), and Dr. Carolee Winstein (Professor of Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy and Director of Motor Behavior and Neurorehabilitation Laboratory at the University of Southern California). Frank ‘Chip’ Celestano, MD, a stroke survivor also provided a patient perspective of the short- and long-term challenges of recovering from stroke and obtaining therapies necessary to improve his function.


For more information on this briefing, please feel free to contact Dan Ciolek at dciolek@ahca.org, or AHCA’s Senior Director of NFP & Constituent Services, Dana Halvorson, at dhalvorson@ahca.org.

CMS Requests Public Comments on Draft SNF Functional Measures

Dan Ciolek


The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has contracted with RTI International to develop Functional Outcome Quality Measures for Skilled Nursing Facilities (SNFs). As part of its measure development process, CMS is seeking public comments on the proposed functional outcome measures.


The public comment period for these measures opened on Friday, October 7, and will close on Friday October 28th, 2016. The Call for Public Comment can be found on CMS’s public comment webpage at https://www.cms.gov/Medicare/Quality-Initiatives-Patient-Assessment-Instruments/MMS/CallforPublicComment.html.


AHCA is planning on submitting comments to FunctionQMs@rti.org by the closing date October 28th, 2016. AHCA members may submit comments directly to the measure developer email address by this date. Additionally, AHCA members can contribute to the AHCA response by submitting comments to Dan Ciolek, AHCA’s Associate Vice President, Therapy Advocacy at dciolek@ahca.org no later than Friday, October 21.





Stop By the Long Term Care Career Center’s Headshot Lounge in Nashville!

Dave Kyllo

The AHCA/NCAL 67th Annual Convention and Expo begins on Sunday and this year’s convention features a new activity for AHCA/NCAL members. Thanks to the generous support of PointClickCare®, the AHCA/NCAL Long Term Care Career Center, is hosting a Headshot Lounge for AHCA/NCAL member attendees.


The Headshot Lounge will be open on Monday and Tuesday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. in room Jackson F of the Gaylord Opryland. AHCA/NCAL members are encouraged to drop by the Headshot Lounge to get a free professional headshot. The’Long Term Care Career Center’s Headshot Lounge will be a great opportunity to network and get a new personal photo emailed to you to use for your professional needs.


The Long Term Care Career Center is AHCA/NCAL’s electronic job board dedicated to helping Members find and recruit top LTC professionals. 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 330 health care organizations and societies. Employers are also able to post vacancies as they occur and search resumes on the network.


Of course, the LTC Career Center is always free for job seekers. And, job seekers are using the site! Job postings on the AHCA/NCAL Long Term Care Career Center, average more than 1,600 views a month.

Now is the perfect time to give the Long Term Care Career Center a try because new users receive 25% off their first posting. Simply enter promo code New25off to receive this special discounted price.

Employers who utilize the site also receive superior 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.


Start practicing your best smile now and be sure to stop by the Headshot Lounge in Nashville next Monday or Tuesday.

Are You Ready to Apply for a Silver Award?



The AHCA/NCAL Annual Convention is always an exciting time for those engaged in the National Quality Award Program. Not only are the newest recipients recognized, and preparatory education offered for all three award levels, but some of most exciting networking of the year takes place.

An interesting phenomenon has been reported by staff and Examiners however; many new Bronze recipients report their intent to apply at the Silver level in the coming year. While this engagement is encouraging, it is troubling that many indicate that they have not yet read the Silver criteria.

Historically, the Quality Award Program has received many premature applications at the Silver level. These applications describe processes that are not developed to the extent that examiners can provide focused, meaningful feedback that can be used by applicants to drive improvements at the center. We believe that many of these applications are the result of center leadership making the decision to apply (and often beginning to write an application), prior to carefully considering the demands of the criteria across the center. We call this practice “writing before reading”.

Although these applications may be premature, they nevertheless represent significant effort and cost to the centers that produce them. In most cases, this effort may be better spent in using the criteria to evaluate and improve processes.

The program is currently pilot testing a Silver self-assessment instrument that will help Bronze recipients evaluate the degree to which their center’s processes address the key demands of the criteria, and the degree to which trended data with appropriate comparisons can be reported across areas important to center success.

This instrument is designed to not only help a center’s senior leadership determine if their center is ready to apply, but if not, where the key blockers to application-readiness are.

Although still in draft form, we are already hearing that this instrument is proving helpful to our future Silver applicants. Check out a beta version of the assessment on our Silver Award webpage  and stay tuned for the final version coming out later this year.

As always, please contact us at qualityaward@ahca.org if you have any questions.

And don’t forget about these important dates coming up!
  • Intent to Apply Deadline November 17, 2016 
  • Application Deadline January 26, 2017

Don’t Miss the AHCA/NCAL Preferred Provider Program Booths in the Expo Hall

Dave Kyllo

AHCA/NCAL’s Preferred Provider program offers special discounts on several products and services that are available only to AHCA/NCAL Members. As you explore the Expo Hall in Nashville, be sure to stop by these booths to learn more about these outstanding Preferred Provider programs that deliver exclusive “Members Only” savings.

Booth 416 – HealthCap – A leading professional and general liability insurance company dedicated to the senior care profession and offering a 10% credit for AHCA/NCAL Members! HealthCap provides focused claims management services, and specialized insurance products to skilled nursing facilities, assisted living communities, independent living, and continuing care retirement communities.

Booth 706 – AHCA/NCAL Insurance Solutions – Created just for AHCA/NCAL Members, Insurance Solutions is delivering big savings to Members on their employee health benefit programs for both fully insured and self-insured providers. Drop by to see if AHCA/NCAL Insurance Solutions can save you money on your employee health benefit program!

Booth 710 – Gero Nurse Prep – This on-line course prepares RNs for the ANCC Board certification exam in gerontological nursing. RNs who complete the Gero Nurse Prep program have a pass rate of 96% on the ANCC exam and earn 30 CEUs. New AHCA/NCAL research shows that nursing facilities with ANCC Board certified RNs are twice as likely to receive a 5-Star rating from CMS, have lower rehospitalization rates and lower rates of off-label antipsychotic usage.

Booth 712 -- CARES® & essentiALZ® -- HealthCare Interactive and the Alzheimer’s Association have teamed up to offer an outstanding online person-centered dementia care training and individual certification program. CARES® is the only online dementia training program recommended by CMS and AHCA/NCAL members save 10% off every purchase by using an exclusive AHCA/NCAL discount code at checkout.

We can’t wait to see you in Nashville!

Monday, October 10, 2016

The Required Results: What Quality Award Applicants Need to Know

qualityaward@ahca.org

New for the 2017 Silver and Gold applications are 10 required measures. Silver and Gold applicants are required to report on 10 specific measures in their results section. Failure to provide all required results will be grounds for disqualification. The required measures are:

7.1 – Health Care and Process Results

  • 30-day Rehospitalization Rates 
  • Antipsychotic Rates 
  • Five-Star Quality Measure Rating 
7.2 – Customer-Focused Results
  • Overall Customer Satisfaction 
  • Customer Willingness to Recommend to Others 
7.3 – Workforce-Focused Results
  • Staff Turnover/Retention (staff stability) 
  • Five-Star – Staffing Measure Rating 
7.4 – Leadership, Governance, and/or Survey Results
  • Five-Star Overall Rating 
  • Five-Star Survey Measure Rating 
7.5 – Financial and/or Market Results
  • Financial and/or Market Results from the center’s organization profile indicated as important to the organization’s success

What if a measure is not available for my center?

Some of the required measures may not be available to all applicants. In this case, applicants will need to provide a clear and legitimate reason why a result measure could not be obtained. This may be reviewed and exceptions may be granted on a case-by-case basis. For example, AHCA/NCAL Quality Award staff are aware that Five Star results do not apply to Assisted Living Communities. For the Five Star results, simply write “Five Star is not available for AL” and provide another applicable result in that category to replace this measure that your AL community has. Not reporting Five Star as an AL community will not affect the evaluation of your application in any way as long as you include "Five Star is not available for AL".

For the other required results, if you are not able to provide the result, you will need to provide a more extensive explanation.

As a reminder for Silver Applicants, if a required measure is not available and a clear and legitimate explanation is provided then applicants will need to submit another measure in its place to meet the minimum results requirement for that category item.

What else do I need to include for the required results?

For all required results, the term REQUIRED is to be written with the measure/figure to differentiate the measures for Examiners.

Has anything else changed for the Results category?

Data sources are to be included on the graph/chart in both Silver and Gold applications for all results. If a data source for a particular result is not provided, that result will not get credit for comparative data.

Why the change?

These measures were deemed important by the National Quality Award Program and approved by the program’s Board of Overseers. The program will update these required measures accordingly in the future as the long term and post-acute care industry continues to evolve and as new outcomes and measures may emerge.


If you have any questions, please email Quality Award Staff at qualityaward@ahca.org.


Important Dates to Remember!
  • Intent to Apply Deadline November 17th, 2016 
  • Application Deadline January 26th, 2017


Wednesday, October 5, 2016

NQF Releases Final Report from the HCBS Committee

Lindsay Schwartz

The National Quality Forum (NQF) has released the final report from its Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) Committee: Quality in Home and Community-Based Services to Support Community Living: Addressing Gaps in Performance Measures. Under a contract with the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), NQF convened a committee to develop recommendations for prioritization of measurement opportunities. AHCA/NCAL has been following this work closely, keeping members informed, and submitting comments with each report.

During this two-year project, the committee:
  • created a conceptual framework for measurement and an operational definition of HCBS; 
  • conducted an environmental scan for measures, concepts, and instruments; 
  • identified gaps in quality measures; and 
  • drafted recommendations for prioritization in measurement. 
During the project, three interim reports were released, which can be found on the NQF website.

The final report includes global recommendations to improving quality measures in HCBS, the suggested measurement domains and subdomains, examples of measure concepts relevant to each subdomain, and recommendations for each domain. The committee has also identified characteristics of high-quality HCBS.

Global recommendations from the committee:
  • Support quality measurement across all domains and subdomains.
  • Build upon existing quality measurement efforts.
  • Develop and implement a standardized approach to data collection, storage, analysis, and reporting.
  • Ensure that emerging technology standards, development, and implementation are structured to facilitate quality measurement.
  • Triangulate assessment of HCBS quality using an appropriate balance of measure types and units of analysis.
  • Develop a core set of standard measures for use across the HCBS system, along with a menu of supplemental measures that are tailorable to the population, setting, and program.
  • Convene a standing council of HCBS experts to evaluate and approve candidate measures.
Final suggested measurement domains for quality measurement:
  • Service Delivery and Effectiveness
  • Person-Centered Planning and Coordination
  • Choice and Control
  • Community Inclusion
  • Caregiver Support
  • Workforce
  • Human and Legal Rights
  • Equity
  • Holistic Health and Functioning
  • System Performance and Accountability
  • Consumer Leadership in System Development 
NCAL will continue to monitor how HHS proceeds forward with the recommendations and keep members informed.

AHCA Submits Comments on EPM Proposed Rule




The comments outline our key concerns and highlight research on the current state of bundled payments.  AHCA recommends to CMS that they halt expansion of the proposed bundling initiatives until it has formally evaluated 12 months of data from the CJR demonstration, beginning with the start of downside risk-bearing on January 1, 2017.

For comments or questions on this proposed rule or the AHCA submitted comments, please contact James Michel, Senior Director, Medicare Reimbursement & Policy at AHCA/NCAL.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

ANCC Board Certified RNs Offer Pathway to Lower Rehospitalization Rates


Recent research conducted by AHCA/NCAL found that the rehospitalization rates in nursing facilities with at least one RN certified in gerontological nursing by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) consistently have run at least two percentage points lower than the national average since 2011. 

Lower rehospitalization rates are critical to being competitive in today’s health care marketplace and are the cornerstone of the new CMS value based purchasing program (VBP) for skilled nursing facilities. CMS will begin tracking SNF rehospitalization rates on January 1, 2017 for the new VBP Medicare payment program.    

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 designed 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 registration 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). 

Visit Dr. Heidi Keeler in Booth 710 at the AHCA/NCAL Expo Hall in Nashville to learn more about the AHCA/NCAL Gero Nurse Prep program and the positive impact ANCC RN certification can have on quality outcomes in long term care facilities.

Updated Fact Sheet Posted on SNF QRP Requirements

Holly Harmon

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has posted an updated fact sheet with information on requirements for the Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF) Quality Reporting Program (QRP) FY 2018 reporting year (data collection period October 1 through December 31, 2016). This update includes information on the claims based measures as well as MDS based measures. The claims based measures will be calculated using Medicare FFS claims and thus, will require no additional data collection on the part of providers.

Visit the SNF QRP website for more information.








Newly Reformed Requirements of Participation for Long-Term Care Facilities Issued

Beth Martino


As many of you know, the final Requirements of Participation became available last week and will be published in the Federal Register on October 4, 2016. AHCA immediately issued a press statement.

AHCA is providing members with information, tools, and resources to help you be successful in the implementation of the requirements.

To begin that effort, AHCA has hosted two webinars to brief members on the new requirements. Both webinars included a high-level summary of the changes followed by a focus on the first phase of the three-year phase in. Recordings of the webinars are posted online here.

As a reminder, there will be a three-hour intensive seminar about the final rule on Sunday, October 16, in Nashville at the AHCA/NCAL Annual Convention. The session is titled Requirements of Participation: A Deeper Dive into Key Changes and will be held Sunday from 1:00 PM – 4:00 PM in Governor’s Ballroom B at the Gaylord.

Please note that conference attendees DO NOT need to pre-register, RSVP, or sign up for this session. It is included in the full convention meeting package.

Call for Questions: Ask the Quality Experts at the AHCA/NCAL Convention & Expo!

The 2016 AHCA/NCAL Convention & Expo will feature an all-new opportunity for members to get their quality questions answered by some of the best leaders in the field during the Quality Award Ceremony on Tuesday, October 18. Immediately after 2016 Quality Award recipients are recognized, President and CEO Mark Parkinson will moderate a discussion among four experts who have successfully led quality improvement efforts at their organizations.

Do you have a question for our panel about achieving your quality goals? Click here to submit your question by Friday, October 14!

Meet Our Panelists!
  • Linda Austin is co-owner and administrator of Knollwood Manor, a Five-Star skilled nursing care center and 2014 Bronze National Quality Award recipient, and The White House Assisted Living, a 2016 Bronze National Quality Award recipient, in Lafayette, TN. Linda is an active member and current president of the Tennessee Health Care Association.
  • Lori Cooper is the chief operating officer of Healthmark Services, Inc., which owns Stonebrook Healthcare Center in Concord, CA. Lori serves on the Executive Board for the California Association of Health Facilities, represents California on the Quality Improvement Committee, and serves as a master examiner for the AHCA/NCAL National Quality Award program.
  • Ed McMahon is the vice president of quality for Sunrise Senior Living. Ed served on the AHCA Quality Committee that developed the AHCA/NCAL National Quality Award program and continued with the program as an original, senior and master examiner. 
  • Glenn Van Ekeren is the president of Vetter Health Services in Omaha, NE. Glenn is also a professional public speaker who addresses how to maximize people and organizational potential as well as a published author of several books and an inspirational blog.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Get Involved with the AHCA/NCAL National Quality Award Program!


The AHCA/NCAL National Quality Award Program is recruiting for Examiners and individuals to join its Board of Overseers -- two exciting opportunities for AHCA/NCAL members to get involved!  

National Quality Award Examiner

Serving as an Examiner is an incredible opportunity for individuals interested in continuous quality improvement. Members who participate as Examiners have a much better grasp of the criteria and can use that knowledge to improve their organizations and/or submit a National Quality Award application. It's also an excellent networking opportunity; Examiners gain professional contacts throughout the country, and make life-long friendships through the program.  A  serious commitment, both in time and impact to the program, Examiners are required to attend a 3 day in-person training session, before working in teams over a 12-week period to review their assigned applications. Examiners estimate spending 40-60 hours reviewing applications, in addition to required weekly conference calls with their teams. The process culminates with a required in-person review session. AHCA covers the travel expenses associated with all required meetings. 

For more information and to submit an application, please visit the 2017 National Quality Award Examiner website here.


National Quality Award Board of Overseers 

In addition to Examiner recruitment, the National Quality Award Board of Overseers is also in the process of recruiting for new members. The responsibilities of the 12-member Board are as follow:

  • Establish the award criteria and appropriate policies and procedures to administer, promote, and preserve the credibility of the National Quality Award program.
  • Evaluate all aspects of the Program, including the adequacy of the criteria and the processes for determining award recipients.
  • Assess how well the program is achieving its mission.
  • Develop yearly goals and measures.
  • Report to AHCA/NCAL Leadership and the AHCA Board of Governors as appropriate.



Elected members will serve a 3-year term on the Board. The deadline to apply is November 11, 2016. For more information and to apply, please visit the Board of Overseers Recruitment website here.