Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Long Term Care and the Law Program February 28-March 2, 2018

Lilly Hummel

Register to attend the Long Term Care and the Law program February 28-March 2, 2018 in New Orleans, LA. This program is an exciting and informative meeting where some of the leading in-house and outside lawyers for the long term care industry will be presenting on legal, compliance, and operational issues faced by providers. The morning of February 28, the National Center for Assisted Living will host a round table open to all assisted living in-house counsel; this year the event will focus on emergency preparedness. The American Health Lawyers Association (AHLA) offers CLE, CPE, NHA, and CCB credits for the conference. AHCA and NCAL members receive the AHLA member discounted rate of $865. Don’t miss this excellent educational opportunity.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

House Passes Tax Reform; Senate Version Keeps Medical Deduction


The House passed sweeping tax overhaul legislation Thursday, shifting efforts to the Senate. The Senate’s tax bill differs significantly from the House version in numerous ways, including the medical expenses deduction, which remains intact in the Senate version.

The House passed the bill with 227 votes. Thirteen Republicans and all Democrats voted against the legislation. On the same day, the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance voted along party lines to advance a markedly different version of tax reform that includes a partial repeal of the individual mandate included in the 2010 health care law but does not touch the medical expense deduction.

AHCA/NCAL issued a press release last week opposing the elimination of the medical expense deduction, which many long term care patients use to offset the financial burden of receiving uncompensated long term or post-acute care.

The Senate version differs primarily because of procedural rules surrounding the budget reconciliation process. In order to avoid a Democratic filibuster, Senate Republicans are using the reconciliation process to pass legislation with a simple 50-vote majority. The process, however, ties lawmakers’ hands on issues of deficit spending, meaning the Senate bill necessarily must have more offsets or fewer revenue cuts than the House version in order for it to come to the floor.

In addition to procedural hurdles, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) issued a report indicating that the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) would be forced to cut Medicare if tax legislation creates too much deficit spending. OMB would be forced to cut Medicare spending by $25 billion, or four percent of total spending. The House version of tax legislation is projected to increase the deficit by $1.5 trillion, according to the CBO.

AHCA/NCAL will continue to monitor the tax reform effort insofar as it affects its members and the patients they serve.

Depression and the Holiday Blues: December 13 Twitter Chat


Save the Date! On Wednesday, December 13 at 2 p.m. Eastern, join Provider Magazine for a Twitter chat to talk about a topic on several minds this holiday season. 

Experts from Signature HealthCARE and TEAMHealth will share tips on staying connected with loved ones in care centers as well as what they do to manage depression and keep the holiday blues at bay.

Follow the chat via #ProviderChats.

New RoP Regulations Three Part Webinar Series Available Now for CEOs/Owners


AHCA member CEOs and owners can now register for a new webinar training series available, “What a CEO Needs to Know about the New Regulations”. 

Click here to register and get access to helpful videos, presentation handouts, and additional resources regarding the new regulations for the Requirements of Participation (RoP) taking effect next week.

This three part series, which is designed for CEO/ Owners only, is presented by Dr. David Gifford, Senior VP of Quality & Regulatory Affairs for AHCA/NCAL. The series will break down what an owner or CEO needs to know about the new RoP regulations, and will cover the following:
  • Part 1: Overview and key themes in the new regulations
  • Part 2: Overview of the new survey process that goes into effect in November 2017
  • Part 3: Key questions you want to ask your management to make sure your organization is ready for the new regulations.
This content is an exclusive member benefit, free to members. Please be sure to login to ahcancalED with your AHCA username and password in order to receive access to the series. If you need additional assistance, please email educate@ahca.org.

Members can also access RoP resources on AHCA's website here.

Gero Nurse Prep Bolsters RNs’ Knowledge of Gerontological Nursing

AHCA/NCAL Gero Nurse Prep is designed to prepare RNs to take the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) board certification exam in gerontological nursing. RNs who complete the Gero Nurse Prep program have a passing rate of 96 percent on the ANCC exam on their first try and they also receive 30 CEUs. 

But AHCA/NCAL Gero Nurse Prep does much more. It increases experienced RNs’ knowledge of gerontological nursing practice. Gero Nurse Prep students see a whopping 24 percent average increase on their pre- and post-test scores. 

The statistics prove it. Gero Nurse Prep grads know more about gerontological nursing.  Taking the AHCA/NCAL Gero Nurse Prep course does obligate a RN to sit for the ANCC Board certification exam. Nurses who only want to increase their knowledge of gerontological nursing practice can simply take the AHCA/NCAL Gero Nurse Prep course and earn 30 CEUs.
  
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. That means having an ANCC Board certified RN can easily give providers an edge in the marketplace. 

AHCA/NCAL Gero Nurse Prep is on sale now through November 30 and each RN registrant can save $100 on his/her Gero Nurse Prep registration by entering promo code VBPRN17 (all caps) at checkout. 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.  

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 online curriculum designed to increase gerontological nursing knowledge and help RNs pass the ANCC exam. 
Increase your facility’s gerontological nursing competency. Take advantage of the $100 savings on Gero Nurse Prep before the sale ends next week and remember to enter promo code VBPRN17 at check out.  

Only Six Days Left Before New Antibiotic Stewardship Requirements Take Effect for Nursing Facilities


AHCA is ready to help members meet the new Infection Preventionist specialized training requirement finalized by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) in the Reform of Requirements of Participation for Long Term Care Facilities.

AHCA’s  Infection Preventionist Specialized Training (IPCO) course provides education for healthcare professionals who seek to serve as Infection Preventionists and prepares individuals to meet the antibiotic stewardship requirements taking effect in November
  
Even though nursing facilities are not required to have a designated “Infection Preventionist” until November 2019, there are three compelling reasons why it is critical to register for this training now:
  • As of November 28, 2016 nursing facilities are being held accountable to more expansive infection prevention and control federal regulations. 
  • Beginning November 28, 2017, the federal requirements for nursing facilities expand further and require that every nursing facility develop and implement an antibiotic stewardship program. This is a new requirement that should be conducted with oversight from specially trained healthcare professionals.
  • Surveyors nationwide were recently trained to survey for the expanded infection prevention & control and antibiotic stewardship requirements. The survey process will be significantly different beginning on November 28.  

The course is an online, self-study program with 23 hours of training that meets the educational requirements outlined by CMS. It includes online lectures, case studies and interactive components taught by subject matter experts who have real life experience working in long term/post-acute care. 

AHCA’s course addresses both clinical and organizational systems, processes and cultural aspects of infection prevention and control that are fundamental to effectively leading and administering successful infection prevention and control programs and antibiotic stewardship programs. Upon successful completion of this program, participants will receive certificates including 23 ANCC contact hours. 

The training course registration fee is $450 for AHCA/NCAL members and $650 for non-members. There are no refunds and no transfers. Payment and registration must be made online in ahcancalED. The IPCO course can be accessed here or at: https://educate.ahcancal.org/p/ipco.   

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

To access ahcancalED and the IPCO course, members will need to login with their AHCA/NCAL usernames and passwords.  For assistance obtaining AHCA/NCAL usernames and passwords, please e-mail update@ahca.org with your name and facility contact information. 


Join The Conversation: United Against the Flu Twitter Chat

Flu season has arrived.
Join the conversation next month and hold the below time for this year’s United Against the Flu Twitter Chat. Be prepared to use the hashtag, #UnitedAgainstFlu to help highlight the need for your patients and residents to get a flu shot.
Monday, December 4 from 11:00 – 12:00 ET
Guest Expert: Dr. Jay Bhatt

AHCA will update members with additional information on the Twitter chat as it becomes available. In the interim, members are encouraged to do the following to help spread the word about flu prevention:
  • Visit the American Hospital Association's landing page to find information and toolkits for long term care employers.
  • Follow @CDCFlu on Twitter and use the hashtag, #UnitedAgainstFlu in your social posts.
You can find also find infographics and other helpful resources, including the CDC's flu shot finder tool, on the United Against the Flu webpage
According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, (CDC), United Against the Flu is a collaborative effort by several national health care organizations in partnership with the CDC to amplify the importance of getting vaccinated, especially this flu season.
The CDC reports that approximately 310,000 Americans were hospitalized due to the flu in 2015, and more than 25 million were affected by flu-related illnesses In addition to symptoms including sore throat, aches and fever, the flu can lead to serious health complications such as pneumonia.

Deadline Approaching: 69th Annual Convention & Expo: Call for Presentations

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Hours: 9 – 9 ET, Mon - Fri
Phone: (Direct) (410) 638-9239
Phone: (Toll Free) (877) 426-6323
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Event Details

Name: 2018 AHCA/NCAL 69th Annual Convention
Location: The San Diego Convention Center, San Diego, California
Date: October 7–10, 2018
Website: Click here

Organizers

Call for Presentations: Teresa Eyet (teyet@ahca.org); Phone: (202) 898-2837
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AHCA/NCAL will hold its 69th Annual Convention and Expo at The San Diego Convention Center, San Diego, CA from Oct. 7-10, 2018.

The 2018 Convention Call for Presentations deadline is November 30th.

Now is your chance to share ideas that reflect your success stories and professional insight, as well as ideas and programs that enhance the long term and post-acute care service delivery. 

We are particularly interested in proposals that reflect and will help support providers in achieving the AHCA Quality Initiative goals and the Quality Initiative for Assisted Living. Also important are the Requirements of Participation 

If you are interested in submitting a session proposal please visit the convention website, select the Call for Presentations icon and follow the instructions to complete your submission. No submissions will be accepted after November 30th

Updates on Three Cases Against Nursing Centers


The Department of Justice (DOJ) has filed a motion to drop a False Claims Act lawsuit it had joined against HCR ManorCare in 2015. The whistleblower lawsuit had asserted that the provider submitted false claims for levels of rehabilitation services that weren't medically necessary in order to boost its reimbursements. Last month the judge struck an expert witness’ testimony and ordered DOJ to pay HCR ManorCare’s legal fees.

Four San Diego-area nursing centers owned by Brius Management Co. have agreed to pay up to $6.9 million to resolve civil allegations that their employees paid kickbacks to hospital discharge planners for patient referrals and submitted fraudulent bills to the government. In the Deferred Prosecution Agreements, the four nursing centers admitted that their employees conspired to pay kickbacks without the knowledge of the management company. 

The nursing centers have entered into a Corporate Integrity Agreement with the Office of Inspector General (OIG) as part of the settlement to resolve the whistleblower case. The hospitals also agreed to pay up to $4.9 million if certain operational contingencies are met.

The DOJ has announced that Hyperion Foundation and its former President, AltaCare Corporation and its Chief Executive Officer, Long Term Care Services Inc., and Sentry Healthcare Acquirors Inc. have agreed to pay $1.25 million to resolve allegations brought by a whistleblower. The government alleged that from October 2005 to May 2012, Hyperion made claims to Medicare and Medicaid for providing effectively worthless services to residents at the Oxford Health and Rehabilitation nursing center, which was managed by AltaCare.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

November is a Big Month for Antibiotics


November 13-19 marks U.S. Antibiotic Awareness Week and World Antibiotic Awareness Week. November 28 marks the first day nursing facilities will be surveyed under new Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) antibiotic stewardship program guidelines. 

AHCA is ready to help members meet the new Infection Preventionist specialized training requirement finalized by CMS in the Reform of Requirements of Participation for Long Term Care Facilities. AHCA’s Infection Preventionist Specialized Training (IPCO) course provides education for healthcare professionals who seek to serve as Infection Preventionists and prepares individuals to meet the antibiotic stewardship requirements taking effect in less than two weeks.     

Even though nursing facilities are not required to have a designated “Infection Preventionist” until November 2019, there are three compelling reasons why it is critical to register for this training now:
  • As of November 28, 2016 nursing facilities are being held accountable to more expansive infection prevention and control federal regulations. 
  • Beginning November 28, 2017, the federal requirements for nursing facilities expand further and require that every nursing facility develop and implement an antibiotic stewardship program. This is a new requirement that should be conducted with oversight from specially trained healthcare professionals. 
  • Surveyors nationwide were recently trained to survey for the expanded infection prevention & control and antibiotic stewardship requirements. The survey process will be significantly different beginning on November 28.  

The course is an online, self-study program with 23 hours of training that meets the educational requirements outlined by CMS. It includes online lectures, case studies and interactive components taught by subject matter experts who have real life experience working in long term/post-acute care.  

AHCA’s course addresses both clinical and organizational systems, processes and cultural aspects of infection prevention and control that are fundamental to effectively leading and administering successful infection prevention and control programs and antibiotic stewardship programs. Upon successful completion of this program, participants will receive certificates including 23 ANCC contact hours. 

The training course registration fee is $450 for AHCA/NCAL members and $650 for non-members. There are no refunds and no transfers.Payment and registration must be made online in ahcancalED

The IPCO course can be accessed here or at: https://educate.ahcancal.org/p/ipco.   

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

To access ahcancalED and the IPCO course, members will need to login with their AHCA/NCAL usernames and passwords. For assistance obtaining AHCA/NCAL usernames and passwords, please e-mail update@ahca.org with your name and facility contact information.  

New Emergency Preparedness Rules Take Effect Today! Make Sure You’re Ready.


Skilled nursing facilities (SNFs/NFs) and intermediate care facilities for individuals with intellectual disabilities (ICF/IID) face new sweeping regulations affecting their emergency preparedness planning beginning on November 15. These requirements include:Annual 
  • Risk Assessment and Emergency Planning
  • Communication Plan
  • Emergency Preparedness Policies and Procedures (must be reviewed annually)
  • Training and Testing

·    AHCA/NCAL is pleased to offer a new tool titled “Emergency Preparedness Program (EPP) Customizable Plan for Long Term Care” that allows facilities to customize compliant plans, including:
  • Emergency Preparedness Program Management Plan
  • Communications Plan
  • Procedures applicable to all hazard responses
  • Incident Command System 
  • Full building Evacuation Plan
  • Emergency Lists
  • Continuity of Operations and Recovery Plan.

AHCA/NCAL members receive exclusive “member only” pricing of $395 for the EPP customizable plan – a savings of $100 off the regular price. The EPP plan from Russell Phillips & Associates includes:
  • An electronic flash drive – Easily add your facility’s information to customize your plan.
  • Hard copy of the documents – Provides hard copy worksheet-style documents of your plan. 
  • Binder with tabs prepared for insertion of customized plan – An invaluable resource that organizes your plan documents.  
  • A crosswalk between the new CMS regulations and the customizable EPP plan manual – This indispensable tool provides a clear-cut detailed comparison that shows how your facility’s EPP plan meets CMS requirements and demonstrates precise compliance to survey agencies and AHJs.  
  • Access to an information-packed 75-minute “how to” webinar conducted by Russell Phillips & Associates.

Be ready for your next survey. Order the customizable EPP plan today through the AHCA/NCAL Bookstore and save $100 off the regular $495 price.   

Bolster Your RNs’ Geriatric Nursing Skills to Reduce Rehospitalizations! Take Advantage of the Gero Nurse Prep Sale


AHCA/NCAL Gero Nurse Prep is on sale now through November 30th and each RN registrant can save $100 off his/her Gero Nurse Prep by entering promo code VBPRN17 (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 American Nurses Credentialing Center {ANCC} exam). 

Hospitals are keeping a close watch on their Medicare beneficiaries to ensure that they are not readmitted within 30 days of discharge, including those hospitalized Medicare beneficiaries who live in skilled nursing and assisted living settings. Well trained RNs can play a critical role in reducing re-hospitalizations. 

Hospitals face having Medicare reimbursements withheld if their re-hospitalization rates are too high. In October 2018, SNFs also will face financial consequences if their rehospitalization rates are too high. Managing rehospitalization rates has become a key part of a successful long term care business strategy in caring for the elderly in an increasingly competitive marketplace.
  
Research conducted by AHCA/NCAL in 2016 found that the rehospitalization rates in nursing facilities with at least one RN certified in gerontological nursing by the ANCC consistently have run at least two percentage points lower than the national average since 2011. AHCA/NCAL believes that assisted living settings may experience similar results by increasing their RNs’ gerontological expertise. 

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 ANCC 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. They also increase their knowledge of gerontological nursing by 20 percent on pre- and post-test scores.

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 online curriculum designed to help RNs pass the ANCC exam.
Outshine your competition by demonstrating your ability to reduce re-hospitalizations.Take advantage of the sale on Gero Nurse Prep and remember to enter promo code VBPRN17 at check out.   

The Number of Open LTC Jobs Dips in November


There are 18,688 open jobs posted by direct employers in the nursing care facility (including skilled nursing facilities - SNFs), assisted living, and continuing care retirement community (CCRC) sectors this month, according to the latest CEB TalentNeuron statistics. That is more than 1,400 fewer posted long term care (LTC) positions than October. 

The CEB TalentNeuron statistics also show an estimated 2,101,000 potential candidates in the nation’s workforce whose skills likely match the qualifications being sought by long term care employers. Figures show that 1,769 direct employers are competing for candidates this month – nearly the same number as last month. The average number of days a job was posted this month decreased by two days to 35 days.   

Finding qualified employees is one of the greatest challenges facing long term care providers. The AHCA/NCAL Long Term Care Career Center is designed to help members be competitive in attracting qualified candidates to fill their health care job vacancies. The LTC Career Center is also fully integrated with Google’s new job search feature, “Google for Jobs”, creating even greater exposure for job postings.

Rates for posting job vacancies are affordable and give prospective employers far greater exposure than local ads and job boards by connecting to a network of more than 330 national and state health care organizations and societies. Employers are also able to post vacancies as they occur and search resumes on the network. 

There are two great ways for skilled nursing center and assisted living employers to save on their job postings on the Long Term Care Career Center. First-time job posters can receive 25 percent off their first posting by entering promo code New25off when they check out.  Employers with multiple positions to fill can purchase three job postings at one time and receive a 20 percent discount on the three postings by entering promo code Bundle20 at check out. 

Employers who utilize the site also receive outstanding exposure through rotating job listings on AHCA’s home page – the website where long term care professionals go for news and information. In addition, employers who post vacancies through the center receive bonus rotating listings on the Long Term Care Career Center home page. 

Of course, the LTC Career Center is always free for job seekers and the LTC Career Center features many of the best positions the long term care profession has to offer. Job seekers are using the site with more than 93,000 searchable resumes on the National Healthcare Career Network this month. Job postings on the AHCA/NCAL Long Term Care Career Center network are averaging more than 1,400 views in November.

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

Medicare Part B Therapy Cap Threshold Set at $2,010 for Calendar Year 2018


Recently, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a Medicare Learning Network (MLN) Matters article number MM10341 announcing the Medicare Part B outpatient therapy cap values for calendar year (CY) 2018.

The article notes that the annual per-beneficiary benefit limits for physical therapy and speech-language pathology services combined (PT/SLP) is $2,010, while occupational therapy services have a separate $2,010 cap.

While there is currently activity in Congress to repeal the therapy caps before the end of the year, there is no guarantee it will occur. Providers should prepare and make sure that therapy and billing staff are aware of these therapy cap value updates.

Background

The Balanced Budget Act of 1997, P.L. 105-33, Section 4541(c) applies, per beneficiary, annual financial limitations on expenses considered incurred for outpatient therapy services under Medicare Part B, commonly referred to as “therapy caps.” The therapy caps are updated each year based on the Medicare Economic Index. Section 5107 of the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 required an exceptions process to the therapy caps for reasonable and medically necessary services. The exceptions process for the therapy caps has been continuously extended several times through subsequent legislation. Most recently, Section 202 of the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA) extended the therapy caps exceptions process through December 31, 2017.

Webinar: Interdisciplinary Care Teams for Older Adults

December 7, 1:30 PM – 2:30 PM EST

Register for the webinar on Interdisciplinary Care Teams for Older Adults organized by CMS Medicare-Medicaid Coordination Office (MMCO), in collaboration with the Lewin Group and the American Geriatrics Society.

This webinar will identify familiar challenges and best practices for Interdisciplinary Care Teams (ICT) working with older adults. Presenters will also address the importance of clinical, psychosocial, long-term care, behavioral, and community-based support for older adults, particularly Medicare/Medicaid beneficiaries.

Participants will learn how to:

• Identify different members of the ICT and how the team’s approach to care may change over time based on the social and health needs of the older adult.

• Describe effective approaches to create high performing teams including clarifying roles of team members and establishing methods of communication and information sharing with the individual, their family, and core team members.

• Demonstrate basic knowledge of strategies to integrate long-term services and supports into care planning and overall team coordination.

• Demonstrate an understanding of how the ICT interacts with the consumer, and if appropriate, their caregiver.

Continuing Medical Education (CME) and Continuing Education (CE) credit is available for this webinar.

Presenters:

• Gwendolyn Graddy-Dansby, M.D., F.A.C.P., Medical Director, PACE Southeast Michigan

• Sandra White, LMSW, ACSW, PACE Southeast Michigan

• Ellen LaSalvia, MSW, LSW, Buckeye Health Plan

Final Webinar: Emergency Preparedness Requirements - Part IV


AHCA, along with guest speakers, has been hosting an ongoing webinar series event this year on the new emergency preparedness final rule impacting skilled nursing facilities (SNFs), nursing facilities (NFs) and intermediate care facilities for individuals with intellectual disabilities (ICF/IID).

This final rule is not applicable to assisted living (AL) providers. The rule was released on Friday, September 16, 2016, and can be found here

Providers will need to be in compliance by November 15, 2017.

The final webinar of the series for this year, entitled "Emergency Preparedness Requirements - Part IV", will occur on November 21, 2017.

On Tuesday, November 21, from 2 – 3 PM EST, guest speakers Sarah Baker, Programs Manager from Healthcare Ready and Nicolette A. Louissaint, Ph.D. Executive Director of Healthcare Ready and AHCA will host a webinar on the new emergency preparedness final rule.

The webinar will include an overview of Healthcare Ready and resources available to members, an update on this past hurricane season and best practices learned, and a review of components of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' (CMS) emergency preparedness rule.

This is the fourth webinar in the four-part webinar series AHCA will hold this year on the emergency preparedness rule. 

You can register here for the webinar.

Registration Now Open for the 2018 Independent Owner (IO) Leadership Conference

Laissez Le Bon Temps Rouler!
Let the Good Times Roll!


Join your colleagues in New Orleans for inspiring speakers, stimulating discussions, and plenty of networking. You’ll walk away with fresh ideas and up to 8.5 CEUs!

Opening General Session
Glenn Van Ekeren of Vetter Health Services will inspire you with strategies for moving your team forward.

Closing General Session
Jessica Cox, the first armless pilot, embodies the spirit of adaptability and provides valuable insights on how to best approach a challenge. Listen to her journey of learning to fly with her feet.  

Education Sessions on Hot Topics like these:
  • ACO partnerships
  • VBP 
  • QRP measures
  • Payment reform
  • Adapting to the changing market place
       
Get all the details and register today.

Deadline: March 2, 2018 

Sponsors as of November 13, 2017:

Participate in the Assisted Living Salary & Benefits Study

Rosanne Zabka, HCS Director of Reports

Hospital & Healthcare Compensation Service (HCS) is conducting its annual Assisted Living/Personal Care Salary & Benefits Study, and they need your help. Assisted living providers are asked to complete the study’s questionnaire by December 4th. The study is published by HCS and supported by NCAL and LeadingAge.

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 2018.

Questionnaires can be downloaded at: https://www.hhcsinc.com/survey-questionnaires.html

You can notify HCS you intend to submit your data, or request an extension past December 4th by emailing Rich Cioffe, rcioffe@hhcsinc.com.

The report covers management salaries, nonmanagement wages, and fringe benefits. Last year’s report contained data from over 1,300 ALF/Personal Care facilities nationwide.

Salaries and bonus payments will be reported according to unit size, profit type, revenue size, CBSA, state, region, and nationally. Both for-profit and not-for-profit data will be separately covered. Information on 18 fringe benefits will be reported according to region. Percent increases planned for 2018 will be reported for management, nonmanagement, RNs, LPNs, and CNAs.

HCS publishes ten annual compensation studies. Nationally known, the ALF/PCF Report is recognized as the standard for reliable, comprehensive, and affordable compensation data for ALFs/PCFs.

Bolster Your RNs’ Geriatric Nursing Skills to Reduce Rehospitalizations! Take Advantage of the Gero Nurse Prep Sale

Dave Kyllo

AHCA/NCAL Gero Nurse Prep is on sale now through November 30 and each RN registrant can save $100 off his/her Gero Nurse Prep by entering promo code VBPRN17 (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 American Nurses Credentialing Center {ANCC} exam).

Hospitals are keeping a close watch on their Medicare beneficiaries to ensure that they are not readmitted within 30 days of discharge, including those hospitalized Medicare beneficiaries who live in skilled nursing and assisted living settings. Well trained RNs can play a critical role in reducing re-hospitalizations.

Hospitals face having Medicare reimbursements withheld if their re-hospitalization rates are too high. In October 2018, SNFs also will face financial consequences if their re-hospitalization rates are too high. Managing rehospitalization rates has become a key part of a successful long term care business strategy in caring for the elderly in an increasingly competitive marketplace.

Research conducted by AHCA/NCAL in 2016 found that the rehospitalization rates in nursing facilities with at least one RN certified in gerontological nursing by the ANCC consistently have run at least two percentage points lower than the national average since 2011. AHCA/NCAL believes that assisted living settings may experience similar results by increasing their RNs’ gerontological expertise.

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 ANCC 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. They also increase their knowledge of gerontological nursing by 20 percent on pre- and post-test scores.

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.

Outshine your competition by demonstrating your ability to reduce re-hospitalizations. Take advantage of the sale on Gero Nurse Prep and remember to enter promo code VBPRN17 at check out.

The Number of Open LTC Jobs Dips in November

Dave Kyllo

There are 18,688 open jobs posted by direct employers in the nursing care facility (including SNFs), assisted living, and continuing care retirement community (CCRC) sectors this month according to the latest CEB TalentNeuron statistics. That is more than 1,400 fewer posted LTC positions than October.

The CEB TalentNeuron statistics also show an estimated 2,101,000 potential candidates in the nation’s workforce whose skills likely match the qualifications being sought by long term care employers. Figures show that 1,769 direct employers are competing for candidates this month – nearly the same number as last month. The average number of days a job was posted this month decreased by two days to 35 days.

Finding qualified employees is one of the greatest challenges facing long term care providers. The AHCA/NCAL Long Term Care Career Center is designed to help members be competitive in attracting qualified candidates to fill their health care job vacancies. The LTC Career Center is also fully integrated with Google’s new job search feature “Google for Jobs” creating even greater exposure for job postings.

Rates for posting job vacancies are affordable and give prospective employers far greater exposure than local ads and job boards by connecting to a network of more than 330 national and state health care organizations and societies. Employers are also able to post vacancies as they occur and search resumes on the network.

There are two great ways for skilled nursing center and assisted living employers to save on their job postings on the Long Term Care Career Center. First-time job posters can receive 25% off their first posting by entering promo code New25off when they check out. Employers with multiple positions to fill can purchase three job postings at one time and receive a 20% discount on the three postings by entering promo code Bundle20 at check out.

Employers who utilize the site also receive outstanding exposure through rotating job listings on AHCA’s home page – the web site where long term care professionals go for news and information. In addition, employers who post vacancies through the center receive bonus rotating listings on the Long Term Care Career Center home page.

Of course, the LTC Career Center is always free for job seekers and the LTC Career Center features many of the best positions the long term care profession has to offer. Job seekers are using the site with more than 93,000 searchable resumes on the National Healthcare Career Network this month. Job postings on the AHCA/NCAL Long Term Care Career Center network are averaging more than 1,400 views in November.

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

Private Activity Bonds and Medical Expense Deduction Provisions in U.S. Congressional Tax Proposals



On November 2, 2017, the Republican leadership of the U.S. House of Representatives introduced the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. This bill proposes to eliminate the use of private activity and advance refunding bonds beginning on Jan. 1, 2018. 

The elimination of private activity debt instruments would significantly and adversely impact the ability for the majority of our not-for-profit members to fund new construction, infrastructure improvements, acquisitions and other capital expenditures for their operations, including skilled nursing, assisted living centers and many affordable housing projects. For-profit providers would also be impacted.

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act also includes repealing the medical expense deduction. AHCA/NCAL has recently joined an AARP-led coalition to preserve the medical expense deduction. AHCA/NCAL opposes both the elimination of private activity bonds and the repealing of the medical expense deduction.

On November 9, the Senate Republicans released their own tax reform plan. This plan would preserve private activity bonds, but advance refundings would still be terminated after this year. 

The Senate proposal also preserves the existing medical expense deduction and enhances the standard deduction for the blind and elderly. As work in both chambers continues on the tax reform proposals, AHCA/NCAL will keep its members posted of any relevant updates.       

Monday, November 13, 2017

Help Promote U.S. Antibiotic Awareness Week: November 13 - 17

Holly Harmon


This week (November 13-19) is U.S. Antibiotic Awareness Week!

U.S. Antibiotic Awareness Week (formerly known “Get Smart About Antibiotics Week”) is an annual observance held to raise awareness about antibiotic resistance and the importance of prescribing and using antibiotics appropriately.


According to the CDC, at least two million people become infected with bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics annually in the U.S. More than 23,000 people die from these infections, and many others die from other conditions that have been made more complex as a result of antibiotic-resistant infections.


This week's observance is a critical part of the Center for Disease Control & Prevention's (CDC) efforts to improve antibiotic stewardship in communities, in healthcare facilities, and on the farm in collaboration with state-based programs, nonprofit partners, and for-profit partners. 


You can join CDC and their partners in efforts to combat the spread of antibiotic resistance and improve patient safety by using the following resources:


  • A stakeholder toolkit, which includes key messaging, a press release template, social media posts, and more, can be accessed here.
  • A list of events and activities ideas to be used to to promote this year's observance can be found here.
  • Additional educational materials related to antibiotic prescribing, use, and resistance are available for multiple audiences here.


Members can also sign up for AHCA’s Infection Preventionist Specialized Training (IPCO) course, an online self-study education program for healthcare professionals who seek to serve as Infection Preventionists to prepare to meet the antibiotic stewardship requirements taking effect this month.

The program addresses clinical and organizational systems, as well as processes and cultural aspects of infection prevention and control fundamental to effectively leading and administering successful infection prevention and control programs and antibiotic stewardship programs. 

Members can find out more about the course and register here.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Long Term Care Profession Opposes Elimination of Private Activity Bonds in Tax Proposal

AHCA Press Office

Washington, D.C. — The American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted​ Living (AHCA/NCAL) President and CEO Mark Parkinson today issued the following statement regarding the tax proposal under consideration in the House of Representatives:

“AHCA/NCAL opposes the elimination of private activity bonds, a provision included in H.R. 1, “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.” Private activity bonds are a critical form of tax-exempt financing which long term care providers utilize to fund new construction, make infrastructure improvements, develop affordable housing and other projects. Should this provision become law, it would severely threaten the ability of providers to make these investments in the future, and would seriously damage operations for long term care providers who deliver critical care for more than one million seniors and people with disabilities.”

CHIP Reauthorization Passes House

Drew Thies

A bill reauthorizing funding for children’s health insurance passed the House late last week. Community Health And Medical Professionals Improve Our Nation (CHAMPION) Act passed Friday by a vote of 242-174, largely along party lines.

The bill reauthorizes funding for the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which lapsed at the end of October, for an additional five years, but pays for it by cutting provisions of the 2010 health care law—an offset that most Democrats opposed. "Democrats strongly support reauthorization of these programs -- but we reject the way Republicans are paying for them," said Frank Pallone (D-N.J.), ranking member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

If Democratic opposition holds, the legislation will stall in the Senate, where a 60-vote super majority is needed to avoid a filibuster. Alternative funding mechanisms may need to be put in place if Republican leadership is to find a bipartisan solution to restore funding to the popular program.

The impasse comes at a time where lawmakers are primarily focused on the high-profile effort to reform the tax code. Republican leadership have said they want to accomplish the task before the end of the year.


AHCA will continue to monitor the CHIP debate and any changes that are made to the offsets as the bill moves through the Senate.

Only 20 Days and Counting…New Antibiotic Stewardship Requirements Take Effect November 28

Dave Kyllo

The American Health Care Association (AHCA) is ready to help members meet the new Infection Preventionist specialized training requirement finalized by CMS in the Reform of Requirements of Participation for Long Term Care Facilities. AHCA’s Infection Preventionist Specialized Training (IPCO) course provides education for healthcare professionals who seek to serve as Infection Preventionists and prepares individuals to meet the antibiotic stewardship requirements taking effect in November.

Even though nursing facilities are not required to have a designated “Infection Preventionist” until November 2019, there are three compelling reasons why it is critical to register for this training now:

As of November 28, 2016 nursing facilities are being held accountable to more expansive infection prevention and control federal regulations.
Beginning November 28, 2017, the federal requirements for nursing facilities expand further and require that every nursing facility develop and implement an antibiotic stewardship program. This is a new requirement that should be conducted with oversight from specially trained healthcare professionals. 
 
Surveyors nationwide were recently trained to survey for the expanded infection prevention & control and antibiotic stewardship requirements. The survey process will be significantly different beginning on November 28.

The course is an online, self-study program with 23 hours of training that meets the educational requirements outlined by CMS. It includes online lectures, case studies and interactive components taught by subject matter experts who have real life experience working in long term/post-acute care.

AHCA’s course addresses both clinical and organizational systems, processes and cultural aspects of infection prevention and control that are fundamental to effectively leading and administering successful infection prevention and control programs and antibiotic stewardship programs. Upon successful completion of this program, participants will receive certificates including 23 ANCC contact hours. 

The training course registration fee is $450 for AHCA/NCAL members and $650 for non-members. There are no refunds and no transfers. Payment and registration must be made online in ahcancalED. The IPCO course can be accessed here or at: https://educate.ahcancal.org/p/ipco.

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

To access ahcancalED and the IPCO course, members will need to login with their AHCA/NCAL usernames and passwords. For assistance obtaining AHCA/NCAL usernames and passwords, please e-mail update@ahca.org with your name and facility contact information.

New Emergency Preparedness Rules Take Effect Next Week! Are you Ready?

Dave Kyllo

Nursing facilities (SNFs/NFs) and Intermediate Care Facilities for Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities (ICF/IID) face new sweeping regulations affecting their emergency preparedness planning beginning on November 15.   These requirements include:

  • Annual Risk Assessment and Emergency Planning
  • Communication Plan
  • Emergency Preparedness Policies and Procedures (must be reviewed annually)
  • Training and Testing

AHCA/NCAL is pleased to offer a new tool titled “Emergency Preparedness Program (EPP) Customizable Plan for Long Term Care” that allows facilities to customize compliant plans, including:

  • Emergency Preparedness Program Management Plan
  • Communications Plan
  • Procedures applicable to all hazard responses
  • Incident Command System 
  • Full building Evacuation Plan
  • Emergency Lists
  • Continuity of Operations and Recovery Plan.

AHCA/NCAL members receive exclusive “member only” pricing of $395 for the EPP customizable plan – a savings of $100 off the regular price.   The EPP plan from Russell Phillips & Associates includes:

  • An electronic flash drive – Easily add your facility’s information to customize your plan.
  • Hard copy of the documents – Provides hard copy worksheet-style documents of your plan. 
  • Binder with tabs prepared for insertion of customized plan – An invaluable resource that organizes your plan documents.  
  • A crosswalk between the new CMS regulations and the customizable EPP plan manual – This indispensable tool provides a clear-cut detailed comparison that shows how your facility’s EPP plan meets CMS requirements and demonstrates precise compliance to survey agencies and AHJs.  
  • Access to an information-packed 75-minute “how to” webinar conducted by Russell Phillips & Associates.

Be ready for the November 15 deadline and your next survey.  Order the customizable EPP plan today through the AHCA/NCAL Bookstore and save $100 off the regular $495 price. 

Smarter is Smarter: Gero Nurse Prep Grads Know Gerontological Nursing

Dave Kyllo

AHCA/NCAL Gero Nurse Prep is designed to prepare RNs to take the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) board certification exam in gerontological nursing.  It does that.  RNs who complete the Gero Nurse Prep program have a passing rate of 96 percent on the ANCC exam on their first try and they also receive 30 CEUs. 

But AHCA/NCAL Gero Nurse Prep does much more.  It increases experienced RNs’ knowledge of gerontological nursing practice.  Gero Nurse Prep students see a whopping 24 percent average increase on their pre- and post-test scores. 

The statistics prove it.  Gero Nurse Prep grads know more about gerontological nursing.    Taking the AHCA/NCAL Gero Nurse Prep course does obligate a RN to sit for the ANCC Board certification exam.  Nurses who only want to increase their knowledge of gerontological nursing practice can simply take the AHCA/NCAL Gero Nurse Prep course and earn 30 CEUs.
  
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.  That means having an ANCC Board certified RN can easily give providers an edge in the marketplace. 

AHCA/NCAL Gero Nurse Prep is on sale now through November 30 and each RN registrant can save $100 on his/her Gero Nurse Prep registration by entering promo code VBPRN17 (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. 

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 increase gerontological nursing knowledge and help RNs pass the ANCC exam. 

Strengthen your position in the marketplace through smarter RNs. Take advantage of the sale on Gero Nurse Prep and remember to enter promo code VBPRN17 at check out.   

Updated List of Excluded Individuals and Entities (LEIE) Database File

Lilly Hummel

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 October, 2017.  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.