Tuesday, October 23, 2018

November is National Family Caregivers Month

Dana Halvorson

November is National Family Caregivers Month, and Caregiver Action Network sets the theme for it each year.  The 2018 theme is “Supercharge Your Caregiving”.  More background on National Family Caregivers Month can be found here.  According to AARP, about 40 million family caregivers provide about $470 billion annually in unpaid care to their loved ones.  About 3.7 million family caregivers provide care to a child under age 18 because of a medical, behavioral, or other condition or disability, and 6.5 million family caregivers assist both adults and children.

OSHA Launches Program Targeting High Injury and Illness Rates

Lilly Hummel

The Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced it is initiating the Site-Specific Targeting 2016 (SST-16) Program using injury and illness information electronically submitted by employers for calendar year 2016. The program is not targeted specifically at long term care providers, but they are included in the review along with many other industries. OSHA plans to inspect workplaces with high injury rates reported and employers that OSHA believes should have submitted a Form 300A (Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illness) in 2016, but did not.

The 2017 reporting deadline was July 1, 2018, however, employers may still provide this information to the database.

Long term care providers with more than 20 employees are currently required to keep OSHA injury and illness records, and electronically provide this information via Form 300A each year. OSHA’s website has more information about tracking and reporting workplace injuries and illnesses.

Friday, October 19, 2018

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 September 2018. This new file replaces 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.

Hurricane Relief Efforts - Supplies/Donations Needed

Erin Prendergast

Hurricane Michael left a path of damage and destruction along the Florida Panhandle. Thousands of people were left without power and homes and buildings were destroyed, including caregivers working in our member nursing centers and assisted living facilities. Florida Health Care Association (FHCA) is asking for help with their relief efforts as they work to support the caregivers and residents in need.

FHCA has established a Hurricane Relief Fund through the Florida Health Care Education and Development Foundation, their 501c(3) tax exempt organization. The fund will benefit employees of FHCA member centers who were affected by Hurricane Michael. The goal is to assist as many of them as possible through donations. All donations received will go directly to those in need.  Click here to contribute online.

For more information about donating supplies or making a financial contribution, visit the FHCA Hurricane Michael Relief web page.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Perception vs. Reality: The Quality Award Program for Assisted Living Providers



Date and Time: 10/19 at 2pm ET 

In a competitive and ever-changing market, assisted living providers must identify ways to stay a step ahead and stand out to potential customers and referral sources. The AHCA/NCAL National Quality Award Program provides the external validation necessary to set yourself apart from the competition. Historically, the Quality Award Program has been perceived as being only for skilled nursing centers. However, more assisted living communities than ever before are applying for and receiving the National Quality Award. In 2018, 114 assisted living centers received the Bronze award, 47 centers received the Silver award and two (the first AL communities) received the Gold award. On this webinar, we will break down the commonly cited barriers preventing assisted living communities from participating in the program and talk about the many free resources available to help assisted living providers succeed. We will also hear from the two 2018 Gold recipient assisted living organizations about their journey, including how they did it and how it benefited their organization. Join us to learn how the Quality Award program can help you succeed!

Learning Objectives:

1. Participants will be able to describe the perceived barriers for assisted living participation in the program and how to overcome them.

2. Participants will be able to summarize the free resources available to help assisted living providers succeed in the program.

3. Participants will discover how participation in the program would benefit their organization.

Speakers:

· Alana Wolfe, National Director of Performance Excellence, Sunrise Senior Living

· Nicolette Merino, Avamere Health Services

· Kimberly Dilg, Executive Director, Sunrise of Gurnee

· Marcia Jackson, RN Administrator, Maine Veterans Home – Machias

Who Should View This Event:

Leadership (i.e. administrator, DON, etc.) at assisted living communities that are members of AHCA/NCAL.

Legislation Introduced to Address CNA Training Program Lock-Outs

Drew Thies

A new bill introduced in the House of Representatives seeks to alleviate the shortage of health care workers by allowing more skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) to train certified nursing assistants (CNAs). The legislation, introduced by Rep. Sean Duffy (R.-Wis.), amends rigid requirements that force SNFs to shut down their CNA training programs for infractions unrelated to care delivery.

The “Nursing Home Workforce Quality Act” modifies the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1987 (OBRA) to give CMS greater flexibility in reinstating providers’ training programs. Currently, any infraction that results in a fine of more than $10,000 results in an automatic, two-year suspension of CNA training programs.

The legislation also states that once a deficiency has been remedied, training programs can resume.

SNFs provide CNA training programs for free to combat health care workforce shortages. These are often the only free services of this nature.

CNAs provide for the daily care needs of the 1.3 million frail and elderly Americans receiving SNF care on any given day. Nearly 20% of SNFs nationwide have developed a nurse aide training program.

Take the Online AHCA/NCAL Course Designed to Help You Avoid the Payment Penalties under the CMS Value Based Purchasing Program for SNF Medicare Part A Payments

Dave Kyllo

AHCA/NCAL has launched a new education program designed to help skilled nursing facilities succeed under the new CMS value based purchasing payment program (SNF VBP) that took effect on Monday, October 1, 2018.  The course (Understanding SNF VBP in Detail) contains six modules that provide an in-depth description of each feature of the CMS SNF VBP program along with helpful tools, documents, and primary source references to the program. 

This new training program is intended for nursing home administrators, directors of nursing and any other staff including corporate staff who are responsible for payment models and rehospitalization reduction efforts.   No specific license is required take the course and no contact hours or CEUs are awarded for completing the curriculum.
The training program is specifically designed to help long term care professionals:
  • Understand how CMS calculates the measures, risk adjustment, the facility score and payment adjustment.
  • Use and access the CMS SNF VBP feedback reports and the SNF Performance Score Report.
  • Apply the incentive payment multiplier.
  • Use the SNF VBP prediction calculator to estimate the financial impact different SNFRM rates have on your Part A revenue.
  • Adopt best practices to help either avoid a payment penalty or receive an increase in your Medicare Part A payments.
Possessing a detailed understanding of SNF VBP is critical to operational success.  Starting October 1, 2018, all SNFs will receive a payment adjustment to their SNF Medicare Part A claims ranging from a 2 percent cut to potentially a 1.5 percent increase based on rehospitalization rates in prior years. CMS will recalculate the payment adjustment annually every fiscal year (FY) thereafter for the next ten years.
 
The registration fee for AHCA’s SNF VBP online course is $25 for AHCA/NCAL members and $65 for nonmembers.

The individual who wants to take the SNF VBP course must login to ahcancalED and register for the course under their individual login.  To access ahcancalED, members will need to login with their AHCA/NCAL usernames and passwords.  For assistance obtaining AHCA/NCAL usernames and passwords, please e-mail educate@ahca.org with your name and facility contact information. 

Payment is made in ahcancalED upon registration via credit card or check. If paying by check, an order is not complete until the check is received and approved by AHCA staff. You will not have access to the training until approval.  Registrations for SNF VBP cannot be done by another person or under another person’s ahcancalED login.

Know how to succeed under SNF VBP.  Follow this link to register today for Understanding SNF VBP in Detail or go to https://educate.ahcancal.org/p/snfvbp

$250 Gives Your Job Openings True National Exposure to Health Care Professionals Actively Looking for Their Next Career Moves

Dave Kyllo

Serious health care candidates look for jobs on the national job board network built for health care professionals.  Lead them to your job vacancy through the AHCA/NCAL Long Term Care Career Center.  The LTC Career Center is designed to help members be competitive in attracting qualified candidates to fill their health care positions. 

Rates for posting job vacancies have never been more affordable.  Now through October 31, open positions can be posted on the AHCA/NCAL Long Term Care Career Center for $250 per 30-day posting when employers use promo code FALL100. That’s $100 off the normal low AHCA/NCAL rate of $350 and is the lowest sale price of 2018!

The LTC Career Center gives unprecedented targeted exposure because it connects with the Health Care Career Network by providing visibility on the network’s nearly 300 national and state health care organizations and societies.  The Center is also fully integrated with Google’s job search feature “Google for Jobs” creating greater exposure for job postings.

The $250 for a 30-day posting gives even more value because employers who utilize the AHCA/NCAL Long Term Care Career Center receive free bonus 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 AHCA/NCAL LTC Career Center get extra value through free 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. 

Make the smart, low cost employee recruitment choice.  Check out the LTC Career Center today and don’t forget to use promo code FALL100 to save $100 on your job postings.  Employers may use the code an unlimited number of times between now and October 31 on any number of postings.   
      
Call Robin at 866-964-2765 x2736 for more information about posting job vacancies on the LTC Career Center and other discounted job listing packages.   

Want to Lower Your Rehospitalization Rate? Start with Smarter RNs!

Dave Kyllo

AHCA/NCAL Gero Nurse Prep does much more than just prepare RNs to take the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) board certification exam in gerontological nursing
It increases experienced RNs’ knowledge of gerontological nursing practice.  Gero Nurse Prep students see a dramatic 24 percent average increase on their pre- and post-test scores. 
Those specially trained RNs can net tangible results.  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.
 
Lower rehospitalization rates are key to success under the new CMS Value-Based Purchasing (VBP) program.  CMS is tracking skilled nursing rehospitalization rates for the SNF VBP program and is using those rates to determine Medicare Part A payment levels as of October 1, 2018.

AHCA/NCAL Gero Nurse Prep also thoroughly prepares interested RNs to take the 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. 

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. 

Taking the AHCA/NCAL Gero Nurse Prep course does not obligate a RN to sit for the ANCC Board certification exam.  Registered nurses who are interested in increasing their knowledge of gerontological nursing practice can simply complete the AHCA/NCAL Gero Nurse Prep course receive 30 nursing contact hours, and increase their skills and knowledge of geriatric nursing.
 
Gero Nurse Prep is on sale!  Save $100 off the regular registration fee now through November 30 by using promo code REALRN18 (all caps).  AHCA/NCAL Gero Nurse Prep provides tremendous value at this AHCA/NCAL member $590 sale price. That’s less than $20 per contact hour for outstanding nursing education that makes a measurable difference on so many fronts.  For RNs interested in pursuing Board certification through ANCC, there is an additional and separate cost of $395. 

Watch this video to learn more about AHCA/NCAL Gero Nurse Prep. AHCA/NCAL is also hosting a free webinar on November 8 at 2 p.m. EST that will provide a more in depth look at how experienced assisted living and nursing facility RNs can improve outcomes with focused additional gerontological nurse training.  Follow this link to register for the Improving Clinical Outcomes Through Competent Gerontological Nurses. If you need assistance accessing the webinar, please contact educate@ahca.org.

Sign Up Today for This Free Webinar on November 8: Improving Clinical Outcomes Through Competent Gerontological Nurses

Dave Kyllo

Competent RNs are vital to success with the new CMS Skilled Nursing Facility Value Based Purchasing (VBP) program impacting SNF Part A Medicare reimbursements starting October 1, 2018.  It’s also key for nursing facilities to be able to demonstrate that their nursing staff are competent to care for geriatric patients as part of the CMS survey process for nursing facilities. 
Dr. Heidi Keeler, Director, Continuing Nursing Education at the University of Nebraska Medical Center’s College of Nursing, and AHCA/NCAL staff will be presenting a webinar November 8 at 2 p.m. EST discussing the positive impact competent gerontological nurses have on key outcomes, including:
  • Lower re-hospitalization rates
  • Reduced use of off-label anti-psychotics
  • Less use of restraints
  • Higher Overall CMS 5-Star Rating
  • Higher Survey 5-Star Rating
  • Higher Quality-5-Star Rating
The webinar will outline how the AHCA/NCAL Gero Nurse Prep online course thoroughly prepares interested RNs to take the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s (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. 

Taking the AHCA/NCAL Gero Nurse Prep course does not obligate a RN to sit for the ANCC Board certification exam.  Registered nurses who are interested in increasing their knowledge of gerontological nursing practice can simply complete the AHCA/NCAL Gero Nurse Prep course receive 30 nursing contact hours, and increase their skills and knowledge of geriatric nursing.  Gero Nurse Prep students (practicing RNs with at least two years of long term care nursing experience) see a dramatic 24 percent average increase on their pre- and post- course test scores. 

Follow this link to register for the Improving Clinical Outcomes Through Competent Gerontological Nurses free webinar on Thursday, November 8 at 2 p.m. EST.  The webinar will be recorded and archived on ahcancalED for those who cannot attend on November 8.  If you need assistance accessing the webinar, please contact educate@ahca.org.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Post-Convention Survey

Jon-Patrick Ewing

Thank you to those who attended the AHCA/NCAL 69th Annual Convention & Expo. Please watch your email for our post-convention survey. Your participation is critical if we are to ensure that the convention and its educational programs continue to meet your needs. As a special thank you for your time, you will be entered for a chance to win $200! Please provide your feedback no later than November 2.

A separate survey will be sent out to exhibitors.

Thank you and mark your calendars for next year’s event in Orlando, FL, October 13-16, 2019.

WPS – The CMS MAC for IA, IN, KS, MI, MO, and NE Announces Part B Therapy Audit Plan for Code 97110

Dan Ciolek

On October 15, WPS Government Health Administrators, the Medicare Administrative Contractor (MAC) for the J5 (Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska) and J8 (Indiana and Michigan) jurisdictions announced a new Targeted Probe and Educate (TPE) Topic:  Outpatient Therapy (CPT Code 97110).  The audit will include a review of medical necessity, correct billing of timed codes and all other therapy codes provided under same plan of care.  Several documentation and other therapy coverage resources are provided on this page.  

Per the WPS website, “CMS has authorized WPS Government Health Administrators (GHA) to conduct the Targeted Probe and Educate (TPE) review process. This is a required process for providers identified by Medical Review. The TPE review process incudes three rounds of prepayment or post-payment probe review with education. If high denial rates continue after three rounds or review, WPS GHA will refer the provider and results to CMS. CMS will determine any additional action, which may include but is not limited to extrapolation, referral to the Unified Program Integrity Contractor (UPIC), and/or referral to the Recovery Audit Contractor (RAC).”
  
Pre WPS, Providers/Suppliers can expect:
  • WPS GHA will notify providers/suppliers in writing of their selection for the topic or CPT code under review, the data reasons for selection and the review process.
  • Provider/supplier reviews will consist of up to three rounds of prepayment or post-payment TPE claim review. WPS GHA will select the topics for review and the providers to be reviewed based on our current data analysis procedures outlines in CMS Internet-Only Manual (IOM), Publication 100-08, Medicare Program Integrity Manual, Chapter 2.
  • WPS GHA may refer providers/suppliers to RAC or UPIC if providers do not respond to ADR requests and submit the requested documentation to WPS GHA.
  • If needed, education will be offered to the provider/supplier throughout the TPE process. Additionally, at the end of each round of claim review WPS GHA will notify the provider/supplier in writing of the results and offer education on identified errors. Providers/suppliers with high error rates will receive on offer for one-on-one education on the specific errors that were identified. The goal for providers/suppliers is to learn from the education and improve the results in the next “round” to a low error category.
  • Providers/suppliers will move to the next round of claim review if the error rate remains at a high level. Providers/suppliers with a continued high denial rate after three rounds of Targeted Probe and Educate reviews will be referred to CMS for possible for further action.
  • Once a provider/supplier has reached an acceptable error rate the provider will be removed from further review. WPS GHA will continue to routinely monitor data on that service/provider.
  • Note: Discontinuation of the review(s) may occur at any time if appropriate improvement is achieved during the review process.
Additional resources related to the TPE audit program including videos, infographics, and a Q&A document are located on the CMS Targeted Probe and Educate webpage.

Time is Running Out! Submit Your Intent to Apply Today!

Erin Prendergast

The deadline to submit your Intent to Apply for the 2019 AHCA/NCAL National Quality Award application cycle is just one month away!

We hope you will take the first step to continue your quality journey this coming year by submitting an Intent to Apply (ITA). The deadline to submit an ITA payment is November 8, 2018 at 8pm EST.

While not mandatory, applicants who submit the Intent to Apply will save money on their overall application fee and receive extra educational resources. No paperwork or application is needed to submit the Intent to Apply.
Reminders:
  • All applicants should read the appropriate application packet in full before submitting an Intent to Apply payment. Application packets for all award levels can be found on the Quality Award website.
  • If your center last received a Bronze or Silver Quality Award in 2016 and has not submitted an application meeting minimum requirements since then, this is your last year to submit an application at the next level. If you do not submit an application this year (meeting minimum requirements), you will be considered a past recipient and have to resubmit at the Bronze level if your center chooses to participate again in the program. For more information, please review the recertification policy here.  
  
The National Quality Award website has numerous resources for you to continue your Quality Award journey. Please make sure to visit our website at ahcancal.org/qualityaward to learn about the latest updates to the program.

If you have any questions, please contact us at qualityaward@ahca.org.
 

Monday, October 15, 2018

Interested in the 2019 National Quality Award Examiner Program? Join us for a Webinar!

Meghan Karstetter

Join us on Tuesday, October 23 at 12:00 PM EDT for a webinar to review the Quality Award Examiner program. During this one hour webinar, we will review the timeline and process for the 2019 Quality Award review cycle, discuss the different Examiner roles, and answer any questions viewers may have. This webinar will be for both interested examiners and returning examiners. Click here to register today!

Secure Your Umbrella License with the Motion Picture Licensing Corporation

Lilly Hummel

AHCA/NCAL and all other leading industry associations have secured member savings on the Umbrella License®, the annual public performance license offered by Motion Picture Licensing Corporation (MPLC). The Umbrella License is the most comprehensive copyright license available for senior living and health care communities and provides annual copyright coverage for over 1,000 motion picture studios and producers. The license includes public performance rights for both major Hollywood studios and independent producers. Once licensed, an unlimited number of movies may be shown. Movies can be secured from any legal source whether rented, purchased, or borrowed via DVD, stream, or download.

If your community currently shows movies or would like to start, please be sure to secure a license to avoid copyright infringement penalties.

As AHCA/NCAL has advised in the past, the 2016 Agreement establishes guidelines for the licensing of motion picture exhibitions in all senior living and health care communities regardless of the level of care provided or the license status of the community. The Agreement states that:
  • All communities, regardless of their type or license status, must obtain licensure for exhibitions of Videos transmitted over a closed circuit television system or in-house channel.
  • All communities, regardless of their type or license status, must obtain licensure for exhibitions of Videos in common areas such as a theater, lounge, or community room. This includes:
    • Affordable housing facilities and units.
    • Assisted living, nursing and rehabilitation facilities and units.
    • Independent living facilities and units.
    • Adult day services centers.
  • Assisted living, nursing and rehabilitation units receive a reduced rate on the license. Minimum fees are waived for campuses that are strictly nursing, assisted living, or rehabilitation.
  • Affordable housing units receive a reduced rate on the license.
  • Members of AHCA/NCAL receive a 10% discount on standard Umbrella License fees.
Please contact MPLC directly at (800) 462-8855 or online at seniorliving.mplc.org for assistance with pricing or to ask any questions about the Umbrella License.

If your senior living community operates assisted living, nursing or rehabilitation units, and held an Umbrella License prior to October 2016, if you have not done so already AHCA/NCAL strongly encourages you to provide MPLC with updated unit counts for the aforementioned units prior to your renewal date. Longstanding licensees are eligible for reduced pricing for any assisted living, nursing, or rehabilitation units/rooms added during this renewal year only. Thereafter, the license requirement remains, but units will be priced at a higher fee.

Please feel free to contact AHCA/NCAL at (202) 842-4444 with any questions about motion picture licensing requirements for long term care providers.
 

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Webinar - Perception vs. Reality: The Quality Award Program for Assisted Living Providers

October 19, 2018
2:00 - 3:00 PM Eastern

In this competitive and ever-changing market, assisted living providers must identify ways to stay a step ahead and stand out to potential customers and referral sources. The AHCA/NCAL National Quality Award Program provides the external validation necessary to set yourself apart from the competition. 

Historically, the Quality Award Program has been perceived as being only for skilled nursing centers. However, more assisted living communities than ever before are applying for and receiving the National Quality Award. In 2018, 114 assisted living centers received the Bronze award, 47 centers received the Silver award and two (the first AL communities) received the Gold award. 

On this webinar, we will break down the commonly cited barriers preventing assisted living communities from participating in the program and talk about the many free resources available to help assisted living providers succeed. We will also hear from the two 2018 Gold recipient assisted living organizations about their journey, including how they did it and how it benefited their organization. 

Join us to learn how the Quality Award program can help you succeed! This webinar will be held on October 19 from 2:00-3:00 pm Eastern. You can register for the webinar and find the recording on ahcancalED.

Monday, October 8, 2018

CMS Rewrites Process for Developing and Updating MAC LCD Policies

Dan Ciolek

In a MLN Matters article released recently, CMS announced significant changes to the process for Medicare Administrative Contractors (MACs) to develop and revise Local Coverage Determination (LCD) policies.  Specifically, Chapter 13 of the Medicare Program Integrity Manual has been rewritten in its entirety with an implementation date of January 8, 2019.  SNF providers are encouraged to review the MLN Matters article for more details.  

Be Seen Like Never Before: Our $250 Sale Price Gets Your Job Posting Connected Nationwide to Nearly 300 Health Care Associations and Professional Societies

Dave Kyllo
Serious health care candidates look for jobs on the national job board network built for health care professionals.  Lead them to your job vacancy through the AHCA/NCAL Long Term Care Career Center.  The LTC Career Center is designed to help members be competitive in attracting qualified candidates to fill their health care positions. 

Rates for posting job vacancies have never been more affordable.  Now through October 31, open positions can be posted on the AHCA/NCAL Long Term Care Career Center for $250 per 30-day posting when employers use promo code FALL100. That’s $100 off the normal low AHCA/NCAL rate of $350 and is the lowest sale price of 2018!

The LTC Career Center gives unprecedented targeted exposure because it connects with the Health Care Career Network by providing visibility on the network’s nearly 300 national and state health care organizations and societies.  The Center is also fully integrated with Google’s job search feature “Google for Jobs” creating greater exposure for job postings.

The $250 for a 30-day posting gives even more value because employers who utilize the AHCA/NCAL Long Term Care Career Center receive free bonus 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 AHCA/NCAL LTC Career Center get extra value through free 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. 

Make the smart, low cost employee recruitment choice.  Check out the LTC Career Center today and don’t forget to use promo code FALL100 to save $100 on your job postings.  Employers may use the code an unlimited number of times between now and October 31 on any number of postings.     
     
Call Robin at 866-964-2765 x2736 for more information about posting job vacancies on the LTC Career Center and other discounted job listing packages.   

Delivering the Distinct Feeling of Fall with Mood Media

Dave Kyllo

Whether it’s Nat King Cole’s “Autumn Leaves” or The Kinks’ “Autumn Almanac,” members can keep music at the core of fall celebrations through music offered by Mood Media at AHCA/NCAL “Member Only” discounted rates.

Mood Media offers great musical variety for events or casual common area listening via the internet or streaming, and offers customized commercial free music options that allow facilities to tailor musical selections to meet changing resident preferences.  Mood customers enjoy freedom from music licensing worries on Mood Media’s huge collection of music selections played on Mood Media’s portable devices.
Use Mood Media’s music to: 
  • Improve the dining experience and set the mood in dining areas as residents gather for meals;
  • Provide a variety of background music in common areas;
  • Create a positive environment for activities; and 
  • Provide musical entertainment for social gatherings and happy hours.

AHCA/NCAL members receive exclusive discounted rates on Mood services and equipment with three-year agreements.  The core music package starts at $29.99 per month or about $1 per day with a three-year agreement.    

For more information about Mood Media’s services, call 800-345-5000 or go to   http://partner.moodmedia.com/ahcancal/ (password: moodpartner).

Calling All RNs! Become a Geriatric Nurse Specialist with Gero Nurse Prep

Dave Kyllo

AHCA/NCAL Gero Nurse Prep does much more than just prepare RNs to take the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) board certification exam in gerontological nursing. It increases experienced RNs’ knowledge of gerontological nursing practice.  Gero Nurse Prep students see a whopping 24 percent increase between their pre- and post-course test scores. 

Emily Sample, the MDS Coordinator at Sumner Place in Lincoln, Nebraska agrees.  “The Gerontological Nurse Certification program provided me with the opportunity to grow as a nurse practicing in this area of nursing,” she said.  “It has advanced my knowledge in various areas of the aging process which has helped enhance my critical thinking and problem-solving skills.”
    
The statistics prove it.  Gero Nurse Prep grads know more about gerontological nursing.    Taking the AHCA/NCAL Gero Nurse Prep course does not obligate a RN to sit for the ANCC Board certification exam.  Registered nurses who are interested in increasing their knowledge of gerontological nursing practice can simply complete the AHCA/NCAL Gero Nurse Prep course earn 30 CEUs, and increase their skills and knowledge of geriatric nursing. 

“I feel this program helped me become more of a ‘specialist’ in geriatric care/nursing,” Sample said.  “The course itself was easy to navigate and I felt it challenged what I already knew about geriatric care forcing me to think more in depth.”

There is also statistical support that facilities with at least one RN with ANCC Board Certification in gerontological nursing have significantly better outcomes in key areas on which nursing facility performance is judged.  AHCA/NCAL research shows these facilities have lower re-hospitalization rates, lower usage of off-label anti-psychotics and are twice as likely to receive a 5-Star CMS rating. 
 
AHCA/NCAL Gero Nurse Prep is also designed to thoroughly prepare RNs to take the 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.  Sample believes it also makes RNs better nurse leaders. 

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 by having better nurse leaders who are specialists in geriatric care.

Gero Nurse Prep is on sale!  Save $100 off the regular registration fee now through November 30 by using promo code REALRN18 (all caps).  AHCA/NCAL Gero Nurse Prep provides tremendous value at this AHCA/NCAL member $590 sale price.   That’s less than $20 per contact hour for outstanding nursing education that makes a measurable difference on so many fronts.  For RNs interested in pursuing Board certification through ANCC, there is an additional and separate cost of $395. 

 “I feel what I have learned from the course has helped me become more confident in my practice and decision making as well as a better leader and advocate for this population,” Samples stated.

Watch this video to learn more about the AHCA/NCAL Gero Nurse Prep program that Samples credits with her increased nursing knowledge and leadership skills.

New Online Training Program Teaches How Value Based Purchasing Impacts SNF Medicare Part A Payments

Dave Kyllo

AHCA has launched a new education program designed to help skilled nursing facilities succeed under the new CMS value based purchasing payment program (SNF VBP) that took effect on Monday, October 1, 2018.  The course (Understanding SNF VBP in Detail) contains six modules that provide an in-depth description of each feature of the CMS SNF VBP program along with helpful tools, documents, and primary source references to the program. 

This new training program is intended for nursing home administrators, directors of nursing and any other staff including corporate staff who are responsible for payment models and rehospitalization reduction efforts.   No specific license is required take the course and no contact hours or CEUs are awarded for completing the curriculum.
The training program is specifically designed to help long term care professionals:
  • Understand how CMS calculates the measures, risk adjustment, the facility score and payment adjustment.
  • Use and access the CMS SNF VBP feedback reports and the SNF Performance Score Report.
  • Apply the incentive payment multiplier.
  • Use the SNF VBP prediction calculator to estimate the financial impact different SNFRM rates have on your Part A revenue.
  • Adopt best practices to help either avoid a payment penalty or receive an increase in your Medicare Part A payments.
Possessing a detailed understanding of SNF VBP is critical to operational success.  Starting October 1, 2018, all SNFs will receive a payment adjustment to their SNF Medicare Part A claims ranging from a 2 percent cut to potentially a 1.5 percent increase based on rehospitalization rates in prior years. CMS will recalculate the payment adjustment annually every fiscal year (FY) thereafter for the next ten years.
 
The registration fee for AHCA’s SNF VBP online course is $25 for AHCA/NCAL members and $65 for nonmembers.

The individual who wants to take the SNF VBP course must login to ahcancalED and register for the course under their individual login.  To access ahcancalED, members will need to login with their AHCA/NCAL usernames and passwords.  For assistance obtaining AHCA/NCAL usernames and passwords, please e-mail educate@ahca.org with your name and facility contact information. 

Payment is made in ahcancalED upon registration via credit card or check. If paying by check, an order is not complete until the check is received and approved by AHCA staff. You will not have access to the training until approval.  Registrations for SNF VBP cannot be done by another person or under another person’s ahcancalED login.

Know how to succeed under SNF VBP.  Follow this link to register today for Understanding SNF VBP in Detail or go to https://educate.ahcancal.org/p/snfvbp

Only 5 Sale Days Left on AHCA/NCAL’s Highly Rated Infection Prevention and Control Online Training!

Dave Kyllo
  
The most frequently cited F-Tag in standard nursing facility health inspection surveys under the new survey process is F880 – Infection Prevention & Control.  Since November 2017 when the new survey process began, more than one-third of surveys conducted across the nation have included a F880 Infection Prevention & Control citation. 

AHCA’s Infection Preventionist Specialized Training (IPCO) program is specially designed to prepare individuals to effectively implement and manage an Infection Prevention & Control program in skilled nursing centers. It addresses both clinical and organizational systems, processes and cultural aspects of infection prevention and control which are fundamental to effectively leading and administering a center’s Infection Prevention & Control program. 

Registrants can save $50 off the normal registration fee on this highly acclaimed training course when they use promo code CONV18 when registering through October 15.  This rare special offer means the final registration fee is only $400 for AHCA/NCAL members and $600 for non-members.  There are no refunds and no transfers.  Payment and registration must be made online in ahcancalED

AHCA’s 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.  The AHCA program gets rave reviews with 96 percent of health care professionals who have completed the course recommending IPCO to their colleagues. 

The 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. 

While CMS has announced plans to offer a free infection prevention training course some time in Spring 2019, AHCA/NCAL recommends investing in staff training now rather than waiting at least another year to train staff on the requirements that already are in effect.  Despite the recent CMS training announcement, facilities will continue to be surveyed on all the new infection prevention and control requirements and the antibiotic stewardship requirements – the same requirements leading to the most commonly cited F-Tag since November 2017 under Phase I and Phase II of the CMS Requirements of Participation and the implementation of the new survey process.

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. 

Avoid the F880 tag.   Prepare your center and staff now for success in infection prevention and control under the new survey process. The IPCO course can be accessed here or at: https://educate.ahcancal.org/p/ipco.   Don’t forget to use promo code CONV18 when registering and save $50 on your registration through October 15, 2018.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Take Control of Your SNF Value Based Purchasing Destiny by Understanding How SNF VBP Works

Dave Kyllo

AHCA has launched a new education program designed to help skilled nursing facilities succeed under the new CMS value based purchasing payment program (SNF VBP) that took effect on Monday, October 1, 2018. 

The course (Understanding SNF VBP in Detail) contains six modules that provide an in-depth description of each feature of the CMS SNF VBP program along with helpful tools, documents, and primary source references to the program.  The modules include demonstrations on how to access and interpret CMS feedback reports, like the SNF VBP Performance Score Report containing your facility incentive payment multiplier information.  Also included with the program is AHCA's SNF VBP prediction tool that allows a facility to estimate the financial impact different rehospitalization rates will have on their revenue.

This new training program is intended for nursing home administrators, directors of nursing and any other staff including corporate staff who are responsible for payment models and rehospitalization reduction efforts.   No specific license is required take the course and no contact hours or CEUs are awarded for completing the curriculum.
The training program is specifically designed to help long term care professionals:
  • Understand how CMS calculates the measures, risk adjustment, the facility score and payment adjustment.
  • Use and access the CMS SNF VBP feedback reports and the SNF Performance Score Report.
  • Apply the incentive payment multiplier.
  • Use the SNF VBP prediction calculator to estimate the financial impact different SNFRM rates have on your Part A revenue.
  • Adopt best practices to help either avoid a payment penalty or receive an increase in your Medicare Part A payments.

Possessing a detailed understanding of SNF VBP is critical to operational success.  Starting October 1, 2018, all SNFs will receive a payment adjustment to their SNF Medicare Part A claims ranging from a 2 percent cut to potentially a 1.5 percent increase based on rehospitalization rates in prior years. CMS will recalculate the payment adjustment annually every fiscal year (FY) thereafter for the next ten years.

Registration fee for AHCA’s SNF VBP online course is $25 for AHCA/NCAL members and $65 for nonmembers.

The individual who wants to take the SNF VBP course must login to ahcancalED and register for the course under their individual login. To access ahcancalED, members will need to login with their AHCA/NCAL usernames and passwords.  For assistance obtaining AHCA/NCAL usernames and passwords, please e-mail educate@ahca.org with your name and facility contact information. 

Payment is made in ahcancalED upon registration via credit card or check. If paying by check, an order is not complete until the check is received and approved by AHCA staff. You will not have access to the training until approval.  Registrations for SNF VBP cannot be done by another person or under another person’s ahcancalED login.

Know how to succeed under SNF VBP.  Follow this link to register today for Understanding SNF VBP in Detail or go to https://educate.ahcancal.org/p/snfvbp

AHCA/NCAL’s Highly Rated Infection Prevention and Control Training is Going On Sale October 7 for One Week Only!

Dave Kyllo

The most frequently cited F-Tag in standard nursing facility health inspection surveys under the new survey process is F880 – Infection Prevention & Control.  Since November 2017 when the new survey process began, more than one-third of surveys conducted across the nation have included a F880 Infection Prevention & Control citation. 

AHCA’s Infection Preventionist Specialized Training (IPCO) program is specially designed to prepare individuals to effectively implement and manage an Infection Prevention & Control program in skilled nursing centers. It addresses both clinical and organizational systems, processes and cultural aspects of infection prevention and control which are fundamental to effectively leading and administering a center’s Infection Prevention & Control program. 

Registrants can save $50 off the normal registration fee on this highly acclaimed training course when they use promo code CONV18 when registering from October 7 through October 15.  This rare special offer means the final registration fee is only $400 for AHCA/NCAL members and $600 for non-members.  There are no refunds and no transfers.  Payment and registration must be made online in ahcancalED

AHCA’s 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.  The AHCA program gets rave reviews with 96 percent of health care professionals who have completed the course recommending IPCO to their colleagues. 

The 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. 

While CMS has announced plans to offer a free infection prevention training course some time in Spring 2019, AHCA/NCAL recommends investing in staff training now rather than waiting at least another year to train staff on the requirements that already are in effect.  Despite the recent CMS training announcement, facilities will continue to be surveyed on all the new infection prevention and control requirements and the antibiotic stewardship requirements – the same requirements leading to the most commonly cited F-Tag since November 2017 under Phase I and Phase II of the CMS Requirements of Participation and the implementation of the new survey process.

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.

Avoid the F880 tag.   Prepare your center and staff now for success in infection prevention and control under the new survey process. The IPCO course can be accessed here or at: https://educate.ahcancal.org/p/ipco.   Don’t forget to use promo code CONV18 when registering and save $50 on your registration from October 7-15, 2018. 

Gero Nurse Prep: A Real World Solution for Your RN’s Real World and Its On Sale!

Dave Kyllo

AHCA/NCAL Gero Nurse Prep does much more than just prepare RNs to take the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) board certification exam in gerontological nursing. It increases experienced RNs’ knowledge of gerontological nursing practice.  Gero Nurse Prep students see a dramatic 24 percent average increase on their pre- and post-test scores. 

Those specially trained RNs can net tangible results.  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.  

Lower rehospitalization rates are key to success under the new CMS Value-Based Purchasing (VBP) program.  CMS is tracking skilled nursing rehospitalization rates for the SNF VBP program and is using those rates to determine Medicare Part A payment levels as of October 1, 2018.

AHCA/NCAL Gero Nurse Prep also thoroughly prepares interested RNs to take the 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. 

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. 

Taking the AHCA/NCAL Gero Nurse Prep course does not obligate a RN to sit for the ANCC Board certification exam.  Registered nurses who are interested in increasing their knowledge of gerontological nursing practice can simply complete the AHCA/NCAL Gero Nurse Prep course receive 30 nursing contact hours, and increase their skills and knowledge of geriatric nursing.
 
Gero Nurse Prep is on sale!  Save $100 off the regular registration fee now through November 30 by using promo code REALRN18 (all caps).  AHCA/NCAL Gero Nurse Prep provides tremendous value at this AHCA/NCAL member $590 sale price.   That’s less than $20 per contact hour for outstanding nursing education that makes a measurable difference on so many fronts.  For RNs interested in pursuing Board certification through ANCC, there is an additional and separate cost of $395. 

Watch this video to learn more about AHCA/NCAL Gero Nurse Prep.   If you’re attending the AHCA/NCAL annual convention next week in San Diego, stop by Booth #1724 in the Expo Hall.  Dr. Heidi Keeler will be on hand to explain how Gero Nurse Prep can help you succeed with VBP, increase your CMS 5-Star rating, and reduce restraint use and off-label use of anti-psychotics. 

Discover Your Exclusive AHCA/NCAL Member Savings Opportunities Next Monday and Tuesday in the AHCA/NCAL Convention Expo Hall!

Dave Kyllo

AHCA/NCAL members receive special “member only” savings from select premier partners in AHCA/NCAL’s Preferred Provider Program.  Learn more about these exclusive savings programs in the AHCA/NCAL Convention Expo Hall in San Diego next Monday and Tuesday by visiting these booths:  

HealthCap®  Booth #1215
HealthCap is the premier AHCA/NCAL endorsed insurance program providing liability insurance to the senior care sector!  

HealthCap clients have both lower claims frequency and lower claims serverity than other major liability insurance carriers– two powerful reasons why AHCA/NCAL members rave about HealthCap.  Another plus – AHCA/NCAL members receive a 10% discount on their HealthCap premiums.  Starting this year, HealthCap also offers Cyber Liability Insurance through their carrier partners.  Visit the HealthCap team to learn more.


AHCA/NCAL Gero Nurse Prep  Booth #1724
A Real World Competency Solution for Your RN’s Real World!

Gero Nurse Prep prepares RNs for the ANCC Board Certification exam in gerontological nursing and increases geriatric nurse competency by 24% based on pre- and post-course test scores.  Visit with Dr. Heidi Keeler to learn how Gero Nurse Prep can help strengthen your clinical performance and increase reimbursements.


AHCA/NCAL Insurance Solutions/Compass Total Benefit Solutions    Booth #1722
Discover the New Affordable Health Plan Designed to Help AHCA/NCAL Members Recruit and Retain Staff!

With premiums under $162 a month per employee, this new Compass plan delivers the health benefits employees want with no deductibles and low co-pays.  Employer contributions can range from 0 to 100% and there is no underwriting!  Stop by and ask the Insurance Solutions team how this plan can cut employee benefit costs and make your facility a more attractive and lucrative place to work.  


Cleary Energy  Booth #1324

Stop being overcharged on your utility bills with Cleary Energy!

Most (75%) of LTC facilities are being overcharged on their utilities.  Cleary Energy has recouped on average 4% to 8% savings on utilities for long term care facility customers through its exclusive utility audit program. If no refund, savings or credits are received, AHCA/NCAL member facilities owe nothing to Cleary Energy for conducting the utility audit and you’ll know you’re not overpaying.  Drop by to meet Dennis Cleary and learn how easy it is to start saving on your utility bills. 


CARES® Online Dementia Training   Booth #641
CARES® is the only online dementia care training recognized by CMS! 
CARES® delivers affordable, high quality, video-based online training for staff at all levels to meet state and federal training requirements. CARES is also an approved curriculum that qualifies users to take the Alzheimer’s Association essentiALZ® certification exam. CARES® is recommended by AHCA/NCAL to help reduce the off-label use of antipsychotics.


American College of Health Care Administrators Booth #2242
Be more than licensed.  Take Your Career to the Next Level with ACHCA!

The American College of Health Care Administrators (ACHCA) is the catalyst for excellence in post-acute and aging services leadership. Distinguish yourself as a Certified Assisted Living Administrator (CALA) or a Certified Nurse Home Administrator (CNHA) through ACHCA.  Visit the ACHCA booth to learn more about how to achieve a higher level of professional recognition of your skills and knowledge by being credentialed through ACHCA.  

AHCA/NCAL Supports HEADs UP Act

Dana Halvorson

AHCA/NCAL has added its name in support of the Healthcare Extension and Accessibility for Developmentally disabled and Underserved Population Act (HEADs UP Act) of 2018 (H.R. 6611), which was introduced by Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA-6) and Rep. Greg Harper (R-MS-3).  This bipartisan legislation would designate people with intellectual and developmental disability (ID/DD) as a Medically Underserved Population (MUP).  Many feel this designation is needed as people with ID/DD experience poorer health outcomes, shortened life expectancies, and lack access to even the most basic forms of care when compared to the non-disabled population. A designation as a MUP would help to close these gaps and achieve better health outcomes for the entire ID/DD population.

Despite the large and growing size of the population with ID/DD, there are few primary care providers and even fewer specialists who are trained to treat the ID/DD population. The MUP designation would open up over 25 government programs within the Health Resources & Services Administration and other federal agencies for the ID/DD population. These programs include, among other things, incentives for physicians to treat this population in the form of higher Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) reimbursement rates for physician services delivered in Health Professional Shortage Areas, a designation closely related to MUP.  More information on the bill can be found here.

OMHA Published Revised Chapter in its Case Processing Manual

Lilly Hummel

Within the Department of Health and Human Services, the Office of Medicare Hearings and Appeals (OMHA) has published a revised chapter of the OMHA Case Processing Manual (OCPM): Chapter 14, Scheduling and Noticing for Prehearing Conferences and Hearings. This manual standardizes the day-to-day procedures for carrying out adjudicative functions, in accordance with applicable statutes, regulations, and OMHA directives, and gives OMHA staff direction for processing appeals at the OMHA level of adjudication. As part of an ongoing effort to make the manual more user friendly and reflect recent regulatory changes, OMHA is in the process of drafting new OCPM chapters and revising existing chapters under a new format.

New and revised OCPM chapters can be accessed here. Chapters that were published before May 10, 2018, can be accessed here

On-Site Registration: AHCA/NCAL Convention & Expo

Jon-Patrick Ewing

If you haven’t registered, but would still like to attend the AHCA/NCAL 69th Annual Convention & Expo, on-site registration is available. Please join us!

Registration opens at 6:45 AM, PT on Sunday, October 7. You can register on-site to attend the full convention or you can register for a specific day. Visit our website for more information about the Convention & Expo and our registration packages.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Progress: The Quality Initiative

Kiran Sreenivas

This week, AHCA announced that skilled nursing center members achieved a greater percent reduction than non-members in the use of antipsychotic drugs from 2011 to 2018, with the AHCA member percent reduction at 37.2 percent and non-members at 34.4 percent.

According to data from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), 23.6 percent of residents in member centers received an antipsychotic medication in the fourth quarter of 2011 compared with 14.8 percent of residents in the first quarter of 2018.

In March 2018, AHCA announced new three-year goals that continue to focus on safely reducing off-label antipsychotics as well as reducing hospitalizations, improving customer satisfaction, and improving functional outcomes.  These goals align with CMS programs, such as Five-Star and Value-Based Purchasing.

While it still has been less than a year into the 2018-2021 Initiative, trends for short-stay rehospitalization, measured by PointRight Pro30, and long-stay antipsychotics continue to improve based on the latest available data. More than 30 percent of members have achieved the short- or long-stay goal in hospitalizations, and more than 50 percent of members have achieved the short- or long-stay goals for antipsychotics.

For more information about the AHCA Quality Initiative, visit the website here.

AHCA Quality Initiative 2018-2021 Goals

AHCA Quality Initiative Alignment with CMS Programs

Source: Nursing Home Compare and LTC Trend Tracker


Source: LTC Trend Tracker

Source: Nursing Home Compare

Monday, October 1, 2018

Third Quarter SNF/AL Top-Line Publication Now Available

Lonnita Myles

The third quarter Top-Line Publication for skilled nursing centers is now available. This valuable resource is a brief report that is customized with the latest Nursing Home Compare data and:
  • Reflects the newest rules for your Staff Rating using PBJ;
  • Shows the current components of your Five-Star quality rating;
  • And displays your current Quality Award status
Additionally, assisted living centers can now access the AL Top-Line publication in LTC Trend Tracker, which gives AL’s the ability to view important assisted living data, their progress on the NCAL Quality Initiative, their status and eligibility to apply for the AHCA/NCAL Quality Awards Program, and more.

The next quarterly publication will be available in early November.

AL LTC Trend Tracker 101 course available now in ahcancalED
Learn how to use LTC Trend Tracker as one of your tools for Quality Improvement through the AL LTC Trend Tracker 101 course. In these videos, you will learn how to utilize and modify the assisted living dashboard, customize the assisted living quality measures report, and upload assisted living data. Login here to access the course today.
  
Understanding SNF VBP in Detail: Become an Expert on CMS SNF VBP Program
CMS SNF Value Based Purchasing (VBP) 10-year Program started on October 1. The SNF VBP program will adjust SNF's part A payment rates based on their performance on the rehospitalization rate.

AHCA has developed an in-depth, online training that covers how CMS calculates the following:
  1. Rehospitalization rates, including how they are risk adjusted;
  2. SNF’s performance score;
  3. Resulting incentive payment multiplier, which is used to adjust a SNF’s Part A payments.
The course is divided into six distinct modules that you can review at your own pace and in the order most helpful to you. The course also provides demonstrations on how to access and interpret your CMS feedback reports, which contain your SNF rehospitalization rates, your incentive payment multiplier information, and AHCA's SNF VBP prediction tool that allows a SNF to estimate the financial impact different rehospitalization rates will have on your revenue.

Lastly, tips on how to more effectively lower your rehospitalization rates to avoid a payment cut are provided. Registration fee: $25 members, $65 nonmembers. Payment and registration is completed by individual participant in ahcancalED. Have Questions about accessing ahcancalED? Email educate@ahca.org.

Your Quality Initiative Progress & LTC Trend Tracker
Have you heard the news? Your Quality Initiative Progress is a LTC Trend Tracker publication that includes metrics and graphics outlining your individual center's progress through the four domains of the AHCA Quality Initiative. This report will be updated semi-annually, and also includes links to member resources that help with specific goals. Login to LTC Trend Tracker to view yours today!

Need help with accessing LTC Trend Tracker?  Please email help@ltcttendtracker.com.

Ideas to Strengthen Your Recruitment Program

Lindsay Schwartz

Do you need ideas to strengthen your recruitment program? In this brief audio recording, Holly Jarek, DSc, NHA, shares several ideas and strategies for recruiting talent. These ideas include recruiting students in a program that offers incentives for returning the following year and allows for current staff to also benefit. Dr. Jarek discusses opportunities to hire outside your organization’s geographic area and important considerations like housing and transportation. Check out other workforce offerings on ahcancalED.

PBJ Reporting Deadline and Convention Session

Urvi Patel

November 14 is the reporting deadline for the Payroll-Based Journal (PBJ) data from July 1- September 30, 2018. For the most recent updates on PBJ and best practices on reporting data, be sure to join us for the PBJ session at Convention. The session is scheduled for Monday, October 8 from 3:15-4:45 p.m.

If you have any questions, please contact the AHCA PBJ team here. For more information about the session, click here.

National Quality Award Program Update

Erin Prendergast 

The 2019 National Quality Award cycle is underway, and we want you to submit an Intent to Apply (ITA). Submitting an ITA payment allows members to save on their overall application fee and does not require any additional paperwork. To submit your ITA, you can access the Quality Award Portal here.  We encourage applicants to review the applicant packets to learn more about the criteria and other requirements before submitting by the ITA deadline of November 8, 2018.

Application packets for each award level and new resources, including the Gold criteria series, a sample document on reporting measures and comparisons for assisted living applicants, and an updated Silver application and feedback report sample, are now available.  The Quality Award program has also launched a comprehensive, integrated, and web-enabled Consolidated Award Program Solution (CAPS) to support its operations for the 2019 application cycle. This new and improved portal includes:
  • Intent to Apply and Application Payment
  • Application submission: Online application form or uploaded PDF file
  • Examiner application
  • Examiner access to review process materials
  • Pilot testing online review of Bronze applications and selected Silver applications
A great way to learn more about the AHCA/NCAL National Quality Award program is to serve as an Examiner. Each year, AHCA/NCAL selects Senior and Master Examiners to review applications at the Silver and Gold levels, respectively. Recruitment is not open for Bronze Examiners. Click here to learn more about becoming a Quality Award Examiner.

Examiner Application Closes:
November 29, 2018

Examiner Selection Notification Date:
December 13, 2018

And finally, this year more than 700 member centers and communities were recognized with a Quality Award, including 531 Bronze, 170 Silver and an elite group of four at the Gold level. The 2018 Gold – Excellence in Quality Award recipients are:
  • Comer Health and Rehabilitation; Comer, Georgia.
  • Holly Heights Nursing Center; Denver, Colorado
  • Maine Veterans Home – Machias; Machias, Maine
  • Sunrise of Gurnee; Gurnee, Illinois 
Maine Veterans Home – Machias and Sunrise of Gurnee are the first freestanding assisted living communities to attain the Gold – Excellence in Quality Award in the history of the program.

For any questions regarding the National Quality Award, please email qualityaward@ahca.org.  

Quality Sessions at AHCA/NCAL Convention: Get Inspired – Keep Focused – Improve Care


Every year, AHCA/NCAL hears from our members that the education sessions provided during the annual AHCA/NCAL Convention & Expo are relevant, high-quality and important to improving the systems, processes, and ultimately the care they provide.

This year’s Convention is filled with education sessions that will inspire and provide you with additional tools to achieve high-quality care. To some extent, all of the education sessions will impact the Quality Initiative goals. For example, data sessions will help you understand how to use data to track and trend your performance in the various measures.  Below are some of the education sessions that particularly relate to the Quality Initiative goals. For more information about each session, click here.

Goals for Nursing Centers: 
  •  Reduce Hospitalizations; Improve Customer Satisfaction; Improve Functional Outcomes; and Reduce Antipsychotics
Goals for Assisted Living Communities:  
  • Reduce Hospitalizations; Improve Customer Satisfaction; Staff Stability; and Reduce Antipsychotics.  

Rehabilitation Therapy Sessions on Sunday, October 7 (Note: this is a separately ticketed event)
These sessions focus on functional outcomes and interdisciplinary approaches to providing care as well as reducing antipsychotics; the topics are linked to customer satisfaction.

NCAL Day on Sunday, October 7 (Note:  this is a separately ticketed event)
Sessions related to Quality Initiative goals:
  • From Theory to Practice: How to Improve Job Satisfaction and Retention with the 7/30/60 Day Engagement Model  (Staff Stability, Customer Satisfaction)
  • Improv and Dementia: Learning to Say “Yes and” When Interacting with Residents with Dementia (Staff Stability, Customer Satisfaction, Reducing Antipsychotics)
  • Alzheimer's Association Dementia Care Practice Recommendations (Customer Satisfaction, Reduce Antipsychotics)
  • The Gold Award: How To, Tools and Resources (Overall Quality Initiative)
  • Silver Quality Award: How To, Tools, and Resources (Overall Quality Initiative)
  • Employee Focus Groups for Staffing Stability: Theory-to-Practice (Staff Stability)
  • Behold the Power of Data (Overall Quality Initiative)
  • Award Alchemy: Changing Silver to Gold (Overall Quality Initiative)
  • How’d They Do That?  A Dataholic’s Guide to Great Performance (Overall Quality Initiative)
  • Turning Compliance into Connections - Technology as a Key to Person-Centered Approaches for Dementia Care (Reduce Antipsychotics, Customer Satisfaction)
  • Changing the Perception of Dementia Through Holding Onto Principles of Encouragement - H.O.P.E. (Reduce Antipsychotics, Customer Satisfaction, Staff Stability)
  • Preventing Hospital Re-Admissions (Hospitalizations, Customer Satisfaction)
  • Addressing Distress Through Meaningful Activities for Residents with Dementia (Reduce Antipsychotics, Customer Satisfaction)
  • Antibiotic Drug Usage and Clinical Indications to Understand Antibiotic Prescribing Practices (Hospitalizations, Customer Satisfaction)
  • How Telemedicine Enhances Treating In Place in Skilled and Assisted Living Facilities (Hospitalizations, Customer Satisfaction)
  • Living the Mission: Making Every Stressful Day a Blessing (Staff Stability)
  • Achieving Quality and Financial Outcomes by Improving Medication Safety in Transitions of Care (Hospitalizations)
  • The Silver Criteria: Matching Game (Overall Quality Initiative)
  • Implementing Strategies for Leadership Stability (Staff Stability)
  • Transformative Care: Understanding the Biological Basis of Trauma/Toxic Stress and How to Work with Patients Who Have Developmental Trauma in relation to Addiction and the Opioid Crisis. Part 1 of 2 (Staff Stability, Customer Satisfaction)
  • Preventing and Responding to Bullying Between Older Adults (Customer Satisfaction, Staff Stability)
  • Customer Satisfaction: Strive for the Best (Customer Satisfaction)
  • The Dementia-Focused Survey: Quality Initiative Goals and Regulations (Reduce Antipsychotics, Customer Satisfaction)
  • Leading in the 21st Century: What Does it Take? (Staff Stability)
  • The Effective Milieu for Individuals with Complex Behavioral Presentations (Staff Stability,
  • Customer Satisfaction)
  • The Reputation Age: How Consumers are Reshaping Long Term Care in their Own Images
  • Mind the Brain! Support for Residents with Disruptions of Thinking, Feeling or Behaving (Reduce Antipsychotics, Customer Satisfaction)
  • Cycles of Learning (Overall Quality Initiative)
  • Toward Better Behavior: Yours, Mine, and Everyone Else’s (Staff Stability, Customer Satisfaction)
  • Understanding Why People Complain and How to Create a Positive Outcome (Customer Satisfaction)
  • Approaches for Behavior Management (Staff Stability, Customer Satisfaction)
  • People Get Ready - the BOOMERS are Coming! (Customer Satisfaction)
  • CMS Changes to Nursing Home Compare (NHC) (Overall Quality Initiative)
  • So, What is Trauma-Informed Care Anyway? (Overall Quality Initiative, Customer Satisfaction, Staff Stability)

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

AHCA/NCAL Future Leaders Meet Lawmakers

Drew Thies

The 2018 AHCA/NCAL Future Leaders are in Washington, D.C. this week to receive leadership training and meet with Members of Congress to discuss issues facing post-acute and long term care providers.

The Future Leader class is the largest ever, with individuals from 40 states attending and participating.

The Future Leaders will be in Washington, D.C. for three days this week to receive leadership training on the “7 Habits of Highly Effective People.” On Thursday afternoon, they will go to Capitol Hill to educate Members of Congress on quality improvement in post-acute and long term care and speak to the numerous regulations with which providers must comply.

LTC Employees Are Contacting Us Asking “How Can I Enroll in This Health Plan?”

Dave Kyllo

AHCA/NCAL Insurance Solutions offers a new minimum essential coverage health plan to members.  The new plan was developed by Compass Total Benefit Solutions and offers two new affordable options for providing many of the health insurance benefits that are important to long term care employees with no deductibles and low co-pays.

The plan was built to help AHCA/NCAL members recruit and retain frontline staff who cannot afford major medical health plans and to save members money on their health benefit expenditures.  Employees from member facilities have heard about the new plan and are asking us how they can enroll to get access to the health benefits they want.  The answer:  through their AHCA/NCAL member employer.

The new plans feature affordable premiums and co-pays for valued and commonly used services, including prescriptions, physician visits and free unlimited 24/7 access to TELADOC.  The Compass 1 plan costs about $1 per hour for a full-time employee or $161 per month.  The Compass 2 plan costs $182 per month.  The Compass 2 plan costs a little more because it includes higher indemnity payments for hospitalizations. Here’s the rate schedule:


  Monthly Premiums
Compass 1
Compass 2
EE
$161.29
$181.75
EE & Spouse
$264.70
$306.39
EE & Children
$244.19
$279.94
Family
$356.70
$417.20

The plan was designed with long term care staff members in mind to help those employees who cannot afford Affordable Care Act (ACA) compliant plan premiums or the high deductibles associated with many ACA plans.  Even though traditional ACA compliant plans are classified as “affordable,” they are not an option that many long term care employees can afford.

Employers decide the level of contribution for plan expenses for coverage for employees, their spouses, their children or family coverage.  Employers can pay all the costs, share the costs with employees, or have employees pay for coverage completely as a voluntary option.  Or LTC employers can increase their employer contribution over time based on an employee’s length of service.  Both plans are flexible. In addition, employers have options such as covering all the costs for employee coverage but having the employee pay the premiums for their spouse and/or children.

While this new AHCA/NCAL Insurance Solutions plan satisfies all 71 benefits required under the Affordable Care Act, it is not a fully compliant ACA plan.  It is considered a minimum essential coverage (MEC) plan and should be offered alongside a traditional ACA compliant plan to avoid any ACA employer penalties.

There is no additional underwriting for the Compass plan and no mandatory wait periods for new employees to join the Compass MEC plans.  Any wait periods are determined by the employer.  There is a minimum of five employees that must be enrolled to offer the plan to employees.

The ability to offer a health insurance plan at little to no cost to employees allows AHCA/NCAL members to market their facilities as superior employers in comparison to competing employers.   This plan is much less expensive to an employer compared to a traditional employee health benefit plan and costs less than the expense of an employee who turns over.

Read this Q&A document for more information about Compass plans for AHCA/NCAL members. Versions of the Compass Plan are available in all 50 states. Changes to the Hospital Indemnity benefit vary based on state approvals.

To see what's available in your state, please contact Nick Cianci at 202-898-2841 or Dave Kyllo at 202-898-6312 or email ahcainsurancesolutions@ahca.org.  For those attending the AHCA/NCAL annual convention in San Diego October 7-10, stop by Booth 1722 in the Expo Hall on Monday or Tuesday to learn more about this cost saving plan!