Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Webinar: Suspicious Activity Reports and Their Role in Identifying and Remedying Elder Financial Exploitation

February 7, 2:00 PM – 3:15 PM EST

Register for this webinar which will describe how federal agencies are teaming up to help law enforcement agencies and financial institutions more effectively respond to financial exploitation and how you can join the fight. It will also cover how APS can partner with law enforcement, financial institutions, and community based organizations to enhance a coordinated community response to financial exploitation in ways that lead to the effective delivery of services to victims and prosecutions of perpetrators.

Specifically, the webinar will explain the Memorandum on Financial Institution and Law Enforcement Efforts to Combat Elder Financial Exploitation, issued jointly by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the Department of Treasury, and the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) on August 30, 2017. The memo encourages coordination among law enforcement agencies, financial institutions, and adult protective service agencies and describes how Suspicious Activity Reports can aid law enforcement investigating elder financial exploitation cases.

Webinar speakers include:

• Naomi Karp, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

• Stephanie Whittier Eliason, Administration for Community Living

• Jennifer Hale, Adult Protective Services, Oklahoma

• Tamsen Rea, FinCEN

Independent Owner Leadership Conference - If You Haven't Registered Yet, Now is the Time

Danielle Levitan

"...network with colleagues from around the country and learn what they are doing to thrive in today’s challenging market....enjoy the educational sessions that are geared more towards operators like us..."
—Gerald Hamilton, Owner, Bee Hive Homes; NCAL Board Member

IF YOU HAVEN'T YET REGISTERED,
NOW IS THE TIME

Hotel Deadline Approaching

Located in the heart of the French Quarter on Canal Street, the New Orleans Marriott is the perfect place to explore all that is around you throughout the IO Leadership Conference.

Take advantage of the special AHCA/NCAL group rates by registering and making your hotel reservations. 

Hotel Deadline: Friday, February 9, 2018
  
Reservation requests made after the February 9 hotel deadline will be based on availability at the prevailing rate determined by the hotel. For more information about housing please visit our official housing website.

The 
2018 Independent Owner Leadership Conference is a unique opportunity to come together with your peers, discuss the issues that matter to you, earn CEUs, and walk away with solutions that can immediately improve your centers.

Learn more and register now.

The IO Leadership Conference immediately follows the 2018 Quality Summit and takes place at the same hotel. Save $50 when you register for both.

Register online by March 2, 2018.

********************************************************************************

and see what they can do for you!


CapitalOne, DirectSupply, Evans Senior Investments, Genesis Rehab Services, Guardian Pharmacy Services, HealthCap, AHCA/NCAL Insurance Solutions, Kronos, MatrixCare, MuellerProst, Navigator, Reliant Rehab, Select Rehab, Vivizer Healthcare

Take the On-Line Infection Prevention and Control Course Recommended by Your Long Term Care Colleagues

Dave Kyllo

A whopping 97 percent of health care professionals who have completed the AHCA/NCAL Infection Preventionist Specialized Training (IPCO) course recommend that their colleagues take the course if they are interested in learning more about the infection prevention and control and antibiotic stewardship.  That’s because the AHCA/NCAL course delivers!

The on-line course provides education for healthcare professionals who seek to serve as Infection Preventionists and prepares individuals to meet the antibiotic stewardship requirements that took effect for nursing facilities on November 28, 2017.  The training is also beneficial for assisted living centers because the methods for preventing and controlling infections are universal and apply regardless of setting. 

The Infection Preventionist Specialized Training (IPCO) course provides education for all healthcare professionals who want to lead infection prevention efforts and prepares individuals to play an active role in the antibiotic stewardship efforts.  Antibiotic stewardship is an overarching goal and priority among all health care professionals and is receiving a lot of attention from state and national health care regulators.         

AHCA/NCAL’s course is an online, self-study program with 23 hours of training.  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 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.  Strong and effective infection prevention programs and antibiotic stewardship efforts can set an assisted living center apart from the competition, especially when working with social workers and discharge planners who help seniors with their post-acute decisions

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/NCAL 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.  

Post Your Top Job Openings or View the Top Job Openings on the AHCA /NCAL LTC Career Center

Dave Kyllo

The AHCA/NCAL Long Term Care Career Center helps employers fill their key health care job vacancies.  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 300 national and state health care organizations and societies and more than 96,000 searchable resumes.   

The LTC Career Center features many of the best positions available in the long term care profession and is always free for job seekers.  And, job seekers are using the site!  Job postings on the AHCA/NCAL Long Term Care Career Center’s network, currently average nearly 1,300 views a month. 

As a leading employment information resource, the AHCA/NCAL Long Term Care Career Center  has been fully integrated with Google’s new job search feature “Google for Jobs.”  Google’s feature helps employers deliver success for AHCA/NCAL members, job seekers and other related employers in the long term care industry

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 use the site are also able to post vacancies as they occur and search resumes on the network. 

In addition to receiving unique national exposure on a large health care job board network, employers who utilize the site also receive superior exposure through rotating job listings on AHCA’s home page – the web site where long term care professionals go for news and information.  In addition, employers who post vacancies through the center receive bonus rotating listings on the Long Term Care Career Center  home page.  View this employer resource and see how easy it is to create an account on the AHCA/NCAL Long Term Care Career Center site.


Give the LTC Career Center a try and take advantage of great savings by using either the New25off promo code to save 25% on your first job posting or the Bundle20 promo code to save on a package of three job postings.     

New VA and CMS Partnership on Fraud, Waste and Abuse

Dana Halvorson

On January 23, 2018, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced a partnership to share data, data analytics tools and best practices for identifying and preventing fraud, waste and abuse. According to the CMS press release, “the newest partnership enhances ongoing efforts between the country’s two largest public-private health-care payment organizations to help America’s Veterans by leveraging the gains made by CMS.”  The statement goes on to note that the “VA plans to capitalize on the advancements in analytics CMS has made by concentrating on its use of advanced technology, statistics and data analytics to improve fraud detection and prevention efforts.” You can read the full CMS statement here. The January 24th McKnight’s article on the matter can be found here.  

President Outlines Health Care 2018 Priorities

Drew Thies

President Trump gave his first State of the Union Tuesday night, setting the stage for the primary health care issues the administration wants to address this year. Key priorities included the opioid crisis and rising drug prices, while no reference was made to further changes to the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Trump highlighted the health care component of the tax bill, the repeal of the individual mandate, passed in late 2017, saying, “we repealed the core of disastrous ObamaCare.” 

The president, however, stopped short of asking for further rollback of the signature health care law. In his first address to a joint session of Congress, Trump called for a full “repeal and replace” of the ACA. While the fee for not purchasing health insurance is repealed, other major components of the law remain intact, including the Medicaid expansion, insurance exchanges and consumer protections.

Trump also stated, “one of [his] greatest priorities is to reduce the price of prescription drugs.” He said his administration will be dedicated to “fixing the injustice of high drug prices” but offered little more in terms of what kinds of policy the administration will enact.


The president renewed his focus on the opioid crisis, and said he’s “committed to fighting the drug epidemic and helping get treatment for those in need.” In August, Trump called the opioid epidemic a national emergency, a declaration which freed up $57,000 from the U.S.’s Public Health Emergency Fund.

Friday, January 26, 2018

Make Connections at the 3rd Annual Quality Summit

Jon-Patrick Ewing

Get Connected! Get Informed! Get Ready!

Exciting things await you at this year's 3rd Annual Quality Summit in New Orleans. This intimate, and highly engaging conference brings together hundreds of long term, post-acute, and assisted living providers in a setting dedicated to the enhancement of quality resident care and organizational performance excellence.
 
Get connected with other professionals focused on quality and expand your network. This conference is a great opportunity to hear from the best of the best. Learn how others pushed through challenges to become exceptional. AHCA/NCAL members that have achieved major milestones in reaching various Quality Initiative outcomes will be on hand and recognized for their performance. Making connections and hearing from others is one of the most valuable benefits of the Quality Summit.
 
Get informed with sensational and unique education sessions, general sessions, poster sessions and Provider  LED Talks
 
Get ready and register today! To stay at the host hotel, be sure to make your housing reservation by February 9. You may register for the Quality Summit through March 2.
 
 

Download a copy of this year's Quality Summit invitation. Thank you to our conference sponsors for their support.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Free NCAL In-House Counsel Roundtable at the Long Term Care and the Law Conference

Lilly Hummel

There’s still time to register for 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 FREE round table open to all assisted living in-house counsel; this year the event will focus on emergency preparedness. Email Lilly Hummel at LHummel@ncal.org to attend. The American Health Lawyers Association (AHLA) offers CLE, CPE, NHA, and CCB credits for the conference. Don’t miss this excellent educational opportunity.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

RAISE Family Caregivers Act Signed into Law

Dana Halvorson

Last year, Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) re-introduced the Recognize, Assist, Include, Support, and Engage (RAISE) Family Caregivers Act (S. 1028) in the U.S. Senate. Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Michael Bennet (D-CO) are original co-sponsors. This legislation, which AHCA/NCAL supports, will implement the federal Commission on Long-Term Care’s bipartisan recommendation that Congress require the development of a strategy to support family caregivers. 

The legislation will create an advisory body to bring together representatives from the private and public sectors to advise and make recommendations. The strategy will identify recommended actions that communities, providers, government, and others are taking and may take to recognize and support family caregivers and be updated biennially. 

The U.S. House of Representatives version of this bill is The RAISE Family Caregivers Act - H.R. 3759. Before the holidays, the House passed H.R. 3759 with a minor modification around the bill’s sunset date. On January 8, 2018, the full U.S. Senate passed the bill. President Trump signed the legislation into law on January 22, 2018.

AARP notes that about 40 million family caregivers provide about $470 billion annually in unpaid care to their loved ones. According to the Caregiving in the U.S. 2015 study from the National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP, approximately 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

Submit Your 2018 National Quality Award Application Now! Feb. 1 Deadline Quickly Approaching

2018 AHCA NCAL National Quality Award Applicants:

The deadline to apply for the 2018 AHCA/NCAL National Quality Award Program is just over one week away!

All applications and payments for all three award levels must be submitted through the online portal here by February 1, 2018 at 8 p.m. EST

  • To submit your payment, click the button, "Submit Your Payment Here", on the portal.
  • To submit your application, use the drop-down menu below the header, "Quality Award Application Submission Below", which is beneath the payment button, "Submit Your Payment Here" on the portal. 
Application packets are available on the Bronze, Silver and Gold award web pages.

Below are some additional tips for submitting your application online:

  • SNF applicants will need their six-digit Federal/Medicare Provider Number to submit their application. NCAL applicants can write N/A for this field.
  • Double check that the organization name is exactly the same for both fields. The organization name you submit will be the name printed on your award, if selected to be a recipient. If you have a parent company, please double check if there is specific way your center name should be written.
  • Characters and spaces need to be exactly the same in order for a successful submission. Extra spaces may cause an error message.
  • When your application is submitted successfully, applicants will receive confirmation of submission both on screen and through one automatic email. If the email is not received and is not in a Junk folder, please contact Quality Award staff. 
  • Payments must be made online via credit card. Checks are not accepted. Invoices are also not provided.  

If you have any additional questions, please email qualityaward@ahca.org.

Does Your Emergency Preparedness Program Plan Crosswalk to CMS’ Guidelines?

Dave Kyllo

Nursing facilities (SNFs/NFs) and Intermediate Care Facilities for Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities (ICF/IID) must comply with sweeping regulations affecting their emergency preparedness planning. These requirements took effect November 15, 2017 and include:
  • Annual Risk Assessment and Emergency Planning
  • Communication Plan
  • Emergency Preparedness Policies and Procedures (must be reviewed annually)
  • Training and Testing

AHCA/NCAL offers a 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 confident that you have an emergency preparedness plan that correlates to the new CMS guidelines. Order the customizable EPP plan today through the AHCA/NCAL Bookstore and save $100 off the regular $495 price.   

Gero Nurse Prep: A Powerful Tool for Increasing Geriatric Nurse Competency

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 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. 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.
  
AHCA/NCAL Gero Nurse Prep is also designed to thoroughly 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. 

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 affordable at $690 for 30 CEUs worth of high quality training that gets results. For RNs interested in pursuing Board certification through ANCC, that cost is an additional and separate cost of $395. 

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. 

Increase your facility’s gerontological nursing competency. Check out AHCA/NCAL Gero Nurse Prep today.    

Understanding the Importance of Restorative Nursing


The January issue of Provider magazine contains an informative article about the vital role restorative nursing can play in a skilled nursing center’s performance improvement efforts.  The column, authored by HealthCap’s Angie Szumlinski and Erica Holman, discusses the importance of preventing the diversion of staff resources from restorative nursing efforts due to daily care demands, thereby impacting continuity of care and desired outcomes.  

HealthCap is endorsed by AHCA/NCAL and is the premier program solely dedicated to providing liability insurance to senior care communities. One of the reasons HealthCap gets such great results is its focus on quality care as the foundation of good risk management practices. HealthCap clients have the fewest liability claims in the industry and HealthCap settles claims for half the industry average.  

HealthCap is owned and governed by the senior care providers insured by HealthCap.  AHCA/NCAL members get a bonus advantage by always receiving a 10% discount on their HealthCap premiums. 

HealthCap clients also receive:
  • Risk management services that make a financial difference
  • An annual on-site risk consult
  • Unlimited telephone support
  • Accredited in-service education
For more information about HealthCap, email Stephanie Hale at stephanie.hale@chelsearhone.com or call (877) 855-4227.  

OIG Releases Report on Incident Reporting for Group Home Settings



Last week, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (OIG), Administration for Community Living, and Office for Civil Rights released a January 2018 joint report, "Ensuring Beneficiary Health and Safety in Group Homes Through State Implementation of Comprehensive Compliance Oversight."

The objective of OIG for the report was to determine if group homes complied with federal and state requirements for reporting, recording, and detecting critical incidents in group homes. Work was done in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Maine.

According to the report, “OIG found serious lapses in basic health and safety practices in group homes.” OIG will continue their audit work in this area in additional states.

You can read the findings and conclusions of the full report here.     

AHCA/NCAL Supports Legislation to Waive Three-Day Stay Requirement


Congressman Jim Renacci (R-OH) recently (December 20, 2017) re-introduced the Creating Access to Rehabilitation for Every Senior (CARES) Act of 2017 (H.R. 4701), which eases seniors’ access to care by permitting centers that meet specific quality measures and ratings to waive the three-day inpatient stay currently required by the Medicare program.  

The CARES Act of 2017 eliminates the three-day inpatient stay required for Medicare coverage of Part A skilled nursing care benefits by allowing centers that meet particular criteria to automatically qualify to waive the prior hospitalization requirement. The criteria are based on the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Nursing Home Compare program.

AHCA/NCAL supports eliminating the three-day stay requirement and solving the related issue of observation stays. AHCA/NCAL also continues to advocate for the Improving Access to Medicare Coverage Act of 2017 (S. 568/H.R. 1421) that was introduced on March 8, 2017, by Congressmen Joe Courtney (D-CT) and Glenn “GT” Thompson (R-PA), and Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Susan Collins (R-ME), Bill Nelson (D-FL) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV).

This legislation ensures that time spent under “observation status” in a hospital counts toward satisfying the three-day inpatient hospital requirement for coverage of skilled nursing care services under Medicare.

For more information about observation stays and the three-day stay requirement, please visit the AHCA/NCAL website.

Jan. 31 Webinar: Preliminary BPCI-Advanced Observations and Options


Webinar: Preliminary BPCI-Advanced Observations and Options
January 31, 3-4 p.m. Eastern

Short Description
In January, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released the long-awaited second phase to the Bundled Payments for Care Improvement (BPCI) program.

Called BPCI-Advanced , the effort eliminates the current models, which focus on specific provider types, including Model 3 targeted to post-acute care (PAC) providers.  

BPCI-Advanced establishes a single bundling program with specific provisions aimed at physicians.   
  • Understand CMMI’s Priorities in BPCI-Advanced
  • Learn About Key Elements of the Program
  • Gain Insights on Possible Options for PAC Providers
Speakers: Mike Cheek, AHCA SVP for Reimbursement Policy, Fred Bentley, VP Avalere Health, Nanci Wilson, Plum Health

March 2 Deadline Approaching: Register for the Independent Owner Leadership Conference


NEED SOME FRESH IDEAS AND STRATEGIES FOR YOUR TOUGHEST CHALLENGES THIS YEAR?

Join other Independent Owners from across the country as we gather in New Orleans for the 2018 Independent Owner Leadership Conference following the Quality Summit. 

Education sessions will provide you with focused topics specific to your needs. You'll also have numerous opportunities to discuss the issues that matter to you, and walk away with solutions that you can implement at your own centers.


Review the agenda, check out the speakers, and meet the sponsors at io.ahcancal.org.
 
Don't miss out on the unique opportunities this conference offers.
  • Earn up to 8.75 CEUs
  • Gain an understanding of your center’s market valuation
  • Connect with risk managers to further evaluate your liability insurance options
  • Receive tax/audit advice, reimbursement and cost solutions from an industry expert
  • Learn new and patient focused therapeutic programs assisting SNF and AL communities today 

You'll also enjoy entertaining social events that give you a peak at New Orleans culture while you network with your peers.

Learn more and register now.

The IO Leadership Conference immediately follows the Quality Summit and takes place at the same location, the New Orleans Marriott. Save $50 when you register for both!

Deadline to Register: March 2, 2018

and see what they can do for you!


CapitalOne, DirectSupply, Evans Senior Investments, Genesis Rehab Services, Guardian Pharmacy Services, HealthCap, Kronos, MatrixCare, MuellerProst, Navigator, Reliant Rehab, Select Rehab, Vivizer Healthcare

Creation of New HHS Division on Conscience and Religious Freedom

Lilly Hummel

Last week the Trump Administration announced that within the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Office for Civil Rights (OCR), a new Conscience and Religious Freedom Division has been established to "restore federal enforcement" of laws that protect the fundamental and unalienable rights of conscience and religious freedom. 
OCR is the law enforcement agency within HHS that enforces federal laws protecting civil rights in HHS. According to the agency, the creation of the new division will provide focus to more vigorously and effectively enforce existing laws protecting the rights of conscience and religious freedom.
A proposed rule is forthcoming that would give OCR more authority to protect workers and impose penalties on organizations that do not allow them to express their religious and moral objections. AHCA/NCAL will closely track new guidance and proposed rules that may impact long-term care providers.

Webinar: LTC Survey Process Updates “Hot Topics” with Food, Nutrition and Dining


Webinar: LTC Survey Process Updates “Hot Topics” with Food, Nutrition and Dining
 February 21, 2018 – 2:00pm – 3:00 p.m. Eastern
Presented by Brenda Richardson, MA, RDN, LD, CD, FAND

  • Understand the most current key changes in the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) revised Requirements for Participation for Medicare and Medicaid-certified nursing facilities.
  • Describe the focus revisions to SOM and “Hot Topic” areas related to the Appendix PP for food/nutrition/dining.
  • Identify resources to assist in facility implementation of food, nutrition and dining for regulatory compliance with the new LTC Survey Process.
The new survey process has been in place since November 2017 and encompasses extensive changes to survey procedures, survey forms, F-tags, and survey guidance for food, nutrition and dining. This webinar will present the most current revisions to the LTC requirements of participation and survey process. In addition to sharing critical resources for success, recent “hot topics” emerging from LTC Surveys related to food, nutrition and dining will be presented. Learn how to be prepared for successful management of Food, Nutrition and Dining with the LTC Survey Process.

Congressional Leaders Reach Short-Term Spending Agreement


President Trump signed a short-term continuing resolution (CR) Monday, ending a three-day old shutdown funding the government until February 8.The Senate voted 81-18 to pass the measure, while the House voted 266-150.

The bill was based on negotiations between party leadership in the Senate, where a bill initially could not garner enough support to break the 60-vote threshold to avoid a filibuster. 

The new spending bill includes funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) but fails to address other issues that initially caused the shutdown.

All Democrats initially opposed any legislation that did not include measures to protect those under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which shields young undocumented immigrants from deportation. Senate Democrats who supported the new CR said they only did because they received assurances from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell that immigration legislation would be passed prior to the next spending deal.

Mr. McConnell said Monday he would create a “level playing field” on which immigration negotiations can take place, but his assurances still were not enough to gain the votes of 16 Senate Democrats, who still opposed the new CR. Two Republicans, Mike Lee and Rand Paul, also voted “no.”

The legislation does not include any measures to address the “Medicare extenders,” which include the therapy caps exemption process. A longer-term budget deal in February may include such policies.

The lack of an extension adds to the uncertainty about beneficiary access to therapy services for a few more weeks. Historically, Congress has retroactively permitted the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to pay care providers for therapy provided over the cap threshold while exemption policy is being written and negotiated. The AHCA/NCAL legislative team is on Capitol Hill, monitoring developments and ensuring the profession's interests are not overlooked as budget negotiations continue.

Celebrate Your Quality Achievements: QIRP Luncheon RSVP Deadline is One Week Away

Quality Initiative Recognition Program Achievers:

Are you ready to celebrate your quality achievements with AHCA/NCAL in “The Big Easy”?

The January 31 deadline to RSVP for the AHCA/NCAL Quality Initiative Recognition Program luncheon at the 2018 AHCA/NCAL Quality Summit in New Orleans is just one week away! 

The luncheon will be held on Tuesday, March 13 from 12-1:30 p.m. Central at the Summit, and will provide an opportunity for you to network with other achievers, and get recognized for your dedication to improving quality at your centers and communities.

Achievers must RSVP for the AHCA/NCAL Quality Initiative Recognition Program luncheon at the 2018 Quality Summit by January 31 and can email qualityinitiative@ahca.org to reserve a spot. In order to attend the luncheon, recipients must also register for the AHCA/NCAL Quality Summit, where the luncheon will be held.

Quality Initiative Recognition Program notification letters were sent to all achievers on November 15, 2017. A complete list of achievers is available for skilled nursing centers here and for assisted living communities here.  

At the Summit, which occurs March 12-14, you'll join other long term and post-acute care quality leaders, and enjoy excellent speakers and education sessions on topics designed to help you progress on your quality journey. The key general Quality Summit registration dates are as follows: 

Additional questions may be submitted to the Quality Initiative Recognition Program team at qualityinitiative@ahca.org.

Monday, January 22, 2018

LTC Trend Tracker Users: Send Us Your Feedback on the Top-Line Publication


Registered LTC Trend Tracker Users:

The LTC Trend Tracker Team is interested in gathering your feedback and thoughts regarding the Top-Line Publication. The survey should only take several minutes to complete. 

You can fill out the survey here by January 24th, 2018.

As a reminder, if you haven’t done so already, you may access and review your LTC Trend Tracker Quarter 4 Publication, the latest Your Top-Line publication, which you should have received by email in mid-December.

In addition to highlighting metrics and graphics outlining your facility's progress on Five-Star performance, the AHCA/NCAL Quality Initiative, and other necessary data to help you achieve your desired goals, the 2017 Quarter 4 edition of Your Top-Line publication includes each facility's current Quality Award status, and information regarding the eligibility criteria for all levels of the Quality Award Journey.

If you have misplaced the email containing the link to Your Top-Line Publication, simply login to your LTC Trend Tracker account, click on "Manage Publications" and then "View and Download Publications". It will then allow you to select the publication you wish to view. 

Have questions about accessing LTC Trend Tracker features? Visit our Resource Center for helpful how-to videos and help documents.

If you have any questions, please email help@ltctrendtracker.com, and add the address to your 'Safe Sender list'.

We look forward to receiving your feedback on the Top-Line Publication.

-The LTC Trend Tracker Team 

Thursday, January 18, 2018

February 9 Housing Deadline for Quality Summit


If you want to be where all action is at this year’s AHCA/NCAL’s 3rd Annual Quality Summit, make your hotel reservations now! The hotel reservation deadline for the Quality Summit is February 9 (about two weeks away). This year, you must be registered for the Quality Summit before any hotel reservations can be made. If you register online, you may do both at the same time.
  • 14 education session offering topics important to skilled nursing, post-acute, and assisted living providers
  • Provider LEDTalks - short-form talks designed to Lead, Engage, and Discover
  • Updates from association leadership 
  • Moderated best-practice sessions
  • Networking events with quality-focused providers and sponsors from across the country

Good times will be had in New Orleans, so make sure you don’t miss out on all the things the Quality Summit has to offer!

Please remember, the early housing deadline of February 9. Reservation requests made after this hotel deadline will be based on availability at the prevailing rate determined by the hotel. You may register for the Quality Summit through March 2.

For detailed information regarding registration, educations sessions, events and conference sponsors please see our official conference website.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Germs Don’t Know Where They Live: AHCA/NCAL’s On-Line Infection Prevention and Control Program Works for Assisted Living Settings Too


Dave Kyllo

The methods for preventing and controlling infections are universal and apply regardless of setting. In other words, what works in the nursing facility setting will work in the assisted living setting.

AHCA/NCAL developed a new comprehensive program to help nursing facility members meet the new infection prevention and antibiotic stewardship requirements now being enforced by CMS. While originally designed for nursing facilities, the Infection Preventionist Specialized Training (IPCO) course provides education for all healthcare professionals who want to lead infection prevention efforts and prepares individuals to play an active role in the antibiotic stewardship efforts. Antibiotic stewardship is an overarching goal and priority among all health care professionals and is receiving a lot of attention from state and national health care regulators.

AHCA/NCAL’s course is an online, self-study program with 23 hours of training. 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 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. Strong and effective infection prevention programs and antibiotic stewardship efforts can set an assisted living center apart from the competition, especially when working with social workers and discharge planners who help seniors with their post-acute decisions

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/NCAL 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.

Submit Your 2018 National Quality Award Application by Feb. 1

The deadline to apply for the 2018 AHCA/NCAL National Quality Award Program is quickly approaching!

All applications and payments must be submitted via the online portal before February 1, 2018 at 8 p.m. EST

Application packets are available on the Bronze, Silver and Gold award web pages. 

  • Below are some tips for submitting your application online: 
  • SNF applicants will need their six-digit Federal/Medicare Provider Number to submit their application. NCAL applicants can write N/A for this field.
  • Double check that the organization name is exactly the same for both fields. The organization name you submit will be the name printed on your award, if selected to be a recipient. If you have a parent company, please double check if there is specific way your center name should be written.
  • Characters and spaces need to be exactly the same in order for a successful submission. Extra spaces may cause an error message.
  • When your application is submitted successfully, applicants will receive confirmation of submission both on screen and through one automatic email. If the email is not received, contact Quality Award staff. 
  • Payments must be made online via credit card. Checks are not accepted. 

If you would like to review your center's award history or have any additional questions, please email qualityaward@ahca.org.

Webinar: International Perspectives on Supporting People with Dementia and Caregivers

Date/Time: January 30, 2018 from 2-3 p.m. ET
Webinar Description: Presenters of this web seminar will provide international perspectives on supporting people with dementia and their caregivers. The presentation will describe results from a survey on stigma given to people with dementia and caregivers from 54 countries. The presentation will also describe Scotland’s 10-year journey to improve dementia care and how Focus on Dementia is supporting the implementation of the dementia strategy in practice.

Participants in this web seminar will be able to:

Identify three ways people with dementia are stigmatized;
Identify methods to help reduce stigma in their local communities;
Describe Scotland’s dementia strategy and progress; and,
Understand how Scotland is supporting the implementation of the dementia strategy into practice.

Registration link: http://asaging.org/web-seminars/international-perspectives-supporting-people-dementia-and-caregivers

For this webinar series, the Administration for Community Living’s National Alzheimer’s and Dementia Resource Center has partnered with the American Society on Aging.

Please note, complimentary CEUs are available through these webinars. In addition, the webinars will be recorded and available for viewing at nadrc.acl.gov.

Webinar: The Flourish Care Model: Utilizing the Geriatric Workforce Enhancement Program (GWEP) to Implement A Shared-Care Approach to Health Care for Older Adults

To promote effective care coordination and quality care for older adults in rural areas, the Flourish Care model developed partnerships between primary care practices, local area agencies on aging and community coalitions as part of a federal grant to promote quality care for older adults.

Flourish is a shared-care approach to healthcare and functions from the belief that health is more than just visiting a primary care physician and taking medications. It focuses on creating communities that encourage a shared-care approach to healthcare through education, partnerships, and support for patients, physicians and frontline workers in the community. The model uses health navigators to work with a clinical and community team to create a coordinated care plan, including community-based support services. It also educates older adults in the use of electronic personal health records to monitor their health.

Please join the Aging and Disability Business Institute on January 23 at 1:00 PM Eastern for a one hour webinar. The presentation will share lessons learned from this partnership and report on preliminary results on care improvement for older adults with two or more chronic conditions. Two case studies will be presented to demonstrate how the Flourish Care model benefited rural older adults.

Learning objectives:

- Describe Flourish Care, a shared-care approach to healthcare;

- List the lessons learned to create this shared-care approach to healthcare in a rural community;

- Understand the value of care coordination where both healthcare providers and community-based organizations work together to provide quality care to older adults; and,

- Understand the importance of addressing the social determinants of health when providing healthcare to older adults.

Judge Overturns $350 Million Judgment Against Nursing Home

Lilly Hummel

Earlier this month a judge overturned a judgment of approximately $350 million in a False Claims Act case where a relator, which is a person who brings a lawsuit on behalf of the government, accused a nursing home operator of upcoding and failure to maintain care plans. See United States ex rel. Ruckh v. Rehabilitation, M.D.Fla. No. 8:11-cv-1303-T-23TBM, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 5148 (Jan. 11, 2018). 

A Florida federal judge found there was not evidence that the government would have declined payment if aware of alleged billing violations. He concluded that the “defendants argue persuasively that the relator failed to offer evidence of materiality, defined unambiguously and required emphatically by Universal Health Services, Inc. v. Escobar, 136 S. Ct. 1989 (2016). 

The court explained that the fact that the federal and state government continued to pay the defendants’ claims after learning of the allegations was fatal to the relator’s case.

This judgment continues a trend of courts taking the materiality requirements of Escobar seriously by looking at what the government did after it learned of the allegations underlying the alleged fraud.