Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Veterans Affairs Provider Agreements on Way to Becoming Law

Dana Halvorson


On May 23, 2018, the U.S. Senate passed a comprehensive Veterans Affairs (VA) package (the VA Mission Act of 2018 ), which was recently approved by the House of Representatives, that authorizes VA provider agreements for extended care providers, including nursing centers.  AHCA and our members have been advocating for years for VA provider agreements.  These agreements are supported by the VA yet required new statutory authorization.  The White House has signaled that President Trump will sign this legislation into law.

VA provider agreements allow our centers to care for veterans in their communities or in close proximity to their families and support system.  Our centers already meet very strict compliance guidelines under the Medicare and Medicaid programs.  Adding more regulations on top of the existing Medicare and Medicaid regulation is inefficient, adds cost and takes staff time away from caring for veterans at the bedside.  It is long-standing policy that participation in Medicare or Medicaid does not make providers federal contractors.  However, if a provider currently has VA patients, they are considered a federal contractor and therefore must comply with statutes such as the Service Contract Act.  The Office of Federal Contracting Compliance Programs (OFCCP) has administered onerous reporting requirements and regulations, beyond those required by Medicare and Medicaid rules, which have dissuaded nursing care centers from admitting VA patients.  The result has been limited long term care options for veterans in their local communities.  Our veterans should not have to choose between obtaining the long term care services they need and remaining near loved ones in their community.  Conversely, the same centers contracting with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services are not subject to the OFCCP regulations.  

Provisions in the VA Mission Act will help remove some of the existing red tape that may prevent providers from being able to provide care to veterans.  The number of facilities able to serve veterans will increase in most areas once qualified providers are able to enter into VA Provider Agreements, broadening options for veterans who need both nursing center care and home and community-based services.  We know that many members are eager to enter into VA provider agreements.  VA staff estimates that it will take at least a year to implement these agreements, pending the issuance of regulations.  AHCA will offer a webinar with officials from the VA in the near future to provide members an opportunity to ask questions about how these agreements might be structured.  Once this webinar date and time is finalized, we will send information to our members.  In the meantime, please contact Dana Halvorson , AHCA's Senior Director of Not for Profit & Constituent Services with questions or comments you'd like to see addressed on the webinar. 


AHCA/NCAL Annual Convention & Expo Heads to the Beach

Jon-Patrick Ewing


This October, thousands of leading long term and post-acute care professionals will come together to share ideas, learn about the latest techniques and services, network, and have fun. We’ve got it all: informative education sessions, inspiring keynote speakers, and incredible networking opportunities, all set against the backdrop of America’s Finest City. At the center is a show-stopping Expo Hall, where you’ll find the latest products and the solutions to your toughest challenges.

When you’re not learning or making connections, soak up some sun on San Diego’s 70 miles of coastline or explore some of the city’s world-class attractions. Make plans to attend now, and don’t forget the sunscreen!

Early bird registration ends July 20. Don’t wait, register today and SAVE!

To learn more about Nurses CE Info, detailed information can be found online.



Build a Strong Dementia Care Team with the CARES® Dementia Specialist (C.D.S.) Professional Credential

Dave Kyllo

Long term care organizations can now build a core team of dementia specialists within their organizations at an affordable price. Train and credential key members of your staff with the CARES® Dementia Specialist™ (C.D.S.) professional credentialing program. Then, when an issue occurs with one of your residents with dementia, staff can direct questions to your on-site CARES Dementia Specialists.

Each member of your team completing the C.D.S. will learn quality dementia care strategies based upon the Alzheimer’s Association’s new Dementia Care Practice Recommendations.  Having caregivers who are credentialed dementia specialists translates to a far more efficient and effective dementia care team and reduces staff reliance on licensed nurses to solve the repetitious questions and issues that arise daily when providing care to residents with dementia. 

By completing the CARES Dementia Specialist training programs, submitting their documentation, passing a required 100-point online C.D.S. credentialing exam, and being approved, staff members will be able to use the C.D.S. credential after their name, on their resume, or on a business card. Staff members will also be placed on a national registry of people who earn and hold a current C.D.S. credential.
 
The C.D.S. curriculum consists of 32 hours of online, video-based person-centered dementia care education.  Once activated, individuals have 10-day access to each of the six required courses (courses range from 4 to 10 hours).

The C.D.S. courses include:

  • CARES® Dementia Basics™ 
  • CARES® Dementia-Related Behavior™ 
  • CARES® End-of-Life Dementia Care™ 
  • CARES® Dementia Advanced Care™ 
  • CARES® Activities of Daily Living™ 
  • CARES® Dementia Care for Families™  

CARES® is recommended by the American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living to help reduce the off-label use of antipsychotics. CARES is mobile friendly and available 24/7.

Be sure to take advantage of your exclusive AHCA/NCAL member discount.  AHCA/NCAL members receive a 10% discount on the $499.95 C.D.S. package by using discount code AHCA10 at checkout!  That’s 32 hours of high quality online dementia care training and a professional credential for your key staff members for only $449.95. 

Take advantage of this outstanding offer today, and remember to use discount code AHCA10 when you checkout. 

Don’t Worry. Be Happy…Just Like AHCA/NCAL Infection Control Training Program Customers

Dave Kyllo


The AHCA/NCAL Infection Preventionist Specialized Training (IPCO) course  is getting rave reviews from those who have completed the course. "The IPCO training was fantastic, very informative, easy to use and organized. I definitely recommend this product for all IPCO, DON and ADON,” says Jesalyn Garcia with Holly Heights Nursing Center. 

Jesalyn isn’t the only IPCO fan.  A solid 97 percent of health care professionals who have completed the AHCA/NCAL Infection Preventionist Specialized Training (IPCO) course thus far recommend that their colleagues take the course if they are interested in learning more about 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 federal 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 nursing facilities and assisted living centers apart from the competition, especially when working with social workers and discharge planners who help seniors with their post-acute decisions.

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

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, nursing 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 nursing facility 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. 

CMS Announces Expanded Settlement Conference Facilitation for Medicare Appeals

Lilly Hummel


The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has announced that it will be expanding the Settlement Conference Facilitation (SCF) process to address the Medicare appeals backlog. SCF is an alternative dispute resolution process that gives providers an opportunity to resolve their Medicare appeals pending with the Office of Medicare Hearings and Appeals (OMHA) or the Medicare Appeals Council. Notably, unlike other CMS settlement programs, there is not prescribed settlement percentage in SCF. Rather a facilitator uses mediation to assist the provider and CMS work towards a mutually agreeable resolution as to payment. OMHA has published Frequently Asked Questions with more information. The expansion is in the internal implementation phase, and for now CMS suggests providers continue to use existing SCF criteria and processes.

SCF is separate from the Low Volume Appeals Initiative announced in 2017.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Call for Entries: AHCA Awards Program

Carly Sfregola

We are now accepting entries for the AHCA Awards Program. AHCA honors individuals who are committed to improving the quality of life for residents. The categories are as follows:

  • ID/DD Hero of the Year
  • Not for Profit Trustee of the Year
  • Not for Profit Program of the Year
  • Volunteer of the Year
    • Young Adult (Ages 13-19)
    • Adult
    • Group

Nominations packets are available on AHCA's website. In a change from previous years, Volunteer of the Year nominations may be submitted directly by centers in good standing with the state affiliate. 

Please spread the word and take the time to submit a nomination. Honorees will be recognized at AHCA/NCAL's 69th Annual Annual Convention and & Expo in San Diego. 

Jan Thayer Pioneer Award Nominations Deadline Extended to June 15!

Katherine Preede

The nominations deadline for NCAL’s 2018 Jan Thayer Pioneer Award has been extended to June 15! The award recognizes an individual who has moved the senior care profession forward, positively affecting the lives of those served and those who serve. Recipients must demonstrate dedication, leadership and considerable contributions to the senior care profession.

Nominations must be submitted online and include a 500-word or less essay, along with a copy of the candidate’s resume. Nominators must be members of AHCA/NCAL; however, candidates are not required to be members. All nominations must be received by June 8, 2018. The recipient is selected by the NCAL Executive Committee and will be honored at NCAL Day at the AHCA/NCAL Convention & Expo in San Diego this October.

The Jan Thayer Pioneer Award is posthumously named after the first Board Chair of NCAL Jan Thayer. A provider for more than 25 years, Thayer owned and operated Riverside Lodge in Grand Island, Nebraska. She also founded and headed up the Excel Development Group, which owned and managed retirement communities throughout the Midwest and employed hundreds.

This is the fourth year NCAL is honoring an individual in the assisted living profession. The award was bestowed to Bob Van Dyk of Van Dyk Healthcare last year.

NCAL Awards Program: 2018 Nominations Deadline Extended to June 15!

Jean-Bernard Latortue
Know of an outstanding assisted living nurse or administrator? Last year, did your community create the best National Assisted Living Week® programming based on the "Family is Forever" theme? Or maybe there is an unlicensed caregiver or someone in the dietary, housekeeping, or maintenance departments who goes above and beyond the call of duty? If you answered yes, then check out NCAL’s 2018 Awards Program. This program gives awards in four categories:

Administrator of the Year
Nurse of the Year
Noble Caregiver in Assisted Living
National Assisted Living Week Programming

You must have all components of your application before you can submit a nomination online. To nominate, the following items are required:

Administrator and Nurse of the Year nominations - Must have essays and resumes
Noble Caregiver in Assisted Living nominations - Must have essays
National Assisted Living Week Programming nominations - Must have essay, calendar, and pictures.

Recipients (and one guest) receive a FREE trip to AHCA/NCAL’s 69th Annual Convention & Expo in San Diego, CA, October 7-10, 2018. Each will be honored in front of their peers during NCAL Day and the Closing General Session of the Convention.

For more information and to submit a nomination, please visit www.ncal.org/awards. Completed nominations must be submitted no later than Friday, June 8, 2018.

Help recognize those that demonstrate outstanding service!

Webinar: International Dysphagia Diet Standardization Initiative (IDDSI)

Bobbie Vailes

International Dysphagia Diet Standardization Initiative (IDDSI)
Date: August 22nd, 2018 at 2:00pm ET


Session Overview:

This session will present the International Dysphagia Diet Standardization Initiative (IDDSI) which is a global standard with terminology and definitions to describe texture modified foods and thickened liquids used for individuals with dysphagia of all ages. Implementation of the IDDSI framework in LTC consisting of a continuum of 8 levels (0-7) will be presented. IDDSI has been endorsed by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and also the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association and will involve the entire interdisciplinary team involvement and support for success.  
Objectives:
After attending this session, attendees will be able to:
  1. Describe the International Dysphagia Diet Standardization Initiative (IDDSI) being implemented in the US
  2. Recognize the 8 Levels on the framework/continuum.
  3. Identify resources to help implement in the facility as “Best Practice”

Decrease Your Odds of Getting the #1 Cited F Tag with AHCA/NCAL’s Highly Rated Infection Prevention and Control 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.

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 97 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.

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

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: Register for IPCO!

It’s Graduation Season and the Long Term Care Career Center is a Great Place for Jobs!

Dave Kyllo


Graduation season is here. The AHCA/NCAL Long Term Care Career Center, is a great resource for nursing students and high school and college graduates who are interested in careers in long term care or health care. Our Center contains a Career Learning Center that includes professional resources for creating powerful resumes and acing job interviews.

The LTC Career Center is always free for job seekers and has some of the top long term care jobs in the country. Serious job seekers and top health care employers rely on this site to connect.

Creating an account and posting a resume is quick, free and easy! Give the graduates you know a gift that will be remembered – their first job leads. Tell them about www.LTCCareerCenter.com and the free Career Learning Center job seeker resources today and help them launch their health care careers.    

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Prepare for the New Payment Model: PDPM Toolkt to be Launched at AHCA/NCAL Annual Convention

Danielle Levitan


Patient-Driven Payment Model (PDPM) Toolkit to be Launched at AHCA/NCAL Annual Convention



During its 69th Annual Convention & Expo, AHCA will present a 4-hour intensive session that addresses the new PDPM payment system from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). CMS has proposed that PDPM replace the current RUGs system in its entirety on October 1, 2019, moving away from reimbursement based on hours of service to a model built “to treat the needs of the whole patient.” You’ll need to find out what that means for you and how to best prepare.

The PDPM intensive will include an in-depth training on the PDPM payment system. During the intensive, a member toolkit will be released that will contain the core competencies framework as well as a readiness review tool that will help you track your operational readiness for PDPM. The intensive will also cover data gathered from 12 companies testing impacts of PDPM and provide hospital and discharge pattern data that could be helpful in member markets. This session will set your feet firmly on a path to readiness for when PDPM rolls out in October 2019.

Make the investment in your success under the new payment system, and register for convention today.

Early bird registration rates end July 20.

Please note that the intensive will be held twice – Sunday, October 7 at 1:00pm and Wednesday, October 10 at 10:30am.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Webinar: Addressing Behavioral Health Needs of Older Veterans: In our Communities and in Partnership

May 22, 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM EST

This webinar will celebrate both Older Americans Month and Mental Health Month. The information presented aims to help community service providers understand behavioral health needs of older Veterans, identify VHA resources, and discuss the importance of collaboration across mental health, aging, and Veterans services.

While aging Veterans are generally a healthy and resilient group with enduring strengths related to their service, they may face challenges in late life. Older Veterans may struggle with multiple chronic illnesses and/or mental illness. For some, post-traumatic stress symptoms intensify in late life. Most older Veterans receive health, mental health, and social services in their communities. Community providers may not be aware of older clients' Veteran statuses, the unique needs they may have, or the available resources for which they are eligible.

Presenters

Michele J. Karel, PhD, ABPP, Deputy Director, Geriatric Mental Health, Office of Mental Health and Suicide Prevention, VA Central Office
Bret Hicken, PhD, MSPH, Geriatric Domain Lead, Veterans Rural Health Resource Center-Salt Lake City and George E. Wahlen VAMC; Clinical Assistant Professor, Department of Counseling Psychology, University of Utah
Byran Richardson, Peer Specialist, West Palm Beach VAMC

Registration and Details

Registration is required to receive the webinar information. Visit the webinar information webpage to sign up and learn more.

National Older Adult Mental Health Awareness Day Event Livestream

Friday, May 18, 10:00 AM - 12:30 PM EST

SAMHSA and ACL, together with the National Coalition on Mental Health and Aging, invite you to a webcast on the first National Older Adult Mental Health Awareness Day. The event aims to raise public awareness about the mental health of older Americans and spur action to address the needs of this growing population. 

About the Discussion

By 2030 there will be approximately 75 million Americans over age 65, and the number of older adults needing treatment for serious mental illness and substance use disorders will also rise. Behavioral health conditions such as depression, anxiety, and the improper mixing of medication and alcohol are associated with higher health care use and lower quality of life. As with any age group, older adults have unique needs that require special attention and training from practitioners.

Watch as experts discuss evidence-based approaches to mental health and substance use prevention, treatment, and recovery supports for older adults. The panel will highlight the work of the Interdepartmental Serious Mental Illness Coordinating Committee and offer guidance for people who seek treatment and services.

One of the featured speakers is ACL Administrator and Assistant Secretary for Aging Lance Robertson.

Registration


Registration is required to view the webcast. Reserve your seat today.


PBJ Data and Your Center's Five-Star Rating: Check Out Your Top-Line Publication



Today, May 16, skilled nursing center members that are LTC Trend Tracker users will be emailed their LTC Trend Tracker Quarter 2 Top-Line Publication.

This valuable LTC Trend Tracker resource is a brief data report on your center and outlines your facility's Five-Star performance and ways to improve it. In addition, the Top-Line publication shows your center's progress on the 2018-2021 AHCA/NCAL Quality Initiative

In February, survey scores became based on two cycles instead of three as part of the survey score freeze. On April 25, staffing ratings became based on quarterly Payroll-Based Journal (PBJ) data instead of staffing data collected on CMS Form-671 during a standard survey. New risk-adjustments and cut points for determining star ratings were implemented as part of the transition. 

To help skilled nursing center members understand how these changes impact their Five-Star rating, we've included in this this edition of the Top-Line publication PBJ data and an explanation as to how your center's two cycle survey score is calculated

Users can leverage this report to explain to residents, families, and referral partners such as hospitals why their Five-Star rating has changed.

As a reminder, please remember to add the email address from which the publication will be sent from, join.support@ltctrendtracker.com, to your Safe Sender list to prevent any issues receiving the email.

If you do not receive the Top-Line in your email inbox, please take the following steps to view the report:
  • Search your clutter or spam folder for the email.
  • Log in to your LTC Trend Tracker account, click on "Manage Publications", and then "View and Download Publications". You may then select the publication you wish to view.
If you have any questions about LTC Trend Tracker or need additional assistance, please contact the team at help@ltctrendtracker.com.


Congressional Briefing Registration Extended

Drew Thies


Registration for the 2018 AHCA/NCAL Congressional Briefing has been extended to Friday, May 18. Last year’s Congressional Briefing was the largest ever and the event is expected to continue to grow.

Held June 4-5 in Washington, D.C., Congressional Briefing will feature highlight speakers such as Pulitzer Prize-winning Journalist Carl Bernstein and Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar.

The event offers attendees the chance to network with their peers, receive legislative briefings from professionals in the sector, hear from some of the top voices in Washington, and meet with their legislators to advocate on behalf of the patients they serve.

Prospective attendees are encouraged to register as soon as possible. Hotel space is filling up quickly

The official event hotel is sold out and those who register soon will still be able to get room at the spillover hotel, just one block away from the event.

The conference registration fee is complimentary to AHCA/NCAL Members and AHCA/NCAL Associate Business Members, and their spouses, and is accepted on a first-come basis.​​ 

For questions, please contact meetings@ahca.org, or call (202) 842-4444.

Deliver the Magic Sound of Music with Mood Media



Maria Augusta von Trapp of the famed von Trapp Family Singers said “Music acts like a magic key, to which the most tightly closed heart opens.” 

Members can create a festive upbeat atmosphere in their communities 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).

The Number of Open LTC Jobs Continues to Increase



There are 33,342 open jobs posted by direct employers in the nursing care facility (including SNFs), assisted living, and continuing care retirement community (CCRC) sectors this month according to the latest CEB TalentNeuron statistics That represents an increase of nearly 1,000 open positions in the last month that are posted by long term care employers.   

The CEB TalentNeuron statistics also show an estimated 2,101,000 potential candidates in the nation’s workforce whose skills likely match the qualifications being sought by long term care employers. Figures show that 2,336 direct employers are competing for candidates this month – -about the same number as April. The average number of days a job was posted decreased by four days in May to 35 days.     

Finding qualified employees is one of the greatest challenges facing long term care providers and May’s statistics prove that the challenge is only growing in the strong economy with a decreasing unemployment rate. The AHCA/NCAL Long Term Care Career Center is designed to help members be competitive in attracting qualified candidates to fill their health care job vacancies. The LTC Career Center works because it attracts top health care candidates and employers. It is also fully integrated with Google’s job search feature “Google for Jobs” creating greater exposure for job postings.

Rates for posting job vacancies are affordable and give prospective employers far greater exposure than local ads and job boards by connecting to a network of more than 300 national and state health care organizations and societies. Employers are also able to post vacancies as they occur and search resumes on the network. 

There are two great ways for skilled nursing center and assisted living employers to save on their job postings on the Long Term Care Career Center. First-time job posters can receive 25% off their first posting by entering promo code New25off when they checkout.  

Employers with multiple positions to fill can purchase three job postings at one time and receive a 20% discount on the three postings by entering promo code Bundle20 at check out. 

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

Of course, the LTC Career Center is always free for job seekers and the LTC Career Center features many of the best positions the long term care profession has to offer. Job seekers are using the site with approximately 96,000 searchable resumes on the National Healthcare Career Network this month.  

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

Meetup at the AHCA/NCAL Expo in San Diego



Register for the 69th Annual AHCA/NCAL Convention & Expo today and get access to one of the largest expos for the long term and post-acute care profession! 

This year’s Expo Hall is open Monday, October 8 and Tuesday, October 9, with dedicated hours and lunch for all attendees will be served in the hall. It’s so convenient! 

Meet hundreds of experts gathered under one roof while you learn, discover, and network. You’ll see the next generation of cutting edge technologies and residential care products/services. 

This is your chance to explore solutions to the challenges you and your organization face each and every day.

Register today and save! The early bird discount ends July 20.

Free Staff Training: Changing Talk Online (CHATO) to Reduce Behavioral Symptoms in Dementia Care

Researchers at the University of Kansas School of Nursing are seeking nursing homes to test the new online version of the evidence-based Changing Talk (CHAT) communication training program.

CHAT educates staff about reducing elderspeak (infantilizing communication) and results in reduced behavioral symptoms and need for psychotropic medication for residents with dementia.

The new online version, consists of three one-hour interactive modules that are completed online from anywhere the Internet can be accessed.

There is no cost to the facility and continuing education credit is available.

Please contact Dr. Kristine Williams at (913) 588-1673 or kwilliams1@kumc.edu for more information about CHATO.

Reference: http://bit.ly/2IoAlfW

Wednesday, May 9, 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.

Trump Proposes Rescissions Package

Drew Thies


President Trump proposed a rarely-used toll to claw-back Congressional spending. The proposal would rescind $15.4 billion in spending from previously approved funds, the largest the White House has ever requested and the first such request in nearly two decades.

The request does not affect Medicare or Medicaid funding, but the majority of the cuts come from the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). The package also includes cuts to the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation.

Congress has 45 days to take up and pass the President’s request or else it will terminate. Due to legislative rules, it avoids the Senate filibuster and only needs a simple majority in both chambers to pass.

Democrats are expected to universally oppose the package. Sen. John McCain is absent from Washington, meaning every Senate Republican will need to approve the request for it to pass. Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) have expressed support for the CHIP program when asked whether or not they support the cuts package.

AHCA/NCAL Submit Comments on IMPACT Act “Medication Profile” DRAFT Quality Measures

Dan Ciolek

Last week, AHCA/NCAL submitted detailed technical comments to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and its Improving Medicare Post-Acute Care Transformation Act of 2014 (IMPACT Act) quality measure development contractors RTI and Abt Associates in response the following pre-rulemaking solicitation: 

Quality measures to satisfy the IMPACT Act domain of: Transfer of Health Information and Care Preferences When an Individual Transitions - Medication Profile Transferred to Provider / Medication Profile Transferred to Patient.

Specifically, CMS requested comment on the draft specifications developed for the following two measures:     

1. Medication Profile Transferred to Provider 
2. Medication Profile Transferred to Patient 

We emphasize that these draft Minimum Data Set (MDS)-based measures are still in development and could undergo significant changes in response to public comment and field testing results. 

In the FY 2019 SNF Prospective Payment System (PPS) proposed rule (page 21083) CMS notes that they are on a schedule to complete measure refinements so they can propose these measures in the FY 2020 SNF PPS payment rulemaking to be adopted for the SNF Quality Reporting Program (QRP) in 2022.

Contact Dan Ciolek at dciolek@ahca.org if there are questions.

Surf’s Up for Knowledge at the AHCA/NCAL Convention & Expo

Jon-Patrick Ewing

This year’s education programming at the AHCA/NCAL Convention and Expo is designed to address current and pressing operating issues as well as care challenges.

The comprehensive agenda covers all the issues you need to understand to be successful in your community or organization. The program offers practical, implementable, real-world solutions to the challenges you face every day. 

The main convention programming begins at 1:00 pm on Sunday, October 7, with the Intensive sessions and runs through Wednesday, October 10. Attendees can earn up to 16 CEs. Adding a separate ticketed event (NCAL Day and/or the Rehabilitation Program) to your registration will increase your CE count.

JUST ADDED! 
A four-hour intensive on the PDPM - Replacing RUGs – CMS’ Proposed New SNF Payment System & How to Get Ready. This session on Sunday, October 7, will cover all the things you need to know to prepare and be ready before the implementation deadline. The session will be repeated on Wednesday, October 10.

Visit the official Convention & Expo website and search Education Sessions to learn more about the education and speakers at this year’s event.

Register today and SAVE. The early bird deadline ends July 20.

Be Proactive and Avoid the Most Common F-Tag Citation



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. 

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 97 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. 


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

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

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: Register for IPCO!

Are Your RNs Equipped with the Knowledge to Help Reduce Rehospitalizations?


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 nursingIt 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. 

AHCA/NCAL Gero Nurse Prep 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, which means that 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.
 
AHCA/NCAL Gero Nurse Prep is affordable and provides value at the $690 AHCA/NCAL member price. That’s $23 per contact hour for outstanding nursing education that makes a measurable difference in an RN’s knowledge of gerontological nursing. 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.

Check out AHCA/NCAL Gero Nurse Prep today. 
    

U.S. House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Approves Legislation Including VA Provider Agreements

Dana Halvorson


This legislation, among other things, would streamline the VA’s community care programs into one cohesive program, and ensures that extended care providers, including nursing centers, can legally enter into VA Provider Agreements. President Trump has called on Congress to pass this bill before Memorial Day. 

AHCA will keep members apprised of any further Congressional action related to this legislation. 

As you may know from previous AHCA communications, AHCA endorses legislation introduced last year, the Veterans Access to Long Term Care and Health Services Act (S. 1611/H.R. 4113). This legislation, introduced by Senators John Hoeven (R-ND) and Mike Rounds (R-SD) and by Congressman Bruce Poliquin (R-ME-02), would ensure that extended care providers, including nursing centers, can legally enter into VA Provider Agreements, and would be subject to the same rules and regulations as any other Medicare or Medicaid provider.

Under S. 1611/H.R. 4113, the number of facilities serving veterans will increase in most markets once qualified providers are able to enter into VA Provider Agreements, broadening options among veterans for nursing center care and home and community-based services.  The U.S. House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs approved legislation noted above includes some, but not all, of the provisions from the Veterans Access to Long Term Care and Health Services Act. 

If you have any questions about the ongoing Hill efforts around VA Provider Agreements, please contact AHCA’s Senior Director of Not for Profit & Constituent Services, Dana Halvorson.