Tuesday, July 31, 2018

2019 National Quality Award Application and Portal Launch

The AHCA/NCAL Quality Award team is excited to announce that the brand-new National Quality Award Portal will launch tomorrow, August 2nd! The Portal allows applicants to do the following:


  • Review the 2019 Quality Award Application Packets (Bronze, Silver and Gold)
  • Submit an Intent-to-Apply payment
  • Submit a 2019 Quality Award Application and application fee
  • Review and complete a 2019 Quality Award Examiner application

If you are applying for a National Quality Award, please read through the entire application before starting the process. We encourage all centers to start the application process early, and to work continually throughout the coming months to ensure accurate and complete information is given. If you have any questions, please contact the Quality Award staff at qualityaward@ahca.org. We look forward to your application!



*Important Dates to Remember*
(All deadlines are at 8pm EST)


November 8, 2018 - Intent-to-Apply Deadline

November 29, 2018 – Examiner Application Deadline

January 31, 2019 – Quality Award Application Deadline



For more information on the National Quality Award Program and the Examiner process please visit our website.

Do You Know What Your Residents Think About You? [SURVEY]



The NCAL Customer Relations Committee seeks to better understand how assisted living providers are staying on top of resident and family member satisfaction. Please take no more than 5 minutes to complete this online survey.



Your feedback will help guide the NCAL Customer Relations Committee in developing valuable resources that can help assisted living providers enhance their customer experience.

The survey will remain open until Friday, August 17.

The Quality Initiative for Assisted Living includes a goal to increase customer satisfaction, so that at least 90% of residents and/or family members are satisfied with their assisted living experience. The Quality Initiative aims to meet this goal by March 2021. Find more on the customer satisfaction goal, including resources and provider stories.

Linda Kluge Named 2018 Champion of Quality Award Recipient

The American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) announced Linda Kluge, RD, LD, CPHQ, as the 2018 recipient of the Mary K. Ousley Champion of Quality Award. Kluge, an Executive Director at Alliant Quality, a Quality Innovation Network – Quality Improvement Organization (QIN-QIO) for Georgia and North Carolina, is recognized for her contributions to quality in long term and post-acute care.

For more than 40 years, Kluge has worked to advance quality performance in the profession. As part of a national effort to encourage patient-centered care, she co-founded the Culture Change Network of Georgia, a group focused on promoting and fostering culture change to improve the quality of life for older Georgians. Under her leadership, a Georgia coalition and advisory board were formed that played a role in the safe reduction of antipsychotic usage in skilled nursing centers throughout the state. She also championed the development of an educational toolkit used by nursing centers nationwide through the initiative Interventions to Reduce Acute Care Transfers (INTERACT®) to reduce unnecessary emergency room visits and hospital readmissions. Kluge received the Distinguished Service Award from Aging Services of Georgia in 2010 and was the recipient of the President’s Mentor Award from the Florida Dietetic Association.

AHCA/NCAL presents the Mary K. Ousley Champion of Quality Award to an individual that has made a significant national contribution to advancing quality performance in long term and post-acute care. Recipients display leadership in the development, promotion, and implementation of quality improvement initiatives that have resulted in measurable improvements in the quality of care and quality of life for individuals in long term care.

In 2011, the Friend of Quality Award was renamed the Mary K. Ousley Champion of Quality Award to honor the ongoing legacy and commitment to quality care demonstrated by its namesake, Mary Ousley, a licensed nursing center administrator and nurse who has dedicated her life to quality improvement programs in long term care.

Kluge will be presented with the award at AHCA/NCAL’s 69th Annual Convention & Expo in San Diego, California, October 7-10, 2018.



Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Get Ready for the AL Cost Calculator – COMING NEXT WEEK!

alcostcalculator@ncal.org


Launching August 15, the AL Cost Calculator is a new member benefit that will help you put costs behind the care you provide. Get a sneak peek of the AL Cost Calculator at our live webinar event on ahcancalED. You’ll hear from the developers of the tool and see a live demo. Register now – space is limited!

Introducing the AL Cost Calculator
Wednesday, August 15
2:00 PM EDT

The AL Cost Calculator is a web-based, enhanced resident assessment tool that assesses how costs are allocated across residents. Better understand the needs of your residents, so you can put the right staff with the right skills in the right place and at the right time. Multi-facility companies can see their company’s costs across different buildings and over time. Learn more about the features and benefits.

The AL Cost Calculator will be available to NCAL member providers at no additional cost – it’s included with your membership.

Already interested? NCAL members can pre-register for the tool right now. Sign up to be ready to access the AL Cost Calculator come August 15.

Outstanding Assisted Living Caregivers Earn National Distinction

The National Center for Assisted Living (NCAL) Yesterday announced the recipients of the 2018 NCAL Awards Program, which recognizes exemplary assisted living caregivers and programs. The four award winners represent the best of the assisted living profession, a sector of long term care that fosters choice, dignity and independence.

The 2018 NCAL Awards Program recipients are:

NCAL Administrator of the Year: Sahar B. Edalati, Executive Director at Sunrise Villa Culver City in Los Angeles, Calif.;
NCAL Assisted Living Nurse of the Year: Amanda Garcia, RN, Wellness Coordinator at The Kensington in Fort Madison, Iowa;
NCAL Noble Caregiver in Assisted Living: Margaret Morton, Recreational Therapist at Trezevant Episcopal Home in Memphis, Tenn.; and
National Assisted Living Week® Program of the Year: The Chelsea at Fanwood in Fanwood, N.J.

“Sahar, Amanda, Margaret and the whole team at Chelsea at Fanwood demonstrate how new approaches and continuing edification can reap tremendous rewards,” said NCAL Executive Director Scott Tittle. “What’s truly promising is that the three individuals the NCAL Awards Program is recognizing are relatively young in their long term care careers, and already, they are bringing forth innovative ideas and inspiring their colleagues. We hope they motivate more people to discover their calling in serving our nation’s seniors and individuals with disabilities.”

Sahar B. Edalati, NCAL Administrator of the Year

Edalati earned his bachelor’s in aging and a master’s in gerontology from the University of Southern California. During his practicum, he lived in an assisted living community where he was known as “the youngest resident.” Now, as one of the youngest executive directors at Sunrise Senior Living, Edalati has led Sunrise Villa Culver City in attaining high employee engagement scores, as well as the Bronze—Commitment to Quality award through the AHCA/NCAL Quality Award Program. Beyond improving the residents’ quality of life, Edalati contributes to the community’s social activities with a monthly poetry class for residents. He also expanded Sunrise Villa Culver City’s efforts to offer affordable housing to eligible seniors in the larger community as part of a joint partnership with the Culver City Housing Division. Edalati was nominated for this award by a third party.

Amanda Garcia, NCAL Assisted Living Nurse of the Year

Garcia has been a registered nurse and The Kensington’s wellness coordinator for the past eight years. She is tireless in furthering her education in long term care and then sharing her knowledge with others. When Iowa created a model of the National POLST (Physician Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment) Paradigm, Garcia was the first in the county to become a facilitator and instructor to help ensure residents’ end-of-life choices were being honored. As a Virtual Dementia Tour® facilitator and certified dementia care practitioner, she helped train staff at the local hospital and Iowa State Penitentiary. In 2017, The Kensington earned the Silver—Achievement in Quality award through the AHCA/NCAL Quality Award Program, and Garcia received the Distinguished Director of Nursing in Leadership Award from the Iowa Center for Assisted Living. She is the current president of the Iowa Council of Nurse Leaders.

Margaret Morton, NCAL Noble Caregiver of the Year

Morton is credited in developing a unique activities program to maximize socialization, independence, functionality and quality of life for the residents of Trezevant Episcopal Home. Specifically, she organized a 10-week equine therapy program for five residents from the memory care unit at a local equine therapy center. While equine therapy primarily serves children and teens with intellectual or developmental disabilities, Morton showed it could also be beneficial to older adults, and the five residents living with dementia saw noticeable improvements in their strength, gait, and speech. She also introduced art classes, sewing classes, and family support groups for loved ones living with Alzheimer’s and other dementias. Additionally, Trezevant Episcopal Home is certified as a MUSIC & MEMORY® location thanks to Morton.

The Chelsea at Fanwood, National Assisted Living Week® Program of the Year


The staff members of The Chelsea at Fanwood put together an enriching National Assisted Living Week (NALW) program for its residents in September 2017. The community embodied last year’s theme “Family is Forever” by holding a family barbeque on Grandparent’s Day, painting an outdoor family tree mural, hosting a family talent show, and creating a cookbook with passed-down family recipes. The Chelsea at Fanwood also embraced community involvement by holding fundraisers for the Fanwood Fire Department and Rescue Squad and the Alzheimer’s Association of New Jersey. Additionally, children from a local daycare/preschool visited to participate in a scavenger hunt to unearth inspirational messages from one generation to another.

The award winners will be recognized at the 69th Annual AHCA/NCAL Annual Convention & Expo in San Diego, Calif. held October 7-10, 2018.

AHCA/NCAL Urges Members to Meet with Lawmakers During Congressional Recess

Drew Thies


Next week marks the beginning of the annual month-long break when Members of Congress return to their home states for a prolonged work period. This is a great time for AHCA/NCAL members to meet with their Representatives and Senators during facility tours and town halls.

The August recess is typically a time where AHCA/NCAL members schedule hundreds of meetings with their Members of Congress. Lawmakers are particularly eager to meet with constituent providers and residents during an election year to hear from voters on what issues are affecting them.

Both the House and Senate will be out the first week of August for state and district work periods. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced earlier this year that the Senate recess will be abbreviated, and members will return to Washington for the remaining weeks of August. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy said he has no plans for representatives to shorten their August recess.

AHCA/NCAL has numerous resources for members who would like to host a facility tour during the August recess. Online, members can access facility tour guides as well as the most recent issue briefs for post-acute and long term care policy. If members need further assistance, they can contact Matt Smyth or Drew Thies.

Last Week for the Long Term Care Career Center’s Spectacular Summer Sale!

Dave Kyllo


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

More than 86,000 qualified health care candidates are looking for jobs on the national job board network built for health care professionals. Lead them to your job vacancy through the AHCA/NCAL Long Term Care Career Center. The LTC Career Center is designed to help members be competitive in attracting qualified candidates to fill their health care positions.

Rates for posting job vacancies have never been more affordable. Now through July 31, open positions can be posted on the AHCA/NCAL Long Term Care Career Center for $263 per 30-day posting when employers use promo code SUMMER25. That’s 25% off the normal low AHCA/NCAL rate of $350.

The $263 for a 30-day posting gives even more value because employers who utilize the AHCA/NCAL Long Term Care Career Center receive free bonus exposure through rotating job listings on AHCA’s home page – the web site where long term care professionals go for news and information. In addition, employers who post vacancies through the AHCA/NCAL LTC Career Center get extra value through free rotating listings on the Long Term Care Career Center home page.

Of course, the LTC Career Center is always free for job seekers and the LTC Career Center features many of the best positions the long term care profession has to offer.

Make the smart, low cost employee recruitment choice. Check out the LTC Career Center today and don’t forget to use promo code SUMMER25 to save 25% on your job postings. Employers may use the code up to three times between now and July 31 on any number of postings.     

Call Robin at 866-964-2765 x2736 for more information about posting job vacancies on the LTC Career Center and other discounted job listing packages. 

Maybe Mick Jaeger “Can’t Get No Satisfaction” But AHCA/NCAL Infection Control Training Program Customers Sure Do

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.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

OIG Finds Weaknesses in Medicaid Managed Care Organizations’ Efforts To Identify and Address Fraud and Abuse

Narda Ipakchi

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG) released a report finding weaknesses in Medicaid managed care organization (MCO) efforts to identify and address fraud and abuse. The report is based on a survey requesting 2015 data from the largest MCO (by expenditures) in 38 states as well as interviews with select MCO and state officials. Key findings include: (1) some MCO’s identified and referred few cases of suspected fraud or abuse in 2015; (2) not all MCOs used proactive data analysis; (3) MCOs did not typically inform states when acting against providers suspected of fraud or abuse; and (4) MCOs did not always identify and recover overpayments. The OIG concluded that the weaknesses it identified “suggest that MCOs need additional incentives to identify and refer cases and identify and recover overpayments.”

The OIG issued 8 recommendations for action by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), working with states, to: “(1) improve MCO identification and referral of cases of suspected fraud or abuse, (2) increase MCO reporting to the State of corrective actions taken against providers suspected of fraud or abuse, (3) clarify the information MCOs are required to report regarding providers that are terminated or otherwise leave the MCO network, (4) identify and share best practices about payment-retention policies and incentives to increase recoveries, (5) improve coordination between MCOs and other State program integrity entities, (6) standardize reporting of referrals across all MCOs in the State, (7) ensure that MCOs provide complete, accurate, and timely encounter data, and (8) monitor encounter data and impose penalties on States for submitting inaccurate or incomplete encounter data.”

CMS concurred with all recommendations except recommendation #6 regarding standardized reporting of referrals. CMS emphasized the need for state flexibility to determine if standardization would be effective in the state. The OIG countered that it “continues to support working with States to develop a standardized template for MCOs, which can reduce provider burden and improve the quality and consistency of referrals.”

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Affordable Care Act Could Play Role in Supreme Court Confirmation

Drew Thies


The 2010 health care law could take center stage in the Senate debate over the confirmation of President Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court, Brett Kavanaugh.

If the administration gets moderate Democrats to support Kavanaugh, they will likely have to convince them that the pick will not cause significant harm to the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

The Democratic Senator from West Virginia, Joe Manchin, already expressed concerns about Kavanaugh’s position on the legality of certain parts of the ACA. In a speech given at the Heritage Foundation last year, Kavanaugh said he thought the Supreme Court was wrong to uphold the ACA’s mandate as constitutional.

Sen. Manchin and two other Democratic Senators, Heidi Heitkamp (N.D), and Joe Donnelly (Ind.), joined their Republican colleagues in the Senate to confirm Gorsuch, but the upcoming election and recent fight over the repeal of the Affordable Care Act could change calculations for the upcoming confirmation debate.

Republicans have a slim, 51-49 majority in the Senate. While Senate rules were changed last year to allow for the confirmation of Neil Gorsuch on a simple 50-vote majority, Senator John McCain is in Arizona and not currently participating in Senate votes due to his ongoing cancer treatment. Without support from Senate Democrats, they will have to get every other Republican to support the Kavanaugh’s nomination.

Kavanaugh’s nomination is to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy, who announced earlier this month he will retire effective July 31st. Justice Kennedy is often portrayed as the swing vote on the court, though it was Chief Justice John Roberts, not Kennedy, who twice provided the decisive swing vote on recent court decisions relating to the ACA.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Be Seen Like Never Before: $263 Gets Your Job Posting Connected Nationwide to Nearly 300 Health Care Associations and Professional Societies

Dave Kyllo


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

Rates for posting job vacancies have never been more affordable. Now through July 31, open positions can be posted on the AHCA/NCAL Long Term Care Career Center for $263 per 30-day posting when employers use promo code SUMMER25. That’s 25% off the normal low AHCA/NCAL rate of $350.

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

The $263 for a 30-day posting gives even more value because employers who utilize the AHCA/NCAL Long Term Care Career Center receive free bonus exposure through rotating job listings on AHCA’s home page – the web site where long term care professionals go for news and information. In addition, employers who post vacancies through the AHCA/NCAL LTC Career Center get extra value through free rotating listings on the Long Term Care Career Center home page.

Of course, the LTC Career Center is always free for job seekers and the LTC Career Center features many of the best positions the long term care profession has to offer.

Make the smart, low cost employee recruitment choice. Check out the LTC Career Center today and don’t forget to use promo code SUMMER25 to save 25% on your job postings. Employers may use the code up to three times between now and July 31 on any number of postings.     

Call Robin at 866-964-2765 x2736 for more information about posting job vacancies on the LTC Career Center and other discounted job listing packages. 

Announcing a New Affordable Health Benefit Plan Designed to Help AHCA/NCAL Members Recruit and Retain LTC Staff

Dave Kyllo


AHCA/NCAL Insurance Solutions is pleased to offer a new minimum essential coverage health plan to members. The new plan was developed by Compass Total Benefit Solutions and offers two new affordable options for providing many of the health insurance benefits that are important to long term care employees.

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

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

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

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

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

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

The ability to offer a health insurance plan at little to no cost to employees allows AHCA/NCAL members to market their facilities as superior employers in comparison to competing employers. 

This plan is much less expensive to an employer compared to a traditional employee health benefit plan and costs far less than the expense of an employee who turns over.

Read this Q&A document for more information about Compass plans for AHCA/NCAL members. Versions of the Compass Plan are available in all 50 states. Changes to the Hospital Indemnity benefit vary based on state approvals. To see what's available in your state, please
contact Nick Cianci at 202-898-2841 or Dave Kyllo at 202-898-6312 or email ahcainsurancesolutions@ahca.org.

AHCA/NCAL Convention & Expo: Early Brid Registrations Ends this Friday

Jon-Patrick Ewing


There are only a few more days to register for the AHCA/NCAL 69th Annual Convention & Expo at the early bird rate. All registrations made on or before Friday, July 20 are eligible for the lowest possible rate. After this date, advance registration rates apply. Time is running out, so don’t delay and register online today. Online registration is quick, easy and you can reserve your hotel at the same time.

Attendees can choose from more than 70 sessions by attending education sessions from Sunday through Wednesday, attendees can earn up to 16 administrator CEs (separate ticketed sessions can increase CEs). Hear from top-notch speakers with advanced degrees, advanced experience, and a passion to further the profession. Our faculty is ready to share their considerable expertise with you.

Escape to Sunny San Diego this October and join thousands of long term care and post-acute care professionals for this four-day premiere event of the year. Register Today!



Friday, July 13, 2018

2018 ICF/IID Reports Now Available

Dana Halvorson and Kiran Sreenivas


AHCA's Research Department has released the following June 2018 updates for use by AHCA/NCAL members (Login Required):



The standard health survey report includes Emergency Preparedness (E-tags) this year for the first time.

If you have any questions relating to these reports, which include important ICF/IID state and national data, please contact AHCA’s Research Director, Kiran Sreenivas.

SNF QRP Provider In-Person Training Event, July 31 and August 1, 2018 – Register Now to Attend Remotely

Holly Harmon


The agenda for the upcoming Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF) Quality Reporting Program (QRP) Provider Training in Baltimore, MD, on Tuesday, July 31, and Wednesday, August 1, is now available under the Downloads section of the SNF Quality Reporting Training webpage. The training will start at 8:30 a.m. EDT and end at 4:30 p.m. EDT on July 31, and start at 8:30 a.m. EDT and end at 3:00 p.m. EDT on August 1. The in person event is full with opportunity to register for a waiting list.  There is also opportunity to register to attend remotely. Click here to register for this event.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Webinar for SNF/AL Members - Patient-Driven Payment Model

Lonnita Myles

On July 16 at 2:00pm (eastern),  AHCA staff experts will offer an overview of CMS’ proposed Patient-Driven Payment Model (PDPM) and highlight AHCA comment areas that are of most importance to members. AHCA also will provide an outlook for what may be contained in the final rule. The webinar will be recorded and archived and no CE credit is available.

Speakers: Mike Cheek, Senior Vice President, Reimbursement and Dan Ciolek, Associate Vice President, Therapy Services, AHCA.


Registration link: https://educate.ahcancal.org/p/180716   


Access: SNF/AL Members Only

The AHCA/NCAL Convention & Expo Offers Critical Quality Care Solutions

Danielle Levitan



Providing quality care is the bedrock of what you do. Our Dementia Care, Post-Acute Care, and Quality Improvement tracks will put you on course to provide compassionate person-centered care, achieve your Quality Initiative goals, and operationalize quality improvement to help you achieve and maintain positive gains in all metrics.

We can also help you maximize the use of your organization’s data to drive organizational improvement. Learn about the power of data, how best to use it, and what tools can help.

Convention gives you four days of education, expert speakers, and unlimited opportunities to learn from each other. You are sure to take home immediately implementable strategies to solve even your toughest challenges and improve the quality of care you provide.

So don’t miss out! Register today, and join us in San Diego in October. We look forward to hosting you.

Early Bird Savings Ends July 20




Provider Magazine Wins Award



Provider magazine has won a bronze EXCEL Award from Association Media and Publishing for its comprehensive cover story on pressure ulcer care, “Building the Best Wound Programs.” This is one of just four awards in the Magazine categories for a feature article for 2017.

The 2017 cover story showcased new therapies and developments in wound care and highlighted the critical aspect of caregivers in sync with residents.

The EXCEL Awards recognize excellence and leadership in nonprofit association media, publishing, marketing, and communications. The competition is open to nonprofit organizations and for-profit industry service partners. Provider Magazine received the bronze award during the Annual EXCEL Awards Gala, held June 25 in Washington, D.C.



Check Your CASPER folders in QIES for SNF QRP Non Compliance Letters from CMS

Holly Harmon


CMS is providing notifications to facilities that were determined to be out of compliance with Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF) Quality Reporting Program (QRP) requirements for CY 2017, which will affect their FY 2019 Annual Payment Update (APU). Non-compliance notifications were mailed by the Medicare Administrative Contractors (MACs) and have been placed into facilities' CASPER folders in QIES on July 9, 2018. Facilities that receive a letter of non-compliance may submit a request for reconsideration to CMS via email no later than 11:59pm PST, August 7, 2018. If you receive a notice of non-compliance and would like to request a reconsideration, see the instructions in your notification letter and on the SNF Quality Reporting Reconsideration and Exception & Extension webpage.

CMS Announces FY 2019 NF PPS Pricer Update Effective October 1, 2018

Dan Ciolek


The Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced in a MLN Matters article that they issued instructions to the Medicare Administrative Contractors (MACs) about updates to the Skilled Nursing Facility Prospective Payment System (SNF PPS) rates for Fiscal Year (FY) 2019.  For FY 2019, the SNF payment increase factor is 2.4 percent.  These rate changes (before any facility-level adjustments related to the SNF Value-Based Payment (VBP) and Quality Reporting Program (QRP)) will be effective October 1, 2018.  Billing staff should be aware to look for further details from their MAC.

Background
Annual updates to the PPS rates are required by Section 1888(e) of the Social Security Act, as amended by the Medicare, Medicaid, and SCHIP Balanced Budget Refinement Act of 1999 (BBRA), the Medicare, Medicaid, and State Children’s Health Insurance Plan (SCHIP) Benefits Improvement and Protection Act of 2000 (BIPA), and the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act of 2003 (MMA), relating to Medicare payments and consolidated billing for SNFs.
Each July, CMS publishes the SNF payment rates for the upcoming FY (that is, October 1, 2018, through September 30, 2019) in the Federal Register, available online. The update methodology typically includes a forecast error adjustment whenever the difference between the forecasted and actual change in the SNF market basket exceeds a 0.5-percentage point, and an update to the Federal rates using the latest SNF full market basket adjusted for productivity. However, for FY 2019, the SNF payment increase factor is 2.4 percent, as required by Section 53111 of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018.

Specialized Training is an Effective Tool for Retaining Qualified Workers

Dave Kyllo

Much is being written these days about how businesses are successfully using training and education as an effective employee retention strategy in the competitive labor market. Long term care organizations can capitalize on this trend while building 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. It also provides employees with a higher level of care knowledge and expertise that allows them to grow personally and professionally.

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.

AHCA/NCAL members are encouraged to give the CARES training program a try as part of their employee retention strategies and remember to use discount code AHCA10 when you check out.

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!