Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Spotlight Profiles: Read How Maine Veterans Home - Machias and Sunrise of Gurnee Earned Gold

qualityaward@ahca.org

In 2018, AHCA/NCAL recognized four organizations with a Gold – Excellence in Quality Award, the highest of three distinct levels possible through the AHCA/NCAL National Quality Award Program. Gold recipients must demonstrate that their overall performance, resulting from sustainable, systematic, effective processes, is among the best in the long term and post-acute care profession. This is a significant accomplishment. Only 24 other organizations that have earned the Gold award in the 24-year history of the program.

Two of those organizations, Maine Veterans Home – Machias and Sunrise of Gurnee, are the first free-standing assisted living communities to ever attain Gold in the history of the program. In this competitive, demanding and ever-changing market, how did two assisted living communities, each with a very different business model, achieve and sustain this level of performance?

New spotlight profiles on each organization, available on the Quality Award website, give us some insight into their success. Maine Veterans Home – Machias is a not-for-profit secured assisted living community in rural Maine that specializes in memory impairment care for 30 of our nation’s veterans and spouses. They attribute their success, in part, to their commitment to the Baldrige criteria. Pursuing the criteria helped strengthen their systems and process to deliver high-quality, resident focused care. And they have the results to show, including strong staff retention, high customer satisfaction and strong clinical results. 

Sunrise of Gurnee is a for-profit assisted living community in Gurnee, Illinois that provides Alzheimer’s and Memory Care for 58 residents. Their journey to Gold allowed them to embrace a systematic, evidence-based approach to person-centered care, enhancing quality outcomes through increased collaboration across departments. Celebrating their various successes also strengthened team pride in their work. Gurnee is particularly proud of their high team member engagement score and their low hospital readmission rate. On their most recent Illinois Department of Public Health survey, Sunrise of Gurnee received not just a deficiency-free survey, but a flawless report.

Want to learn more? AHCA/NCAL recently hosted a webinar entitled “Perception vs. Reality: The Quality Award Program for Assisted Living Providers.” Leaders from Maine Veterans Home – Machias and Sunrise of Gurnee shared insights from their journey towards Gold, and how they are finding success in this challenging market. This webinar also breaks down the commonly cited barriers preventing assisted living communities from participating in the program and talks about the many free resources available to help assisted living providers succeed. Access the webinar on ahcancalED anytime on-demand.

Ready to get started? Applicants can benefit by submitting an Intent to Apply by November 8, 2018. While not mandatory, applicants who submit the Intent to Apply save money on their overall application fee and receive extra educational resources. All applicants should read the appropriate application packet in full before submitting an Intent to Apply payment. All Quality Award applications are due January 31, 2019.

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

Important Midterm Elections Only One Week Away

Drew Thies

The midterm elections will be held next Tuesday, November 6 and will decide the makeup of both Chambers of Congress as well as the legislative agenda for the second half of President Trump’s first term.

Every House seat and 33 Senate seats are at stake and the composition of both chambers is so close that a range of possible outcomes are likely. Democrats need to win 23 more seats in the House to flip the chamber and two in the Senate (Vice President Pence would break any ties).

Despite needing to take back a larger portion of seats in the chamber, the path for Democrats to take the House is much easier than it is in the Senate. There are about 75 competitive races in the House. In the Senate, very few vulnerable Republicans are up for election while the Democrats must defend several seats in states Trump won in the 2016 election.

In addition to the Congressional elections, there are 6,665 state positions and thousands of local ones, as well as ballot initiatives. 36 states will elect governors. Specific ballots can be found here.

Several states have early voting options, but different states handle it in varying ways. The New York Times has a guide.

If you have missed the deadline for early voting or would like to vote in person, polling locations can be found here.

Be Survey Ready: Create an Emergency Preparedness Program Plan That Crosswalks 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 CMS” guidelines.  Order the customizable EPP plan today through the AHCA/NCAL Bookstore and save $100 off the regular $495 price.  

Rehospitalization Rates Will Determine SNF Reimbursement for the Next Decade. Smarter RNs Lower Rehospitalization Rates!

Dave Kyllo

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

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

Those specially trained RNs can net tangible results.  Research conducted by AHCA/NCAL in 2016 found that the rehospitalization rates in nursing facilities with at least one RN certified in gerontological nursing by the ANCC consistently have run at least two percentage points lower than the national average since 2011.   AHCA/NCAL believes that assisted living settings may experience similar results by increasing their RNs’ gerontological expertise.
 
AHCA/NCAL Gero Nurse Prep also thoroughly prepares interested RNs to take the ANCC Board certification exam in gerontological nursing. RNs who complete the Gero Nurse Prep program have a passing rate of 96 percent on the ANCC exam on their first try. 

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.
 
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. 

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

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

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 care 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.  Recognize your CARES Dementia Specialists by displaying their credentialing certificates in your lobby and telling your residents’ families about your knowledgeable caregivers. 

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. 

Here’s Where to Learn How Your Rehospitalization Rates Will Affect Your SNF Medicare Part A Payments in 2018 and Beyond

Dave Kyllo

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

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

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

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

Consider This Affordable Solution for Frontline Staff Who Can’t Afford Your Health Plan

Dave Kyllo

AHCA/NCAL Insurance Solutions now offers a 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 plan was built to help AHCA/NCAL members recruit and retain frontline staff who cannot afford major medical health plans. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 
Competent RNs are vital to success with the new CMS Skilled Nursing Facility Value Based Purchasing (VBP) program impacting SNF Part A Medicare reimbursements starting October 1, 2018.  It’s also key for nursing facilities to be able to demonstrate that their nursing staff are competent to care for geriatric patients as part of the CMS survey process for nursing facilities.  Highly competent RNs will also play a critical role under the Patient Driven Payment Model that begins October 1, 2019 for SNF Medicare Part A payments.   
 
Dr. Heidi Keeler, Director, Continuing Nursing Education at the University of Nebraska Medical Center’s College of Nursing, and AHCA/NCAL staff will be presenting a webinar November 8 at 2 p.m. EST discussing the positive impact competent gerontological nurses have on key outcomes, including:
  • Lower re-hospitalization rates
  • Reduced use of off-label anti-psychotics
  • Less use of restraints
  • Higher Overall CMS 5-Star Rating
  • Higher Survey 5-Star Rating
  • Higher Quality-5-Star Rating
The webinar will outline how the AHCA/NCAL Gero Nurse Prep online course thoroughly prepares interested RNs to take the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s (ANCC) Board certification exam in gerontological nursing. RNs who complete the Gero Nurse Prep program have a passing rate of 96 percent on the ANCC exam on their first try. 
 
Taking the AHCA/NCAL Gero Nurse Prep course does not obligate a RN to sit for the ANCC Board certification exam.  Registered nurses who are interested in increasing their knowledge of gerontological nursing practice can simply complete the AHCA/NCAL Gero Nurse Prep course receive 30 nursing contact hours, and increase their skills and knowledge of geriatric nursing.  Gero Nurse Prep students (practicing RNs with at least two years of long term care nursing experience) see a dramatic 24 percent average increase on their pre- and post- course test scores. 

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

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Only 1 Week Left! Submit Your Intent to Apply Today

Erin Prendergast

The Intent to Apply (ITA) for the 2019 AHCA/NCAL National Quality Award application cycle is closing in one week! The deadline to submit an ITA is November 8, 2018 at 8 p.m. Eastern Time. AHCA/NCAL encourages you to submit an ITA through the Quality Award Portal here before the deadline.
Why should I submit an Intent to Apply?
 
While not mandatory, applicants who submit an ITA will save money on their overall application fee and receive extra educational resources. No paperwork or application is needed to submit an ITA through the Quality Award Portal here. Please note:
  • We encourage all applicants to review the application packet in full before submitting an ITA payment. Applications are available at ahcancal.org/qualityaward.
  • The 2019 Quality Award Survey Eligibility, as of the September Nursing Home Compare release, for all award levels is now available on the Quality Award website.
How do I get Started?
  1. Download and review the application packet for your respective award level
    • Check out our self-assessments at the Silver and Gold level to see if you’re ready to apply! 
  2. Log into the Quality Award Portal
  3. Submit a payment for you center in the Quality Award Portal
Key Upcoming 2019 Quality Award Program Dates
  • November 8, 2018: Intent to Apply deadline
  • November 29, 2018: Examiner application deadline
  • January 31, 2019: Bronze, Silver and Gold final application deadline

All deadlines are at 8 p.m. Eastern Time and late submissions are not accepted for any reason.
We hope you will take the next step to continue your quality journey this coming year by submitting an Intent to Apply. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the AHCA/NCAL Quality Award team at qualityaward@ahca.org.

Monday, October 29, 2018

CMS Issues User-Friendly Booklet Summarizing Items and Services Not Covered by Medicare

Dan Ciolek

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recently issued a user-friendly 18-page Medicare Learning Network Booklet summarizing items and services not covered by Medicare.  
This booklet provides information on the four categories of items and services Medicare does not cover and exceptions (items and services Medicare may cover). This material is not an all-inclusive list of all items and services Medicare may or may not cover, but includes links to more detailed policy information related to each subject.  This document would be a useful resource for SNF clinical staff and billers to review and refer to should questions arise regarding coverage for certain items and services. 

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Gero Nurse Prep is a Powerful Resource for Assisted Living RNs!

Dave Kyllo

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

Taking the AHCA/NCAL Gero Nurse Prep course does not obligate a RN to sit for the ANCC Board certification exam. Registered nurses who are interested in increasing their knowledge of gerontological nursing practice can simply complete the AHCA/NCAL Gero Nurse Prep course receive 30 nursing contact hours, and increase their skills and knowledge of geriatric nursing. 

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

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 will experience similar results by increasing their RNs’ gerontological expertise. 

Hospitals and skilled nursing facilities with recently discharged hospital patients are keeping a close watch on their Medicare patients to ensure that they are not readmitted within 30 days of discharge, including those hospitalized Medicare beneficiaries who return to or move into assisted living settings following a hospital stay. Both hospitals and SNFs face financial consequences under Medicare if their rehospitalization rates are too high. Both are also going to be reluctant to refer to with assisted living communities that are not carefully managing hospitalizations and rehospitalizations. 

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

HCS Assisted Living Salary & Benefits Study Underway

Rosanne Zabka

Hospital & Healthcare Compensation Service (HCS) have opened participation for their annual Assisted Living Salary & Benefits Study, and they need your help. Assisted living providers are asked to complete the study’s questionnaire by November 12th. The study is published by HCS and supported by NCAL and LeadingAge. 

There is no cost to participate in the study. Participants may purchase the results at the reduced price of $175, versus the $350 nonparticipant rate. The results will be published in January 2019.Questionnaires can be downloaded at: https://www.hhcsinc.com/survey-questionnaires.html 

The Report covers management salaries, non-management wages, and fringe benefits. Salaries and bonus payments will be reported according to unit size, profit type, revenue size, county, state, region, and nationally. In addition, for-profit and not-for-profit data will be separately covered in the Report. Information on 18 fringe benefits will be reported according to region. Percent increases planned for 2019 will be reported for management, non-management, RNs, LPNs, and CNAs. 

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

The CDC Wants to Hear From You!

Lindsay Schwartz

The most reliable information comes directly from providers like you. In order for policy makers to make solid, evidence-based decisions about long-term care in the U.S., it is essential that the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) collect data from the 2,090 residential care communities invited to participate in the 2018 National Study of Long-Term Care Providers (NSLTCP). If your residential care community was randomly selected to represent not only your residential care community, but also other comparable residential care communities across the United States. Without your help, it may be impossible to make accurate estimates about the amount and types of care provided to residents in residential care communities like yours. NSLTCP data will provide benchmarks, which will allow you to compare your residential care communities with other communities like your own. AHCA/NCAL and the Center for Excellence in Assisted Living (CEAL) support this research and regularly use data from the study.

AALNA/NCAL Caring Together Webinar – Love, Affection, and Sexuality in Long Term Care

Lindsay Schwartz

Please join us for our AALNA/NCAL Caring Together webinar this month focusing on love, affection and sexuality in long term care. One major challenge facing assisted living communities are sexual behaviors among residents and its impact on other residents, their families and staff. In this webinar attendees will learn to recognize and address the inappropriate sexual behaviors. Attendees will understand how to teach staff healthy and safe interventions when they are faced with these issues. The presenter will discuss how positive outcomes can be achieved through partner/family members including how to answer questions frequently asked by partners and family members. The webinar will be held on Tuesday, October 30th at 3-4pm Eastern. Please register prior to the webinar.

Only One Week Left for the Best Sale Prices of 2018 & Nationwide Exposure for Your Job Postings on the Long Term Care Career Center

Dave Kyllo

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

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

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

The $250 for a 30-day posting gives even more value because employers who utilize the AHCA/NCAL Long Term Care Career Center receive free bonus exposure through rotating job listings on AHCA’s home page – the web site where long term care professionals go for news and information.  In addition, employers who post vacancies through the AHCA/NCAL LTC Career Center get extra value through free rotating listings on the Long Term Care Career Center home page. 

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

Make the smart, low cost employee recruitment choice.  Check out the LTC Career Center today and don’t forget to use promo code FALL100 to save $100 on your job postings.  Employers may use the code an unlimited number of times between now and October 31 on any number of postings.           

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

Register Today for the Online AHCA/NCAL Course Designed to Help Avoid the Penalties under the SNF Value Based Purchasing Program for Medicare Part A Payments!

Dave Kyllo

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

This new training program is intended for nursing home administrators, directors of nursing and any other staff (including corporate staff) who are responsible for payment models and rehospitalization reduction efforts.   No specific license is required to take the course and no contact hours or CEUs are awarded for completing the curriculum.
The training program is specifically designed to help long term care professionals:
  • Understand how CMS calculates the measures, risk adjustment, the facility score and payment adjustment.
  • Use and access the CMS SNF VBP feedback reports and the SNF Performance Score Report.
  • Apply the incentive payment multiplier.
  • Use the SNF VBP prediction calculator to estimate the financial impact different SNFRM rates have on your Part A revenue.
  • Adopt best practices to help either avoid a payment penalty or receive an increase in Medicare Part A payments.
Possessing a detailed understanding of SNF VBP is critical to operational success.  Starting October 1, 2018, all SNFs received a payment adjustment to their SNF Medicare Part A claims ranging from a 2 percent cut to potentially a 1.6 percent increase for FY 2019 based on rehospitalization rates in prior years. CMS will recalculate the payment adjustment each fiscal year hereafter for ten years.

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

The individual who wants to take the SNF VBP course must login to ahcancalED and register for the course with their AHCA/NCAL usernames and passwords.  For assistance obtaining AHCA/NCAL usernames and passwords, please e-mail educate@ahca.org with your name and facility contact information.  Registrations for SNF VBP cannot be done by another person or under another person’s ahcancalED login.

Payment is made in ahcancalED upon registration via credit card or check. If paying by check, the course may be accessed after the check is received and approved by AHCA.

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

Put a Stop to Utility Company Overcharges with Cleary Energy!

Dave Kyllo

Most long term care facilities (about 75%) are being overcharged for one or more of their utilities.  Cleary Energy is a AHCA/NCAL preferred provider and has recouped on average 4% to 8% savings on utilities for long term care facility customers. That’s a significant savings! 

Cleary Energy performs utility bill audits by examining utility, supplier and government charges on utility bills to obtain refunds and/or credits and rate reductions.  Specifically, Cleary Energy audits a facility’s electric, natural gas, propane, heating oil, diesel fuel, water, sewer and telecommunications bills. 

The program is designed to save AHCA/NCAL members significant money on their utility bills without adding new expenses to their budgets.  Cleary Energy guarantees savings or its auditing services are free.  Cleary Energy’s fees are based on facility savings on their utility bills. 

AHCA/NCAL member facilities enter into an audit agreement with Cleary Energy, which is a shared savings agreement that lasts for a period of three years.  If no refund, savings or credits are received, the AHCA/NCAL member facility owes nothing to Cleary Energy for conducting the audit and AHCA/NCAL members will have the peace of mind of knowing that their facilities are not being overcharged for their utilities.   

The process for engaging Cleary Energy to conduct a utility audit is easy.  Most of the information Cleary Energy needs to complete an audit comes directly from the utilities or suppliers. 

Cleary Energy’s long term care experience sets the company apart. The founder of Cleary Energy has 40 years of long term care experience and has spent the last seven years specializing in finding energy cost savings for skilled nursing, assisted living and senior living centers.  That in-depth knowledge of long term care operations enables Cleary Energy to find the greatest costs savings on utility expenses for AHCA/NCAL members because Cleary Energy knows where to look for savings. 

Take advantage of this unique no-risk opportunity to save on utility costs.  Contact Cleary Energy today in one of the three ways listed below. 

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 96 percent of health care professionals who have completed the course recommending IPCO to their colleagues. 

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

The training course registration fee is $450 for AHCA/NCAL members and $650 for non-members.  There are no refunds and no transfers.  Payment and registration must be made online in ahcancalED. The IPCO course can be accessed here or at: https://educate.ahcancal.org/p/ipco.  
Discounted group purchase rates are available for groups of 25 or more.  Those interested in making a group purchase should email AHCA at educate@ahca.org.  

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!

PDPM Will Require a Greater Focus on Clinical Care Management. Boost Your RNs’ Clinical Care Management Skills with Gero Nurse Prep!

Dave Kyllo

The new CMS patient driven payment model (PDPM) takes effect October 1, 2019 for skilled nursing facilities and will dramatically change how Medicare Part A payments are determined. That change moves away from the current system that focuses heavily on therapy minutes to a system that will focus on a wide range of clinical characteristics. This transformation in payment methodology will make having competent, proactive RNs and other clinical staff even more vital to a SNF’s financial success.
 
How do you bring your RNs up to this level of competency? AHCA/NCAL Gero Nurse Prep can help.  This on-line education program does much more than just prepare RNs to take the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) board certification exam in gerontological nursing. It increases RNs’ knowledge of gerontological nursing practice.  Gero Nurse Prep students see a dramatic 24 percent average increase between their pre- and post-course test scores. That’s a remarkable improvement considering that many Gero Nurse Prep students are RNs who have several years of long term care experience.
 
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. While there are requirements for RNs taking the ANCC exam, any RN who wants to strengthen his/her geriatric nursing skill set may take the Gero Nurse Prep course.  

For those RNs who want ANCC Board certification, AHCA/NCAL Gero Nurse Prep also thoroughly prepares interested RNs to take the ANCC Board certification exam in gerontological nursing. RNs who complete the Gero Nurse Prep program have a passing rate of 96 percent on the ANCC exam on their first try. 

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

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

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

70th Annual Convention & Expo - Call for Presentations

Teresa Eyet

AHCA/NCAL will hold its 70th Annual Convention and Expo at The Orange County Convention Center, Orlando, FL. As a long term care professional, you understand the trends, issues, and challenges facing our profession. Now is your chance to share ideas that reflect your success stories and professional insight, as well as ideas and programs that enhance the long term and post-acute care service delivery. We are particularly interested in proposals that reflect and will help support providers in achieving the AHCA Quality Initiative goals the Quality Initiative for Assisted Living, and Advancing the Core Values of the Baldrige Performance Excellence Criteria. Click here to submit your proposal by the deadline of November 30, 2018.

November is National Family Caregivers Month

Dana Halvorson

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

OSHA Launches Program Targeting High Injury and Illness Rates

Lilly Hummel

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

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

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

Friday, October 19, 2018

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

Lilly Hummel

The US Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General (OIG) has released its updated List of Excluded Individuals and Entities (LEIE) database file, which reflects all OIG exclusions and reinstatement actions up to, and including, those taken in September 2018. This new file replaces the updated LEIE database file available for download last month. Individuals and entities that have been reinstated to the federal health care programs are not included in this file.

The updated files are posted on OIG’s website at http://www.oig.hhs.gov/exclusions/exclusions_list.asp, and healthcare providers have an “affirmative duty” to check to ensure that excluded individuals are not working in their facilities or face significant fines.

Instructional videos explaining how to use the online database and the downloadable files are available at http://oig.hhs.gov/exclusions/download.asp.

Given the penalties and recent government warnings, long term care providers should check the LEIE on a regular basis.

Hurricane Relief Efforts - Supplies/Donations Needed

Erin Prendergast

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

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

For more information about donating supplies or making a financial contribution, visit the FHCA Hurricane Michael Relief web page or contact FHCA at (850) 224-3907 or info@fhca.org.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

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



Date and Time: 10/19 at 2pm ET 

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

Learning Objectives:

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

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

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

Speakers:

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

· Nicolette Merino, Avamere Health Services

· Kimberly Dilg, Executive Director, Sunrise of Gurnee

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

Who Should View This Event:

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

Legislation Introduced to Address CNA Training Program Lock-Outs

Drew Thies

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dave Kyllo

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dave Kyllo

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

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

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

The $250 for a 30-day posting gives even more value because employers who utilize the AHCA/NCAL Long Term Care Career Center receive free bonus exposure through rotating job listings on AHCA’s home page – the web site where long term care professionals go for news and information.  In addition, employers who post vacancies through the AHCA/NCAL LTC Career Center get extra value through free rotating listings on the Long Term Care Career Center  home page. 

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

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

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

Dave Kyllo

AHCA/NCAL Gero Nurse Prep does much more than just prepare RNs to take the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) board certification exam in gerontological nursing
It increases experienced RNs’ knowledge of gerontological nursing practice.  Gero Nurse Prep students see a dramatic 24 percent average increase on their pre- and post-test scores. 
Those specially trained RNs can net tangible results.  Research conducted by AHCA/NCAL in 2016 found that the rehospitalization rates in nursing facilities with at least one RN certified in gerontological nursing by the ANCC consistently have run at least two percentage points lower than the national average since 2011.   AHCA/NCAL believes that assisted living settings may experience similar results by increasing their RNs’ gerontological expertise.
 
Lower rehospitalization rates are key to success under the new CMS Value-Based Purchasing (VBP) program.  CMS is tracking skilled nursing rehospitalization rates for the SNF VBP program and is using those rates to determine Medicare Part A payment levels as of October 1, 2018.

AHCA/NCAL Gero Nurse Prep also thoroughly prepares interested RNs to take the ANCC Board certification exam in gerontological nursing. RNs who complete the Gero Nurse Prep program have a passing rate of 96 percent on the ANCC exam on their first try. 

ANCC is the world’s largest and most prestigious nurse credentialing organization and a subsidiary of the American Nurses Association.  Less than one percent of America’s RNs are board certified in gerontological nursing.  That means having an ANCC Board certified RN can easily give providers an edge in the marketplace. 

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

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

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

Dave Kyllo

Competent RNs are vital to success with the new CMS Skilled Nursing Facility Value Based Purchasing (VBP) program impacting SNF Part A Medicare reimbursements starting October 1, 2018.  It’s also key for nursing facilities to be able to demonstrate that their nursing staff are competent to care for geriatric patients as part of the CMS survey process for nursing facilities. 
Dr. Heidi Keeler, Director, Continuing Nursing Education at the University of Nebraska Medical Center’s College of Nursing, and AHCA/NCAL staff will be presenting a webinar November 8 at 2 p.m. EST discussing the positive impact competent gerontological nurses have on key outcomes, including:
  • Lower re-hospitalization rates
  • Reduced use of off-label anti-psychotics
  • Less use of restraints
  • Higher Overall CMS 5-Star Rating
  • Higher Survey 5-Star Rating
  • Higher Quality-5-Star Rating
The webinar will outline how the AHCA/NCAL Gero Nurse Prep online course thoroughly prepares interested RNs to take the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s (ANCC) Board certification exam in gerontological nursing. RNs who complete the Gero Nurse Prep program have a passing rate of 96 percent on the ANCC exam on their first try. 

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

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

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Post-Convention Survey

Jon-Patrick Ewing

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

A separate survey will be sent out to exhibitors.

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

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

Dan Ciolek

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

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

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

Erin Prendergast

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

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

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

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

Monday, October 15, 2018

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

Meghan Karstetter

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

Secure Your Umbrella License with the Motion Picture Licensing Corporation

Lilly Hummel

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

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

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

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

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