Wednesday, July 17, 2019

CMS Releases Proposed Rule for Requirements of Participation and Final Arbitration Rule

Yesterday, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued the proposed rule that is intended to ease some of the pressures of the Requirements of Participation (RoPs) and delays implementation of Phase 3 by a year: Medicare and Medicaid Programs: Requirements for Long-Term Care Facilities: Regulatory Provisions to Promote Efficiency, and Transparency.

Many of the changes that AHCA advocated for are included in this proposed rule.

The proposed rule includes changes to the current long term care (LTC) requirements of participation and survey process designed to reduce excessively burdensome and overly prescriptive regulations while allowing centers to focusing on providing high-quality care. Some of the significant proposed changes include:
  • Reducing paperwork burden by only requiring facilities to send discharge notices to the State LTC Ombudsman for "facility-initiated involuntary transfers and discharges."
  • Revising the requirements for new staffing positions that were created by the final rule released in October 2016, including removing requirements for a compliance officer and compliance liaisons, removing specific duties required of the grievance official, and revising certain training requirements for the director or food and nutrition services.
  • Removing overly prescriptive details in the Quality Assurance and Performance Improvement (QAPI) requirements.
  • Updating portions of the enforcement regulations, including those related to the informal dispute resolution and independent informal dispute resolution processes.
As mentioned, CMS has delayed implementation of some Phase 3 requirements for one year. The total estimated cost savings over each of the first five years is approximately $644 million. AHCA's press statement on the proposed rule can be found here.

CMS also issued yesterday the final rule that reverses the Obama-era ban on the use of arbitration agreements. This rule makes it very clear that we have the ability to use pre-dispute agreements, while at the same time adding provisions intended to make sure that residents and/or their representatives understand the agreements into which they are entering. Additionally, the rule prevents a facility from making the signing of an agreement a precondition of admission. AHCA's press statement on the final rule can be found here.


2020 AHCA/NCAL Quality Award Applications and Criteria Series Available Aug. 1

Erin Prendergast

Become the best in quality and get ready for the 2020 AHCA/NCAL National Quality Award Program cycle! It’s just around the corner – applications and the criteria series will be available August 1, 2019.

Participating in the Quality Award Program has so many benefits:
  • It provides a proven framework that organizations can use to make improvements in any clinical, quality or other operational issue (i.e. staff engagement, customer satisfaction, hospital readmissions).
  • It prepares organizations to meet regulatory requirements and navigate a changing market. 
  • It serves as a team building activity to engage staff across all levels of the organization.
  • Organizations gain national recognition and external validation for their care and services.
  • It serves as a marketing resource for consumers, referral sources and other key stakeholders.
  • Participants receive customized feedback with their top strengths and improvement areas.
If you’re interested in other ways to get involved, consider becoming an Examiner for the 2020 program cycle. Examiners play a significant role in reviewing Quality Award applications and impacting quality improvement in organizations across the country.

Get ready for August 1 by visiting ahcancal.org/qualityaward!
 

AHCA/NCAL Early Bird Registration Ends Next Friday

Jon-Patrick Ewing

Don’t miss everything we have planned for you at the 70th AHCA/NCAL Convention & Expo! Early bird registration ends next Friday, July 26.

Join your fellow superheroes, warriors, and champions of quality care this fall in Orlando, FL. Together, we will take on the challenges facing long term and post-acute care providers. From the Patient Driven Payment Model (PDPM) to Requirements of Participation (ROP) and critical workforce issues, you’ll gain new tools and strategies that will help you tackle any hurdle in a single bound.

Don’t wait any longer, register before the early bird deadline and you can save $200.*

** Some restrictions apply see our official website.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zUcrkdtV718&feature=youtu.be

The Number of Open LTC Jobs Nationwide Drops Again This Month

Dave Kyllo

There are 37, 292 open jobs posted by direct employers in the nursing care facility (including SNFs), assisted living, and continuing care retirement community (CCRC) sectors this month according to the latest Gartner TalentNeuron statistics.  That represents a decrease of 1,711 open jobs compared to June figures and a decrease of nearly 12,000 open jobs since May.
        
The Gartner TalentNeuron statistics also show an estimated 2,101,000 potential candidates in the nation’s workforce whose skills likely match the qualifications being sought by long term care employers. Figures show that 2,153 direct employers are competing for candidates this month which is a decrease of more than 300 employers over June figures.  The average number of days a job was posted was 33 days in July – two days longer than in June.
          
Finding qualified employees is one of the greatest challenges facing long term care providers and labor statistics prove that the challenge continues in a strong economy with a low unemployment rate.  Lead them to your job vacancy through the AHCA/NCAL Long Term Care Career Center.
 
The LTC Career Center is designed to help AHCA/NCAL members be competitive in attracting qualified candidates to fill their health care positions.  Job postings receive far greater exposure than local ads and job boards because the LTC Career Center connects to a national network of nearly 300 national and state health care organizations and societies where serious candidates look for health care jobs. Employers are also able to post vacancies as they occur and search resumes on the network.

Rates for posting job vacancies are affordable at $350 for a 30-day job posting.  Employers who utilize the site also receive complimentary additional exposure through rotating new job listings on AHCA’s home page – the web site where long term care professionals go for news and information.  In addition, employers who post vacancies through the center receive free bonus rotating listings on the Long Term Care Career Center  home page. 

Of course, the LTC Career Center is always free for job seekers and the LTC Career Center  features many of the best positions the long term care profession has to offer.  Job seekers are using the site with nearly 60,000 searchable resumes on the National Healthcare Career Network this month.  

Join the high profile employers that use AHCA/NCAL’s premier member resource to find top talent.  Check out the LTC Career Center or 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.   

You Must be ICD-10 Coding Ready to be PDPM Ready

Dave Kyllo

The October 1 PDPM implementation date is less than three months away and training key staff now to be ICD-10 proficient is critical. The American Health Care Association (AHCA) and the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) are offering ICD-10 on-line training. Because staff needs differ based their coding responsibilities, two specific trainings have been developed – one training for coders and a shorter less intense course for non-coders. 

AHCA/AHIMA ICD-10 Training for PDPM – Coder is an in-depth course designed for SNF billing staff, MDS staff, Nursing and Therapy staff, and Admissions and Discharge staff.  The course contains seven modules and comes with 16 CNEs for nurses and 16 AHIMA CEs upon successful completion.  The cost is $499 for AHCA members and $599 for non-members.

AHCA/AHIMA ICD-10 Training for PDPM – Non-Coder is a four-hour course developed for individuals who need to lead a successful PDPM transition and is intended for Administrators, DONs, and other management staff.  The course for non-coders comes with 4 CNEs for nurses, 4 AHHIMA CEs or 4.5 NAB approved CEs upon successful completion.  The cost is $199 for AHCA members and $249 for non-members.

With thousands of codes and changes based on the new Patient Driven Payment Model (PDPM), accurate ICD-10 coding is essential. PDPM relies on accurate patient assessments and diagnosis on the MDS and ICD-10 coding to determine payment for each patient. Inaccurate coding can negatively impact a facility’s bottom line and resident care.
To learn more or register for either on-line training, please visit the websites below.    
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. 

Master PDPM with AHCA’s Virtual PDPM Training

Dave Kyllo

The new Patient Driven Payment Model (PDPM) for skilled nursing facilities begins October 1, 2019. The PDPM system will rely on more than 180 MDS item fields and completely transforms the existing system Medicare Part A payment system for skilled nursing facilities. Staff roles and facility processes must be substantially modified to operate effectively under PDPM.

Did you miss the in-person PDPM training in your state or attend the training but feel like you could benefit from taking the course again?  AHCA’s Virtual PDPM Training prepares AHCA SNF members for PDPM and mirrors the in-person trainings that have been held for AHCA provider members in almost every state earlier this year. The virtual training allows AHCA SNF members to learn about the critical steps necessary on the pathway to success under PDPM.

Included with the virtual training is access to all materials on AHCA’s PDPM Academy. The PDPM Academy is where updates, tools, webinars and other supporting materials are housed. AHCA SNF members who attend the Virtual PDPM Training will also be able to join in free monthly PDPM Academy webinars hosted by AHCA. 

With less than three months left before PDPM implementation, AHCA’s Virtual PDPM Training can set your facility up for success. This training is available to AHCA SNF provider members only. The cost for the training – whether first time or repeated - is $350. The training has been approved for 8 NAB CE credits. 

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. 

Root Cause Analysis Advice from HealthCap®

Dave Kyllo

A recent edition of Angie’s Blog from HealthCap focuses on the effectiveness of the Fishbone Diagram as a tool in conducting root cause analyses. Angie’s Blog is a regular source of news and information about reducing risk from HealthCap Director of Risk Management Angie Szumlinksi.  She explains in her posting how fishbone diagrams are used to graphically display potential causes of a problem in the analysis phase of an event investigation.
To find more information like this, check out the Resource and Education Center on the HealthCap website. There you will find education (including ANCC-approved sessions), manuals, best practices and policies. 
HealthCap is endorsed by AHCA/NCAL and is the premier program solely dedicated to providing liability insurance to senior care communities.  One of the reasons HealthCap gets such great results is its focus on quality care as the foundation of good risk management practices.  HealthCap clients have the fewest liability claims in the industry and HealthCap settles claims for approximately one-half the industry average. 

HealthCap is owned and governed by the senior care providers insured by HealthCap.  AHCA/NCAL members get a bonus advantage by always receiving a 10% discount on their HealthCap premiums.
 
HealthCap clients also receive:
  • Risk management services that make a financial difference
  • An annual on-site risk consult
  • Unlimited telephone support
  • Accredited in-service education
For more information about HealthCap, contact Peter Feeney at Peter.Feeney@chelsearhone.com
 

Updates to the OMHA Case Processing Manual

The Office of Medicare Hearings and Appeals (OMHA) has published ten revised chapters of the OMHA Case Processing Manual (OCPM). The revised chapters, which were effective July 8, 2019, are:
  • Chapter 4; Parties 
  • Chapter 5; Representatives 
  • Chapter 6; CMS, CMS Contractor, and Plan Roles 
  • Chapter 7; Adjudication Time Frames, Case Prioritization, and Escalations 
  • Chapter 9; Request and Correspondence Intake, Docketing, and Assignment 
  • Chapter 11; Procedural Review and Determinations 
  • Chapter 14; Scheduling and Noticing for Prehearing Conferences and Hearings 
  • Chapter 17; Dismissals 
  • Chapter 18; Requests for Information and Remands
  • Chapter 20; Post-Adjudication Actions
This manual standardizes the day-to-day procedures for carrying out adjudicative functions, in accordance with applicable statutes, regulations, and OMHA directives, and gives OMHA staff direction for processing appeals at the OMHA level of adjudication. As part of an ongoing effort to make the manual more user friendly and reflect recent regulatory changes, OMHA is in the process of drafting new OCPM chapters and revising existing chapters under a new format.

New and revised OCPM chapters can be accessed at https://www.hhs.gov/about/agencies/omha/the-appeals-process/case-processing-manual/index.html.

Chapters that were published before May 10, 2018, can be accessed at:
https://www.hhs.gov/about/agencies/omha/the-appeals-process/case-processing-manual/2017/index.html.

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 June 2019. 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.

As a best practice, long term care providers should check the LEIE on a regular basis.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Webinar on Delivering Culturally Competent Direct Care

Thursday, July 25, 2019, 12:30 PM - 2:00 PM ET

Register for this event

Nearly half of individuals dually eligible for Medicare and Medicaid need Long-term Services and Supports (LTSS) for help with daily tasks such as dressing, bathing, and eating. Direct care workers provide most of this help. This event hosted by Resources for Integrated Care (RIC), will review strategies for providing services with cultural sensitivity and it will discuss training direct care workers to achieve cultural competence. Speakers will share strategies for meeting LTSS needs in a variety of settings and while respecting diverse preferences. A direct care worker, along with a beneficiary, will share experiences and recommendations on providing care.

Featured Speakers:
  • MariaElena Del Valle, Organizational Change Consultant, PHI
  • Andrew Adams, Chief of Staff, Homebridge
  • Direct care worker, Homebridge

Registration is required to receive the webinar information. Follow the registration link above to view CE credit information, sign up, and learn more. Questions? Contact Resources for Integrated Care

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

AHCA Has the Solution for Teaching New Staff about SNF Value Based Purchasing

Dave Kyllo

Need to teach a new employee about value based purchasing?  AHCA has an education program designed to help skilled nursing facility staff succeed under the 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 CMS SNF VBP program along with helpful tools, documents, and primary source references to the program. 

This 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.  SNF payment adjustments began on Oct. 1, 2018 for all 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) hereafter 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

CARES® Online Dementia Training Programs are AHCA/NCAL Recommended, CMS Recognized & Members Save 15% on all Purchases

Dave Kyllo

AHCA/NCAL members receive 15% off the purchase of any Healthcare Interactive® CARES online training program by using promo code AHCA15 at checkout.  CARES is the only online dementia training to be recognized by CMS.  In addition, CARES online training is recommended by AHCA/NCAL to help reduce the off-label use of antipsychotics.
 
HealthCare Interactive’s CARES® Dementia Basics™ module is recognized by the Alzheimer’s Association® for successfully incorporating the evidence-based Dementia Care Practice Recommendations in the following topic areas: Alzheimer’s and dementia, person-centered care, assessment and care planning, activities of daily living, and behaviors and communication. Providers who train their staff with HealthCare Interactive’s CARES® Dementia Basics™ online training program are eligible to purchase Alzheimer’s Association essentiALZ® certification exams.

CARES training is unique because it includes direct video “before and after” training with an easy-to-use, easy-to-apply approach to dementia care called the CARES® Approach®. The CARES Approach can be used in any situation, with any person with dementia, at any stage of the disease.  CARES has six training modules including:
CARES is affordable.  When AHCA/NCAL members purchase CARES® Dementia Basics™ 25-user package using the AHCA15 promo code, the final cost is less than $21 per staff person for four hours of highly quality dementia care training.  Bundle the BASICS training with another training module and the cost is only $34 per staff member. 

CARES is also the only dementia care training to make extensive use of actual footage of real residents and real staff members (no actors) for truly authentic virtual training environment. Staff members will learn person-centered techniques to address issues, which often leads to behavior such as biting, kicking, punching, screaming, public urination and sexual behaviors.

The training programs are easy to use, can be used from any computer, tablet, or mobile device and can be started and stopped as often as users wish. To experience the CARES online training difference, test drive the first CARES Dementia Basics module at no cost

Take advantage of the new lower prices for AHCA/NCAL members.  Don’t forget to use promo code AHCA15 to receive 15% off your order.  Feel free to call HealthCare Interactive at (952) 928-7722 with any questions about the training programs.

Train Your Back-Up Infection Preventionist Now to Ensure Your Facility is ROP Phase III Ready

 Dave Kyllo

Phase III Requirements of Participation (ROP) take effect November 28, 2019 and mandate that every nursing facility have a designated and specially trained Infection Preventionist who is running a comprehensive infection prevention and control program.  AHCA’s Infection Preventionist Specialized Training (IPCO) program is specifically designed to prepare individuals to effectively implement and manage an Infection Prevention & Control program in nursing facilities.

AHCA/NCAL recommends that each nursing facility train at least two Infection Preventionists through AHCA’s Infection Preventionist Specialized Training (IPCO) program. It is important to have at least two people trained in the event that if one specially trained individual leaves, the facility will not be found to be out of compliance with the requirement to have at least one designated Infection Preventionist who is specially trained and that meets the other requirements set forth by the CMS Requirements of Participation for this mandatory role.

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.  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 nursing center’s Infection Prevention & Control program.  

Another reason for nursing facility staff to take the course now is to reduce the risk of receiving 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 infection prevention and control mandates began, more than one-third of surveys conducted across the nation have included a F880 Infection Prevention & Control citation.  The primary change coming this November under Phase III ROP is the designation of a specially trained Infection Preventionist who must work at least part-time at the facility.  Facilities will continue to be surveyed on all the new infection prevention and control requirements and the antibiotic stewardship requirements. 

While CDC/CMS released a free infection prevention training course in March that members can access, AHCA’s training provides more in-depth learning.  AHCA’s course is the only specialized training for the long term and post-acute care setting that provides in-depth learning about the leadership and culture change elements necessary to create a comprehensive and sustainable infection prevention and control program that covers all operational components of a nursing facility.  

The AHCA training program gets rave reviews with nearly 97 percent of health care professionals who have completed the course recommending IPCO to their colleagues. The registration fee is $450 for AHCA/NCAL members and $650 for non-members.  There are no refunds and no transfers. 

Payment and registration are made online at 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.  

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. 

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

#WhyICare: Judy Digioia, Charge Nurse

Rachel Reeves and Cristina Crawford

AHCA/NCAL’s #WhyICare workforce campaign broadcasts the stories of individuals who work in long term care, sharing what inspires them about their careers and how they got to where they are today.

This week, we’re pleased to introduce Judy Digioia, a charge nurse at Maine Veterans Home – Machias. From working in an antique shop to getting her education in nursing, Judy’s 15-year-long career in long term care developed from her desire to help others and her community. Click here to watch and share Judy’s inspiring story.



Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to hear more stories as we continue to release new #WhyICare videos in the coming weeks.  Click here to see more #WhyICare videos on YouTube.

Conscience Rule Postponed

Lilly Hummel

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has postponed the conscience requirements affecting recipients of federal funds, including Medicaid and Medicare dollars. A coalition of states, health care groups, and civil rights groups filed a lawsuit in California claiming the rule is unconstitutional. The rule was scheduled to go into effect later this month. Specific to long term and post acute care providers, this rule affects conscience protections related: to assisted suicide and related counseling; performance of advanced directives; specified programs such as hearing screening, occupational illness testing, vaccination, and mental health treatment; and religious nonmedical health care providers and their patients from certain requirements under Medicare and Medicaid that may burden their exercise of their religious beliefs regarding medical treatment.

AHCA/NCAL Convention Early Bird Registration Ends July 26

Jon-Patrick Ewing

You can save $200* when you register for the 70th AHCA/NCAL Convention & Expo before July 26th. Take advantage of the Early Bird discount, and get the maximum savings, but hurry — you only have about two weeks! Attendees can save $100 off the Premium/Full Registration Package when registering before the Early Bird deadline. In addition to this discount, you can also save another $100 when you stay within the AHCA/NCAL hotel room block.

If you haven’t registered for the AHCA/NCAL Convention & Expo, don’t wait any longer. There’s no easier way to save.

For a full schedule of AHCA/NCAL events, visit our official website.

PS -- Consider bringing your family. You can arrive early, or extend your trip and take advantage of discounted tickets for Orlando’s many theme parks.

See you in Orlando, October 13-16.

** Some restrictions apply, visit our website for complete information.



SNF QRP PDPM MDS Provider In-Person Training Event, August 13 and 14, 2019

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) will be hosting a 2-day SNF quality reporting program (QRP) in-person ‘Train the Trainer’ event for providers on August 13 and 14, 2019, at the Four Seasons Hotel, 200 International Drive, Baltimore, MD 21202. This event will be open to all SNF providers, associations, and organizations. 

Like the May 2019 SNF QRP Provider Training, the primary focus of this 'Train-the-Trainer’ event will be to provide those responsible for training staff at SNFs with information about:

  • The transition to the Patient Driven Payment Model (PDPM) which becomes effective on October 1, 2019.
  • A review of SNF QRP changes and updates to the Minimum Data Set (MDS) 3.0 Version 1.16.0, which became effective October 1, 2018.
  • An overview of the eleven SNF QRP Quality Measures.
  • An interactive session on the use of reports to identify opportunities for process improvement and utilize information contained in reports available via the Certification And Survey Provider Enhanced Reports (CASPER) system to develop quality improvement plans.

During this event, presenters will incorporate additional information into their presentations based on questions received from participants during the May training.  A full agenda can be accessed here.  Training will start at 8:00 a.m. EDT and end at 5:15 p.m. EDT on Tuesday, August 13.  On Wednesday, August 14, training will start at 8:30 a.m. EDT and end at 3:30 p.m. EDT. Following the training on August 14, there will be an optional “We Want to Hear From You” session from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. EDT.

Registration for this in-person training is limited to 250 people on a first-come, first-serve basis. CMS has negotiated a discounted room rate of $149 per night with the hotel for a limited number of rooms.  To receive the room discount, you must reserve your sleeping room with the hotel no later than 6:00 p.m. EDT on July 22, 2019. Instructions to reserve a hotel room at the discounted rate will be sent to you in a confirmation email once you register for the training.  When registering, please enter your name as you would like it to appear on your name tag and Completion of Certificate. 

For those not able to attend in person, a URL to access the webcast will be provided prior to the event

Whether you participate in-person or via the webcast, CMS asks that you register for this event.  CLICK HERE to register ** Requests for reasonable accommodations must be received at least 5 business days prior to the beginning of the event (no later than Tuesday, August 6, 2019) and can be emailed to Chandler Bishop at PACTraining@EconometricaInc.com with a copy to Stacy.Cole@cms.hhs.gov.**  If you have questions or need additional information regarding the logistics of this training session, please email the PAC Training mailbox at PACTraining@econometricainc.com.

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Taking the Initiative: Achieving Customer Satisfaction Success

The AHCA/NCAL Quality Initiative is a national, multi-year e ffort to further improve quality of care in America’s long term and post-acute care centers. Since the launch of the Initiative in 2012, members have been challenged to meet measurable targets in key areas such as hospitalizations, customer satisfaction, functional outcomes, and antipsychotics usage.

Sarah Schumann, Director of Operations at Brookside Inn in Colorado, shares the key to their success with the customer satisfaction CoreQ survey. With more than 95% satisfaction, Brookside Inn finds communicating in all respects – with residents, staff, and families – as a crucial factor for achieving success with AHCA/NCAL’s Quality Initiative Customer Satisfaction measure. Watch here.


Tuesday, July 2, 2019

#WhyICare: Jessicah Michira, Director of Nursing

Cristina Crawford and Rachel Reeves

AHCA/NCAL’s #WhyICare workforce campaign broadcasts the stories of individuals who work in long term care, sharing what inspires them about their careers and how they got to where they are today.

This week, we’re pleased to introduce Jessicah Michira’s story. Jessicah is the Director of Nursing at the Lorelton Assisted Living in Delaware. Starting out as a CNA, Jessicah came to find that her position was more than just a job. Her passion and motivation to make a difference led her to rise as a leader in long term care and encourage others to do the same. Click here to watch and share Jessicah’s story.



Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to hear more stories as we continue to release new #WhyICare videos in the coming weeks.  Click here to see more #WhyICare videos on YouTube.

AHCA/NCAL Members Have a No-Risk Opportunity to Stop Overcharges on Water, Sewer, Gas, Electric & Telecom Bills

Dave Kyllo

Most long term care facilities (about 75%) are being overcharged for one or more of their utilities and these overpayments are wasted dollars out the door. Cleary Energy is an AHCA/NCAL preferred provider and has recouped on average 4% to 8% savings on utilities for long term care facility customers by ending the overcharges.

Providers don’t receive better service or any other benefit for over paying utility companies. The good news is that putting an end to the overpayments is easy.

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. 

Cleary Energy has been finding huge savings for AHCA/NCAL members, so now is the time to 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. 

Take the ICD-10 Coding Training Designed for PDPM Success!

Dave Kyllo

The October 1 PDPM implementation date is less than three months away and training key staff now to be ICD-10 proficient is critical. The American Health Care Association (AHCA) and the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) are offering ICD-10 on-line training. Because staff needs differ based their coding responsibilities, two specific trainings have been developed – one training for coders and a shorter less intense course for non-coders. 

AHCA/AHIMA ICD-10 Training for PDPM – Coder is an in-depth course designed for SNF billing staff, MDS staff, Nursing and Therapy staff, and Admissions and Discharge staff.  The course contains seven modules and comes with 16 CNEs for nurses and 16 AHIMA CEs upon successful completion.  The cost is $499 for AHCA members and $599 for non-members.

AHCA/AHIMA ICD-10 Training for PDPM – Non-Coder is a four-hour course developed for individuals who need to lead a successful PDPM transition and is intended for Administrators, DONs, and other management staff.  The course for non-coders comes with 4 CNEs for nurses, 4 AHHIMA CEs or 4.5 NAB approved CEs upon successful completion.  The cost is $199 for AHCA members and $249 for non-members.

With thousands of codes and changes based on the new Patient Driven Payment Model (PDPM), accurate ICD-10 coding is essential. PDPM relies on accurate patient assessments and diagnosis on the MDS and ICD-10 coding to determine payment for each patient. Inaccurate coding can negatively impact a facility’s bottom line and resident care.
To learn more or register for either on-line training, please visit the websites below.    
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. 
Connections July 3, 2019


The PDPM Clock is Ticking…AHCA’s Virtual Training Prepares SNFs for PDPM

Dave Kyllo

The new Patient Driven Payment Model (PDPM) for skilled nursing facilities begins October 1, 2019. The PDPM system will rely on more than 180 MDS item fields and completely transforms the existing system Medicare Part A payment system for skilled nursing facilities. Staff roles and facility processes must be substantially modified to operate effectively under PDPM.

Did you miss the in-person PDPM training in your state or attend the training but feel like you could benefit from taking the course again?  AHCA’s Virtual PDPM Training prepares AHCA SNF members for PDPM and mirrors the in-person trainings that have been held for AHCA provider members in almost every state earlier this year. The virtual training allows AHCA SNF members to learn about the critical steps necessary on the pathway to success under PDPM.

Included with the virtual training is access to all materials on AHCA’s PDPM Academy. The PDPM Academy is where updates, tools, webinars and other supporting materials are housed. AHCA SNF members who attend the Virtual PDPM Training will also be able to join in free monthly PDPM Academy webinars hosted by AHCA. 

With less than three months left before PDPM implementation, AHCA’s Virtual PDPM Training can set your facility up for success. This training is available to AHCA SNF provider members only. The cost for the training – whether first time or repeated - is $350. The training has been approved for 8 NAB CE credits. 

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. 

CMS Announces New Training Event — Updated Section GG Web-Based Training Course

Dan Ciolek
 
On June 26, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) posted a notice offering a web-based training course on how to properly code of Section GG of the Minimum Data Set (MDS) assessment. Accurate reporting of Section GG Self-Care and Mobility items is critically important for provider success in implementing the new Skilled Nursing Facility Prospective Payment System (SNF PPS) Patient Driven Payment Model, as well as the SNF Quality Reporting Program (QRP). This 45-minute course is intended for providers in the following care settings: Skilled Nursing Facilities (SNFs), Long-Term Care Hospitals (LTCHs), Inpatient Rehabilitation Facilities (IRFs), and Home Health Agencies (HHAs); and is designed to be used on demand anywhere you can access a browser. The course is divided into the following four lessons and includes interactive exercises that allow you to test your knowledge in real life scenarios:
  • Lesson 1: Importance of Section GG for Post-Acute Care
  • Lesson 2: Section GG Assessment and Coding Principles
  • Lesson 3: Coding GG0130.Self-Care Items
  • Lesson 4: Coding GG0170.Mobility Items
SNF Providers may find this timely training resource useful for PDPM transition training of nurses, certified nursing assistants, and therapists. Click here to access the training.
 
If you have technical questions or feedback regarding the training, please email the PAC Training mailbox. Content-related questions should be submitted to the Quality Reporting Program Help Desk for your care setting.

New Member Resource - Opioid Use: What Do We Do and How?

Holly Harmon

The AHCA Clinical Practice Committee has developed and launched a new resource for members, Opioid Use: What Do We Do and How?  This resource is available on ahcancalED

The use of opioid medications to manage chronic pain is complex and challenging, especially in long term care and post-acute settings. As the care of individuals with chronic pain in these settings increases, it will be imperative to understand concerns, challenges and opportunities surrounding this issue. This program focuses on the foundation of pain management and how optimal pain management can help prevent opioid abuse.

This multi-part resource offers “Steps to Opioid Reduction” which covers steps by which any center can safely and effectively attempt to reduce opioids in individuals who are on opioids as well as “Appropriate and Safe Use of Opioids As Part of Effective Pain Management” which covers key processes and practices of pain management including (but not limited to) the use of opioids in that context.

Visit ahcancalED today and check out Opioid Use: What Do We Do and How?

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Quality Initiative Achievements Linked to Performance in New Five-Star Ratings

Kiran Sreenivas

The AHCA/NCAL Quality Initiative is championed to be in alignment with CMS’s Five-Star Quality Rating System and prepare skilled nursing centers for future policy and regulatory changes. The recent April 2019 changes to Five-Star, which included adding new quality measures, changing RN staffing thresholds, and lifting of the survey freeze, puts this notion to a test. Based on a preliminary analysis, the theory follows true to form.

Currently, there are 7,798 (50%) skilled nursing centers in the nation that have achieved a goal in at least two of the four domains of the AHCA/NCAL Quality Initiative, which are hospitalizations, antipsychotics, customer satisfaction, and functional improvement.

Those nursing centers succeeding in the Quality Initiative by having achieved at least one goal in 2 or more domains are more likely to have an overall Five-Star rating of 4 or 5 stars compared to the rest of the nation (47% vs 37%). A similar relationship exists for each of the other components of Five-Star (Survey: 36% vs 31%, Staffing: 32% vs 29%, Quality: 59% vs 41%). Figure 1 shows the full Five-Star distribution breakdown between the two comparison groups.


When looking at the percentage of centers who lost, gained, or had no change in stars after the April 2019 Five-Star changes, there is additional evidence supporting the positive association between the Quality Initiative and Five-Star performance. Under this analysis, those centers achieving 2 or more of the Quality Initiative goals were more likely to have no change in their Five-Star Quality Rating, whereas the rest of the nation were more likely to lose stars (See Figure 2).


While none of these analyses prove causation, they do support an association between success on the Quality Initiative and performance on Five-Star.

From a theoretical perspective, the association between the Quality Initiative and Five-Star is logical. For example, the Quality Initiative and the April 2019 Five-Star changes both emphasize reducing short- and long-stay hospitalizations and long-stay off-label use of antipsychotics. Also, the customer satisfaction domain of the Quality Initiative reflects performance on key aspects of Five-Star, such as staffing and processes to prevent adverse events. This association between the CoreQ customer satisfaction measures used in the Quality Initiative and improvement in quality outcomes has been shown in prior work.

It is likely Five-Star will continue to evolve and change in the coming years. Thankfully, the AHCA/NCAL Quality Initiative appears to be a successful approach for being ready and succeeding under Five-Star changes.

2019 AHCA/NCAL Bronze And Silver Quality Award Recipients

Erin Prendergast

This month, AHCA/NCAL announced the 2019 Bronze and Silver National Quality Award Recipients. A total of 605 long term and post-acute care providers were recognized with the Bronze award and 183 were recognized with the Silver award. The Bronze and Silver award are two of three distinctions possible through the AHCA/NCAL National Quality Award Program, which honors long term and post-acute care providers that have demonstrated their commitment to improving the quality of care for seniors and individuals with disabilities. Click here to see a full list of the recipients.

Bronze and Silver recipients looking to apply for the 2020 award program cycle should check out the AHCA/NCAL Silver self-assessment and Gold self-assessment tools. The 2020 National Quality Award Application Packets for all three award levels will be available on August 1, 2019 on the National Quality Award Program website.

Finally, each year AHCA/NCAL selects Senior and Master Examiners to review applications at the Silver and Gold levels. If you’re interested in serving as an Examiner in 2020, leave us your information here and learn more about the Examiner Program here.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Now Available! The NALW 2019 Planning Guide & Product Catalog


Rachel Reeves

Get those creative juices going on activities for National Assisted Living Week® (September 8-14, 2019) with this year’s Planning Guide and Product Catalog. The planning guide offers ideas to help your residents explore their creative side, improve your assisted living community, and celebrate your staff. All suggested activities and official products highlight this year’s theme, “A Spark of Creativity.”

The theme hopes to inspire residents to find purpose and joy through creativity, whether through the arts or beyond. Specifically, art therapy has been shown to offer many benefits to older adults, many of which are discussed in the Planning Guide. Additionally, the theme aims to inspire assisted living staff to get creative in order to further person-centered care to residents.

Some of the suggested activities include:
  • Set up art classes or activities led by expert residents, staff, or a local organization and maximized for older adults or individuals with disabilities.
  • Host an Art Show or an Open Mic Night to show off the masterpieces your residents, staff and volunteers create during NALW, and invite loved ones and local members of community.
  • Create a Community Mural to bring together residents, families and staff, and display it prominently in your assisted living community for all to see.
  • Hold a resident council meeting and/or a family town hall and encourage everyone to offer their creative ideas to improve your assisted living community.
  • Create “Resident Inspiration Boards” (a twist on memory boxes) – Work with each resident to find family pictures, images of activities or things they love, quotes that inspire them, goals they want to achieve, etc. Hang the inspiration board in each resident’s room.
  • Award staff with “The Most Creative Idea Award” for ideas they put forth to improve the everyday lives of residents.
Share your own activity ideas on the NALW Facebook page.

The guide also connects providers to this year’s NALW official products, which can also be found in AHCA/NCAL’s online bookstore. Get in the spirit with t-shirts, balloons, posters and more.

Looking to create your own materials? The NALW website (www.NALW.org) offers this year’s logo in a variety of formats available for download. Please make sure to follow our logo policy:

Download the logo in various formats for online use as well as professional print products. You may use the following files, intact, to promote National Assisted Living Week 2019. All other rights, including the creation of derivative works, are reserved by the National Center for Assisted Living.

Stay tuned for a forthcoming media toolkit to help assisted living providers promote NALW in their community.

For more information, please visit www.NALW.org.

NCAL’s 2018 Nurse of the Year Credits Gero Nurse Prep with Boosting Her Confidence in Her Geriatric Nursing Skills


Dave Kyllo

Amanda Garcia’s eight-year career as an assisted living RN at The Kensington in Fort Madison, Iowa is filled with accomplishments. She was the first in her county to become a facilitator and instructor for end-of-life care. She has trained staff at the local hospital and Iowa State Penitentiary in dementia care. She also received the Distinguished Director of Nursing in Leadership Award from the Iowa Center for Assisted Living, and, The Kensington received the Silver – Achievement in Quality Award through the AHCA/NCAL Quality Award Program.

In between all that, Garcia studied for and passed the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) board certification exam in gerontological nursing – the gold standard in demonstrating knowledge and expertise in gerontological nursing. She credits the AHCA/NCAL Gero Nurse Prep on-line training course in preparing her to pass the exam.

“The course is amazing and prepares you very well to take the exam,” Garcia said. “It was a real confidence booster that I do know what I’m talking about.” She said that the Gero Nurse Prep course was more intensive than she expected. “There is so much that is different and more to learn with the geriatric population.” The Gero Nurse Prep case studies pushed the envelope in using her critical thinking skills, she explained. Ninety-six percent of Gero Nurse Prep students who take the ANCC Board certification exam in gerontological nursing pass on their first try.

Statistics also back up Garcia’s Gero Nurse Prep learning experience. Gero Nurse Prep students see a dramatic 24 percent average increase between their pre- and post- course test scores. Registered nurses who are interested in increasing their knowledge of gerontological nursing practice can complete the AHCA/NCAL Gero Nurse Prep course receive 30 nursing contact hours, and increase their skills and knowledge of geriatric nursing. RNs are also well prepared to sit for the ANCC Board certification test should they choose to pursue the “RN-BC” credential.

Garcia said Gero Nurse Prep and becoming an ANCC Board certified RN made her a better assisted living nurse. “I have shared my knowledge with other nurses on staff and developed new practices and procedures for the facility,” she said. She explained that there is not a lot of resources for assisted living RNs but that she believes ANCC Board certification and Gero Nurse Prep are great avenues to help RNs become better gerontological nurses.

AHCA/NCAL Gero Nurse Prep provides tremendous value at the $690 AHCA/NCAL member price. That’s $23 per contact hour for outstanding nursing education that makes a measurable difference on so many fronts. For RNs pursuing Board certification through ANCC, there is an additional and separate cost of $395.

To learn more about Gero Nurse Prep and ANCC Board certification, watch this video and check out AHCA/NCAL Gero Nurse Prep today.

#WhyICare: Stacey Hord, Senior VP of Clinical Operations

Cristina Crawford and Rachel Reeves

AHCA/NCAL’s #WhyICare workforce campaign broadcasts the stories of individuals who work in long term care, sharing what inspires them about their careers and how they got to where they are today.

We’re pleased to share another video featuring Stacey Hord, Senior Vice President of Clinical Operations at SavaSeniorCare. Stacey fell in love with a career in the one place she didn’t expect: nursing homes. Starting out as a speech pathologist, she worked her way up the ladder to eventually become a Senior Vice President, where she’s been able to have a positive impact on others every day. Click here to watch and share Stacey’s story.



Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to hear more stories as we continue to release new #WhyICare videos in the coming weeks.  Click here to see more #WhyICare videos on YouTube.

Board Certified RNs Make All the Difference in Skilled Nursing Facility Performance

Dave Kyllo

Research conducted by AHCA/NCAL in 2019 shows that SNFs that employ at least one American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) Board certified RN performed higher on average on SNF VBP performance scores.

The average 2017 SNF VBP performance score across the nation was 34.4.  For SNFs with at least one RN who has been ANCC Board certified in gerontological nursing, the average SNF VBP performance score was 44.2.  The net result is that these SNFs get higher Medicare Part A reimbursements. 
The AHCA/NCAL 2019 research also found that SNFs with at least one ANCC Board certified RN also experienced:
  • Fewer survey deficiencies
  • Fewer IJ citations
  • Lower rehospitalization rates
  • Lower rates of off-label use of antipsychotics
  • Higher CMS 5-Star ratings
The ANCC offers certification in gerontological nursing – the gold standard in demonstrating clinical excellence in geriatric patient care.  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. 
To help RNs prepare for the certification exam, AHCA/NCAL offers an online course called Gero Nurse Prep.  RNs who complete the course earn 30 nursing contact hours and experience a 96% pass rate on the ANCC certification exam on the first try.  Gero Nurse Prep students see a whopping 24 percent average increase between their pre- and post-test scores.
Gero Nurse Prep is flexible.  RNs study online at their own pace and have one year from the time they enroll to complete their Gero Nurse Prep coursework.  
AHCA/NCAL Gero Nurse Prep provides tremendous value at the $690 AHCA/NCAL member  price.   That’s $23 per contact hour for outstanding nursing education that makes a measurable difference on so many fronts.  For RNs pursuing Board certification through ANCC, there is an additional and separate cost of $395. 

To learn more about Gero Nurse Prep and ANCC Board certification, watch this video and check out AHCA/NCAL Gero Nurse Prep today.

Be ROP Phase III Ready: Use AHCA’s Online IPCO Training to Prepare Your Infection Preventionists & Boost Your Infection Prevention and Control Program Effectiveness

Dave Kyllo

Phase III Requirements of Participation (ROP) take effect November 28, 2019 and mandate that every nursing facility have a designated and specially trained Infection Preventionist who is running a comprehensive infection prevention and control program.  AHCA’s Infection Preventionist Specialized Training (IPCO) program is specifically designed to prepare individuals to effectively implement and manage an Infection Prevention & Control program in nursing facilities.

AHCA/NCAL recommends that each nursing facility train at least two Infection Preventionists through AHCA’s Infection Preventionist Specialized Training (IPCO) program. That way, should one specially trained Infection Preventionist leave, the facility will still be in compliance with the requirement to have at least one designated Infection Preventionist who is specially trained and that meets the other requirements set forth by the CMS Requirements of Participation for this mandatory role. 

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.  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 nursing center’s Infection Prevention & Control program.  

Another reason for nursing facility staff to take the course now is to reduce the risk of receiving the most frequently cited F-Tag in standard nursing facility health inspection surveys under the new survey process is F880 – Infection Prevention & Control.  Nearly 25 percent of surveyed nursing facilities in 2019 have received an F880 citation.  The primary change coming this November under Phase III ROP is the designation of a specially trained Infection Preventionist who must work at least part-time at the facility.  Facilities will continue to be surveyed on all the new infection prevention and control requirements and the antibiotic stewardship requirements. 

While CDC/CMS released a free infection prevention training course in March that members can access, AHCA’s training provides more in-depth learning.  AHCA’s course is the only specialized training for the long term and post-acute care setting that provides in-depth learning about the leadership and culture change elements necessary to create a comprehensive and sustainable infection prevention and control program that covers all operational components of a nursing facility.  

The AHCA training program gets rave reviews with nearly 97 percent of health care professionals who have completed the course recommending IPCO to their colleagues. The registration fee is $450 for AHCA/NCAL members and $650 for non-members.  There are no refunds and no transfers.

Payment and registration are made online at 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.  

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. 

Homeless Veterans Have Complex Needs for Nursing Centers to Address

Rose Baier

A paper highlights nursing center resident characteristics that may have implications for staff caring for veterans who were homeless before admission. These residents differ in important ways from veterans who were not homeless before admission.

The Journal of the American Geriatrics Society paper was written by researchers with dual appointments at Brown University and the Providence Veterans Affairs Medical Center. The researchers used national data to identify veterans admitted to community-based nursing centers between 2010 and 2016, and then examined the association between housing status and various measures. Compared to veterans who weren’t homeless, they found that veterans homeless in the year before admission were younger, more likely to have diagnoses for alcohol abuse, drug abuse, mental health conditions, dementia, liver disease, lung disease, and trimorbidity (co-occurring substance abuse, mental illness, and physical illness). They were also more likely to be admitted from the hospital and to become long-stay residents, but less likely to die in the facility.

According to the researchers, these findings attest to the importance of assessing veterans’ housing status to help provide linkages with existing social services.

Learn about research from AHCA’s research center at Brown: brown.edu/go/innovation.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

6th Annual Rehabilitation Program: Imagineering SNF Rehab Under PDPM

Hosted By:
This four-hour Rehabilitation Therapy Program takes place on October 13th and will include presentations and panel discussions. The presenters will share their experiences, lessons-learned, and recommendations for best practices.
 
Session 1: How Much Is the Right Amount of Therapy?

This session will cover how rehabilitation therapy utilization could change under PDPM and how it can be managed to insure we are delivering necessary medical rehabilitation services while being responsible stewards of Medicare resources. You will:
  • Explore rehabilitation care management that includes defining comprehensive rehabilitation services, effective population health management approaches, and how the evidence in research informs your practice
  • Develop strategies for delivering value to patients, achieving positive clinical outcomes, and quality measures
Session 2: Managing Compliance Risk under PDPM
 
This session will review current and future standards and measures of compliance as stated in CMS’ education on PDPM. Participants will:
  • Learn to define aspects of compliance in coding, MDS assessment, clinical documentation, and quality measure reporting
  • Explore compliance risk areas and how they may be mitigated through internal audit processes, education, and what it means to establish a culture of compliance
The Rehabilitation Therapy Program is a separate ticketed event and must be purchased in addition to any Convention registration package.

Early bird discounts are available through July 26. Check out everything the Convention & Expo offers online.


AHCA Offers Solution to Your Workforce Challenges

Danielle Levitan

CNAonline: A Hybrid Nurse Assistant Training Course

https://cnaonline.com/
CNAonline.com is a revolutionary solution that can address workforce shortages in centers like yours. The unique hybrid program provides flexibility, quality, and convenience through a blend of online coursework and in-person clinical and skills training. Students go on to be highly trained CNAs who elevate the quality of care available in the centers where they work.

CNAonline.com uses AHCA’s renowned How To Be a Nurse Assistant curriculum which has been successfully training students for certification for 30 years. Other features of the program include:
  • Practice tests, study guides, and quizzes to ensure student success
  • Competency-based skills checklists, videos, and visual aids
  • Professional instructors for online and in-person clinical training
  • Offers real time data analytics, including class activity reports and individual student competencies
  • Allows for customization of content for both state affiliates and providers
Students and instructors have access to the online content 24 hours a day, and you can start classes anytime.

For more information on how to get started, please visit CNAonline.com or call 502-221-7765.

Resources Ready For You on Reducing Unnecessary Use of Antipsychotic Medication

Holly Harmon

AHCA/NCAL is here to support your efforts on reducing the unnecessary use of antipsychotic medication, a national goal set by CMS as well as the AHCA/NCAL Quality Initiative. Below are key member resources available on ahcancalED. Each resource was designed by members with firsthand experience in antipsychotic medication reduction and improving care of people with dementia.

The Antipsychotic Management Toolkit is a two-part webinar series that provides an overview of the AHCA Clinical Considerations of Antipsychotic Management Toolkit and practical application and strategies for reducing antipsychotic medication use. Part 1 & 2 include presentation slides from the webinar and handouts of the Antipsychotic Management Toolkit.
The Antipsychotics Consumer Fact Sheet provides family members and others involved in a resident’s care background on the off-label use of antipsychotics, as well as frequently asked questions regarding loved ones living with dementia. It also gives family members suggestions on how they can partner with providers to get the best possible care for their loved one. This resource provides three helpful handouts which include, 15 ways to use the fact sheet and the consumer fact sheet in English and Spanish.

Building Prevention into Every Day Practice: A Framework for Successful Clinical Outcomes is a framework designed by the Association’s Clinical Practice Committee that outlines guiding elements such as individualized care approaches, effective transitions of care, QAPI concepts, safety, risk management, team-based care, and diagnostic quality. Care providers that use these resources can more effectively apply knowledge through organizational approaches and clinical care that leads to optimal patient outcomes and quality of life.

Visit www.educate.ahcancal.org | Contact us at educate@ahca.org

LTC Trend Tracker New Report: SNF Quality Measures

Lonnita Myles

LTC Trend Tracker has a new and improved report that gives our members a dynamic look inside the data that LTC Trend Tracker has to offer! This new SNF Quality Measures Report includes data from Discharge to Community, Quality Metrics, Five-Star, and so much more. With this report, our members can customize the report to show metrics that are of their specific interest, drill down to center-level data for each metric, and customize the time-frame for the data they are viewing. This dynamic report is the first of many modern enhancements coming to LTC Trend Tracker, so stay tuned for updates!

Have you checked out the newest Top-Line publications? These publications include metrics and charts outlining progress of individual assisted living communities and skilled nursing facilities on Quality Measures, the Quality Initiative, and other necessary data to help them achieve their desired goals. Members can access these publications anytime by logging into their LTC Trend Tracker account, and accessing their “View & Download Publications” tab.

Need assistance with LTC Trend Tracker functionality? Feel free to access our resource center located at www.ltctrendtracker.com.

Have additional questions about how to utilize this new feature? Feel free to reach out to the LTC Trend Tracker team at help@ltctrendtracker.com!

Friday, June 21, 2019

Mark Parkinson Receives Top CEO Recognition

AHCAPressOffice@ahca.org

AHCA/NCAL President & CEO Mark Parkinson has been named a 2019 Top CEO by The Washington Post!

This honor comes as part of The Post’s 2019 Top Workplace survey, in which the Association made the elite list of Washington, D.C. area employers for the fifth consecutive year. As part of the program, hundreds of employees in the Washington area were surveyed about their company’s leadership. He received the highest totals in the small-employer category for 2019.

“This is a tremendous honor,” said Parkinson. “It is rewarding to know that not only is the work you do helping people, but the staff is truly passionate about making a difference. That passion shows through the culture we’ve built and in both of these special recognitions. It is a pleasure to work alongside and lead this committed group of talented professionals every day.”

Selection as a Top Workplace is based solely on employee feedback gathered through an anonymous third-party survey administered by research partner Energage, LLC, which measured several aspects of workplace culture, including alignment, execution, and connection. This year’s list honors more than 150 companies including government contractors, law firms, nonprofits, schools, and businesses.

Read more about Mark and his experience in The Washington Post's article, "How the Top Workplaces winners became leaders in their industries."  You can also visit The Washington Post website for more about this year's Top Workplaces and to see the full list of 2019 honorees, including AHCA/NCAL.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Care to Share?


What if you shared everything about your organization with anyone who wanted to know? Join Ryan Donhue, Strategic Advisor of NRC Health, and Karl Bieber, Assisted Living Administrator for Vetter Health Services at this year's NCAL Day, as they describe their own experience and exploration with transparency, feedback, and what happened when they let the public in on their business “secrets.”

This session will help you:

• Understand what 'transparency' is as a business strategy and what impact it has on an organization.
• Learn how to convert existing feedback into digital, google-friendly ratings and reviews for public consumption.
• Measure the impact of heightened transparency on growth, referrals and overall business goals.

NCAL Day on October 13th kicks off the 70th AHCA/NCAL Convention & Expo, taking place October 13-16 in Orlando, FL. 

Register now!

NCAL Day is a separate ticketed event. Make sure to select it when you register for convention.

Knowledge is a Powerful Weapon to Break the Chain of Infection

Dave Kyllo

AHCA/NCAL has a comprehensive program to help nursing facilities meet the infection prevention and antibiotic stewardship requirements being enforced by CMS. While originally designed for nursing facilities, the program is an equally effective training tool for assisted living settings.

The Infection Preventionist Specialized Training (IPCO) course provides education for any 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 physicians and state and national health care regulators.

The methods for preventing and controlling infections and managing antibiotic use are universal, so what works in the nursing facility setting will work in the assisted living setting. AHCA/ NCAL’s course is an online, self-study program with 23 hours of training. It includes online lectures, case studies and interactive components taught by subject matter experts who have real life experience working in long term/post-acute care.

The course addresses both clinical and organizational systems, processes and cultural aspects of infection prevention and control that are fundamental to effectively leading and administering successful infection prevention and control programs and antibiotic stewardship programs. Strong and effective infection prevention programs and antibiotic stewardship efforts can set an assisted living center apart from the competition, especially when working with social workers and discharge planners who help seniors with their post-acute decisions

Upon successful completion of this program, participants will receive certificates including 23 ANCC contact hours. The training course registration fee is $450 for AHCA/NCAL members and $650 for non-members. There are no refunds and no transfers.

Payment and registration must be made online in ahcancalED . The IPCO course can be accessed here or at: https://educate.ahcancal.org/p/ipco.

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

To access ahcancalED and the IPCO course, members will need to login with their AHCA/NCAL usernames and passwords. For assistance obtaining AHCA/NCAL usernames and passwords, please e-mail update@ahca.org with your name and facility contact information.

New AHCA FAQs on Compliance and Ethics Program Requirement

Lilly Hummel

AHCA has created FAQs to support nursing centers developing and maintaining their compliance and ethics program required under 42 CFR 483.85. You can find this FAQ in ahcancalED, along with other resources including a toolkit, 10 webinars, checklist, and a risk assessment sample tool. Although we do not yet have the interpretive guidance, nursing centers are strongly encouraged to begin working on their compliance and ethics program now. Starting November 28, 2019, CMS and state survey agencies will be authorized to issue survey deficiencies under federal Ftag F895 to nursing centers that do not have effective compliance and ethics programs.

StoryCorps: Collect the Stories of LGBTQ Seniors

Rachel Reeves

AHCA/NCAL is working with StoryCorps to collect the stories of LGBTQ elders for the StoryCorps archive at the Library of Congress in honor of the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, which sparked the gay rights movement in the United States. The anniversary of Stonewall is June 28th, but this story collection effort will run through the end of the year. Interviews can be recorded on the StoryCorps app and with one tap uploaded to the Library of Congress.

Learn more and pledge to record at storycorps.org/outloud. 

Below you will find:

#WhyICare: Albert Munanga, Regional Director of Health & Wellness

Cristina Crawford and Rachel Reeves

Earlier this year, AHCA/NCAL launched a workforce campaign titled #WhyICare. The campaign broadcasts the stories of individuals who work in long term care, sharing what inspires them about their careers and how they got to where they are today.

We’re pleased to share another video that features Albert Munanga, Regional Director of Health & Wellness for Era Living. Albert’s story is unique in that when he first came to the United States, he had the goal of becoming an accountant. While taking his accounting classes, he found side work at a long term care facility. “That’s where the magic happened,” Albert said. He quickly realized he had a passion for helping others and transitioned his education to health science to pursue a career in long term care. Click here to watch and share Albert’s story.



Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to hear more stories as we continue to release new #WhyICare videos in the coming weeks. Click here to see more #WhyICare videos on YouTube.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Not for Profit Provider Education Offered at the AHCA/NCAL Convention

Jon-Patrick Ewing

On Tuesday, October 15, during the 70th AHCA/NCAL Convention & Expo, special programming for Not for Profit providers include sessions focused on leadership and accountability, workforce challenges, and survey and certification issues. You'll also have great opportunities for networking and sharing ideas and experiences.

Keynote Speaker Commander Kirk Lippold, USN (Ret.) will talk about Leadership and Accountability When It Matters.

Commander Lippold will show how the principle of integrity can create an environment for leadership, describing the harrowing experience in which he and his crew responded to a devastating suicide terrorist attack on their ship. Their own sense of personal accountability and leadership proved to be a guiding principle in the crucible of combat. Lippold will also share why his “Five Pillars of Leadership” are must-have business tenets for any team.

Additional programming follows:

Workforce Challenges Discussion for LTC Providers: A panel of experts will lead a moderated discussion to examine workforce policies and issues impacting the LTC world.

CMS Update for LTC Providers: CMS expert Evan Shulman, Acting Director, Division of Nursing Homes Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, will review survey and certification issues, delve into SNF/NF Interpretive Guidance, and talk about CMS' work on various initiatives.

The Not for Profit Reception caps off the day from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm and is an excellent opportunity to network and catch up with other providers from around the country. It is just one of many special events taking place over the four-day convention in October.

Hurry and register today! Early bird available through July 26. The Not for Profit program is included in the Premium and/or Full Convention Registration Packages and does not require a separate ticket to attend.