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.

The Number of Open LTC Jobs Nationwide Significantly Drops in June

Dave Kyllo

There are 39,003 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 more than 10,000 open jobs compared to May figures.
        
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 2,469 direct employers are competing for candidates this month which is a decrease of more than 670 employers over May figures.  The average number of days a job was posted was 31 days in June – an increase of one day in the last month.
       
Finding qualified employees is one of the greatest challenges facing long term care providers and early 2019 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 more than 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.   

The AHCA/AHIMA ICD-10 Training Delivers the Coding Knowledge SNF Professionals Need to Succeed

Dave Kyllo

The October 1 PDPM implementation date is rapidly approaching 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. 

AHCA’s Virtual PDPM Training Prepares You for PDPM Success!

Dave Kyllo

Did you miss the in-person PDPM training in your state? Did you attend the training but feel like you could benefit from taking it again?  AHCA’s Virtual PDPM Training can set your skilled nursing facility up for success.

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.

AHCA’s Virtual PDPM Training prepares AHCA SNF members for PDPM and will mirror the in-person trainings that have been held for AHCA provider members in almost every state in recent months. 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 a little more 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. 

Criteria to Assess Dementia Interventions' Readiness for Pragmatic Trials

Rosa Baier

Q&I and Hebrew SeniorLife researchers have identified criteria to determine which non-drug dementia interventions are ready for testing in pragmatic trials.

While many dementia interventions have shown promise for improving outcomes for people living with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias, uptake of these interventions remains low. Pragmatic trials, which test interventions under real-world conditions, have the potential to accelerate the translation of evidence into practice. The identified criteria relate both to conducting the research and to maximizing the likelihood that effective interventions are widely adopted, and are available in an editorial published by the Journal of the American Medical Directors Association.

The criteria reflect expert input from participants at a meeting the authors convened to discuss how best to identify and support non-drug dementia interventions ready for pragmatic trials. 

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

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

AHCA’s Virtual PDPM Training is Now Available!

Dave Kyllo

Did you miss the in-person PDPM training in your state? Did you attend the training but feel like you could benefit from taking it again?  AHCA’s Virtual PDPM Training can set your skilled nursing facility up for success.

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.

AHCA’s Virtual PDPM Training prepares AHCA SNF members for PDPM and will mirror the in-person trainings that have been held for AHCA provider members in almost every state in recent months. 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 a little more 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. 

NOTE: 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. 

Observation Stays Coalition Submits Statement to the House Energy & Commerce Committee

Dana Halvorson

On June 12, the Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee held a hearing entitled, “No More Surprises: Protecting Patients from Surprise Medical Bills.”  The National Observation Stays Coalition, of which AHCA/NCAL is a member, submitted a statement for the hearing record. The Coalition noted that it has come together to address the surprise medical billing issue of the observation stays matter.  Recent Capitol Hill and Administration efforts have focused on eliminating burden and unanticipated/surprise medical bills that are having a significant negative impact on out-of-pocket-costs and patient-provider relationship.  The Coalition noted in their statement that the observation stays matter is one such area that should be addressed as part of comprehensive efforts to eliminate surprise medical bills.  Counting observation status toward the 3-day inpatient requirement in the Medicare program is a common-sense policy that does not affect hospital care -- but does protect the ability of beneficiaries to receive needed post-acute nursing home care.  For more information about the observation stays issue, please visit the AHCA/NCAL website.         

Medical Expense Deduction Coalition Praises House, Senate Legislation

Dana Halvorson

The American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living has joined with other members of the Medical Expense Deduction Coalition, including AARP, on a letter to lawmakers who introduced bipartisan legislation in the House and Senate to make permanent the 7.5 percent threshold for the medical expense deduction.  The coalition sent the correspondence to Reps. Katie Porter (D-Calif.) and Kenny Marchant (R-Texas) in support of H.R. 2073 in the House and to Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) to back companion legislation in the Senate, S. 110.  In the House, the bill was referred to the Ways and Means Committee for further action and in the Senate to the Finance Committee.

In the correspondence, the coalition said for the past 75 years, people with high health care costs have been able to deduct medical expenses from their taxes.  And, for the approximately 4.4 million Americans who annually do this, the deduction provides important tax relief in helping to offset the costs of acute and chronic medical conditions for older Americans, children, pregnant women, and other adults, as well as the costs associated with long term care and assisted living.  You can read more on this Coalition effort and the medical expense deduction in this Provider article

Build Your CNAs’ Careers this National Nursing Assistants Week with the CARES® Dementia Specialist Credential and Save 15%

Dave Kyllo

June 13-19, 2019 is National Nursing Assistants Week.  Recognize your frontline staff’s dedication by advancing their dementia care knowledge and caregiver careers.  Train and credential key members of your staff with the CARES® Dementia Specialist™ (C.D.S.) professional credentialing program.

Each member of your team completing the C.D.S. will learn advanced 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. 

The C.D.S. credential also provides employees with a higher level of care knowledge and expertise that allows them to grow personally and professionally and be recognized by their peers.  Consider a team of three to five C.D.S. credentialed staff to serve as the “go to” dementia specialists within your organization. 

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

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.  Unlike most other dementia training programs, the CARES® C.D.S. credential teaches how to change care practices to help reduce challenging resident behaviors.
 
Be sure to take advantage of your exclusive AHCA/NCAL member discount.  AHCA/NCAL members receive a 15% discount on the $599.95 C.D.S. package by using discount code AHCA15 at checkout!
 
Contact HealthCare Interactive at (952) 928-7722 with any questions about the CARES® trainings or to place your order.    

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Be Prepared! Cyber Attacks Are Now a Question of When, Not If

Dave Kyllo

Headlines about data breaches and cyber extortion are commonplace.  Phishing, Vishing, Botnets and Cyberespionage are everyday occurrences.  Those same cyber threats are real for long term care communities of all sizes.  Protecting your long term care community against these threats is essential.
 
Before purchasing cyber liability insurance, it’s important to understand critical cyber risks facing businesses today and what risks long term care providers should insure against.  Below are examples of key components of a comprehensive cyber liability insurance policy: 
  • Security & Privacy Liability – A cyber thief hacks your facility’s computer system and steals the personal data of past and current residents/patients.  Your facility gets sued for $1 million on behalf of several resident families for the negligent unauthorized release of personal information.   
  • Breach Event Costs – The cost of notifying all the victims of the data breach and their families can be staggering as can the public relations expense of explaining what went wrong.
  • Regulatory Fines and Proceeding Coverage – Regulators will likely be interested in the cause of your data breach and whether your response followed state and federal laws.   Coverage includes paying for your legal counsel, hearing expenses and any fines where insurable under the law. 
  • Multimedia Liability – This includes protection should your facility’s logo be similar to another company’s logo or should your website contain content that is copyrighted or trade-marked by others. 
  • Network Asset Protection – Hackers may destroy software and the information/data stored in your computers.  This coverage pays for the expenses to replace or restore software and data.
  • Business Interruption Income Loss – Facility revenue may be impacted through a tainted reputation following a data breach.  Insuring against this risk pays for the reduction in profit and extra costs such as renting a replacement computer system.
  • Cyber Extortion – Possibly one of the most talked about cyber security risks is “ransomware” – a computer virus that freezes your computer system until the demanded ransom is paid.  The insurance pays for expert advice on how to retrieve your system, negotiate with the hackers and pay any ransom if necessary.
HealthCap is the AHCA/NCAL endorsed carrier for liability insurance and cyber liability coverage.  The company’s sole focus is serving the needs of long term care providers, including assisted living.  HealthCap® carrier partners offer cyber liability insurance and it is not necessary for a long term care provider to have General or Professional liability insurance through HealthCap to purchase cyber liability insurance through HealthCap’s carrier partners.

For more information about HealthCap’s comprehensive suite of data security and privacy insurance solutions and to find a local agent, contact Peter Feeney at Peter.Feeney@chelsearhone.com
 

AHCA/NCAL Convention Offers Workforce Solutions Worthy of Your Super Squad

Jon-Patrick Ewing

If you’re looking for solutions to your toughest workforce challenges, the AHCA/NCAL Convention & Expo is a great place to start. Education sessions focused on workforce issues will help you:
  • Build a winning team
  • Improve recruitment and retention
  • Learn new leadership skills and best practices
  • Address staff competency to meet the new RoP requirements
  • Discover strategies to better manage staff
Get the details on workforce-related education sessions and plan out which ones you’ll want to attend. Browse all 22 tracks of learning, and see the more than 70 sessions offered. Earn CE credits, network, and walk away with a slew of fresh ideas and tools you can begin using right away. It’s why your colleagues come back to convention year after year.

Reserve your spot today. Early bird discounts available through July 26.
 

Congressional Briefing Save the Date

Angela Sargent

On behalf of the AHCA Government Relations team, we wanted to thank all of you who took time out of your busy schedules to attend this year’s Congressional Briefing! This year was a great success! We had record registrations and attendance and it is all thanks to you. We also wanted to send a special thank you to our featured keynote speaker, Howard Kurtz, and Members of Congress Congresswoman Ann McLane Kuster and Senator Tim Scott, who spoke to our attendees this year.

Save the Date! Next year’s Congressional Briefing will be held June 1-2, 2020. Looking forward to seeing you all next year!

#WhyICare: Eldarada Searcy, Resident Care Director

Rachel Reeves and Cristina Crawford

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 a new video that features Eldarada Searcy, a resident care director at Sunrise of Gurnee in Illinois. After first starting out in the oncology field, Eldarada was apprehensive to stay in her assisted living position. Once she adjusted to the different pace of senior care and experienced the benefits of working in this profession, her life was forever changed. Click here or below to share and learn more about Eldarada’s story.



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

CMS Video Tutorials to Assist with Coding Specific Section GG Items

Dan Ciolek

The SNF PPS Patient Driven Payment Model (PDPM) relies on accurate coding of several MDS Section GG mobility and self-care items that impact the PT, OT, and Nursing component per-diem case-mix payment rates.  On June 7, 2019, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services released a series of short videos to assist providers with coding select Section GG items on the OASIS, IRF-PAI, LTCH CARE Data Set, and the MDS. These videos, ranging from 4-12 minutes, are designed to provided targeted guidance using simulated patient scenarios. To access the videos, click on the links below:

Residents with Cognitive Impairment May Be At Disadvantage for Functional Gains

Rosa Baier

According to researchers from Brown University, differences in functional improvement for post-acute care residents with and without cognitive impairment may have important implications for clinicians.

The researchers used data for a large group of Medicare beneficiaries admitted to skilled nursing centers for post-acute care in 2017, shortly after the Minimum Data Set was amended (in 2016) to include new self-care and mobility items. They found that residents with any degree of cognitive impairment exhibited less improvement than residents who were cognitively intact. The greatest difference was between residents with severe cognitive impairment and those who were cognitively intact.

While it is not surprising that residents with cognitive impairment showed less improvement in self‐care and mobility, the researchers say that large magnitude of differences make the findings important. Residents with cognitive impairment may need additional support and more intensive rehabilitation to make the same functional gains as residents who are cognitively intact.

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

Apply Now – Award Applications Deadline is June 14!

The deadline to submit nominations for the AHCA/NCAL Awards has been extended to Friday, June 14 at 11:59 p.m. ET. 

As a reminder, AHCA/NCAL is accepting nominations for the following awards:

AHCA Awards Program
The AHCA Awards Program honors individuals who are dedicated to improving the quality of lives of residents and their surrounding communities through the following categories: Volunteer of the Year -- Adult, Young Adult & Group, ID/DD Hero of the Year, Not for Profit Program of the Year, and Not for Profit Trustee of the Year.

NCAL Awards Program
The NCAL Awards Program recognizes assisted living employees who demonstrate exemplary work within the profession in four categories: Administrator of the Year, Nurse of the Year, Noble Caregiver in Assisted Living, and National Assisted Living Week® Programming (from 2018).

Jan Thayer Pioneer Award
NCAL created the Jan Thayer Pioneer Award to recognize individuals who have moved the senior care profession forward, positively affecting the lives of those served and those who serve.

Mary K. Ousley Champion of Quality Award
AHCA/NCAL presents this award to an individual that has made a significant national contribution to advancing quality performance in long term care.

Don't miss the opportunity to honor your peers that have gone above and beyond in providing exceptional care. Recipients will be recognized at the 70th AHCA/NCAL Convention & Expo, October 13-16 in Orlando, Florida, and will receive a complimentary trip to Convention (see each program's rules and guidelines).

Submit your nominations today!

CoreQ Customer Satisfaction Measures Associated with Important Quality Outcomes

Lindsay Schwartz

Last week, AHCA/NCAL shared research on the development of CoreQ, a set of five long term care customer satisfaction measures for both residents and families, at the Annual Research Meeting (ARM) for Academy Health. The AHCA/NCAL Poster entitled, “CoreQ: Development of a Universal Satisfaction Score for SNF and AL Residents and Families” detailed the importance of a standard, short customer satisfaction measure to allow providers to benchmark their performance, help residents and families in decision-making, and let states and others use the information for accountability.
All CoreQ measures have the same three core questions, with an additional question for SNF short-stay discharge and assisted living resident surveys. Existing literature and satisfaction surveys were reviewed, and cognitive testing was conducted with residents and family members on questions and responses. Psychometric testing identified three core questions that when combined into an aggregate score resulted in a stable score ranging from 0 to 100. The researched showed that CoreQ scores were correlated with important quality measures, such as the Five-Star Quality Rating System and staff turnover, in the direction as expected and statistically significant (p=<0.05). Scores were distributed across the possible range and reflected meaningful differences in quality by sorting facilities from high to low quality. Similar to satisfaction measures in other settings, the CoreQ has been endorsed by the National Quality Forum.
 
To learn more about this research and how to incorporate the CoreQ questions into your customer satisfaction surveys, visit www.coreq.org.

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

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 May 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.

State Partisan Political Control of the Legislature Impacts Nursing Center Finances

Rosa Baier

Partisan (same party) political control of the legislative chambers has a large impact on the nursing center industry, particularly for-profit centers, according to research from Brown University.

The analysis was led by a visiting international researcher working with experts from Brown University and uses 19 years of data from state elections and nursing center cost reports. Results show that partisan political control of the two legislative chambers impacts for-profit nursing centers’ financial performance: Democratic control leads to an increase in revenue and profits; Republican political control leads to lower revenues and profits. While partisan political control does not affect not-for-profit centers’ financial performance, all centers – for-profit and not-for-profit – increase their numbers of private pay patients following Republican political control.

While they cannot attribute the findings to specific policies, the researchers say that analyzing the effect of political control provides important insights into how policy institutions shape the industry.

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

Now Available: 2018 Profile of Older Americans



The Profile of Older Americans is an annual summary of critical statistics related to the older population in the United States. Relying primarily on data offered by the U.S. Census Bureau, the Profile illustrates the shifting demographics of Americans age 65 and older. It includes key topic areas such as income, living arrangements, education, health, and caregiving. The 2018 Profile also incorporates a new special section on emergency and disaster preparedness.

Also available on the Administration for Community Living webpage are the 2018 data tables and reports from previous years. We encourage you to share this link with partners, networks, and consumers.

Select Data Highlights:
  • More than 15% of the U.S. population are older adults.
  • Over the past 10 years, the population age 65+ increased 34%, from 37.8 million to 50.9 million, and is projected to reach 94.7 million in 2060.
  • The age 85+ population is projected to increase 123% from 2017 to 2040.
  • From 2007 to 2017, racial and ethnic minority populations increased from 7.2 million (19% of older adults) to 11.8 million (23%), and are projected to reach 27.7 million in 2040 (34%).
  • Currently, persons reaching age 65 have an average life expectancy of an additional 19.5 years.
  • Older women outnumber older men at 28.3 million to 22.6 million, respectively.
  • A larger percentage of older men (70%) are married as compared with older women (46%).
  • Approximately 28% (14.3 million) of older persons live alone.
  • Among adults age 75+, 42% report television is their first source of emergency information as compared with 31% for the total population. The percentage of older adults receiving information from the internet (9%) is much lower than for the total population (31%)
Notes: Principal sources of data for the Profile are the U.S. Census Bureau, the National Center for Health Statistics, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The Profile incorporates the latest data available. Not all items are updated on an annual basis. The Profile includes data on the 65 and over population unless otherwise noted. The phrases “older adults” or “older persons” refer to the population age 65 and over. Numbers in this report may not add up due to rounding.

For more information on 2018 date tables and reports from previous years, please visit Administration for Community Living . We encourage you to share this link with partners, networks, and consumers.

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

What Can You Do With Your AL Data?


Learn from 3 AL providers at NCAL Day

Want to better harness the power of the assisted living data you collect? Not sure if it's worth tracking data in the first place? “I'm a Believer: How LTC Trend TrackerSM Improved My Organization” is one of seven sessions offered as part of NCAL Day, will feature actual assisted living providers who made positive and measurable changes thanks to LTC Trend Tracker. Get your questions answered and learn how to use the features of LTC Trend Tracker to support your ongoing quality improvement efforts.

It’s just one of many can’t-miss opportunities available to you at the AHCA/NCAL Convention & Expo, October 13-16 in Orlando, FL.

Register now, and start off your convention experience with NCAL Day on Sunday, October 13.

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

Sessions, CEs, and More at the AHCA/NCAL Convention

Jon-Patrick Ewing

This year’s 70th AHCA/NCAL Convention & Expo boasts more than 70 education sessions on topics like PMDM, RoP phase 3, workforce and regulatory issues, and so much more. There is something for everyone, no matter what your role is in long term and post-acute care. Browse through the list of sessions and speakers, then register for this extra-ordinary event.  

The convention offers the opportunity to earn up to 15 CEs. But there’s more! Sign up for the 13th Annual NCAL Day or the Rehabilitation Therapy Program on Sunday and earn additional CEs. You can also earn more CEs by signing up for the Premium Package when you register. The Premium Package offers access to recorded sessions post-convention in a webinar format with additional CEs.

Education sessions begin with the Sunday Intensives, October 13, and run through Wednesday afternoon, October 16.

With the knowledge you gain from attending the AHCA/NCAL Convention & Expo, you’ll be Ready For Any Challenge now and into the future.

New Study Shows Mental Health Clinician Pay Increases 4.58%

The 3rd annual Behavioral Health Salary & Benefits Report, published by Hospital & Healthcare Compensation Service (HCS), is now available.  A comparison of the national 50th percentile in the 2018 and 2019 Reports showed the national hourly rate for Mental Health Clinicians (MSW)  in behavioral health facilities increased 4.58%.  The national hourly rate in 2019 was $26.46 compared to $25.30 in 2019.

In a state comparison, Indiana had the lowest average MHC rate of $24.07; while Virginia had the highest average rate of $29.91.  The national average hourly rate for Mental Health Clinicians (MSW) in for-profit facilities was $27.70; the 50th percentile was $27.46.  The national average in not-for-profit facilities was $25.61; the 50th percentile was $24.51.  The average bonus reported for MHC’s was 3.10% of salary.


An analysis of benefits for behavioral health employees showed a rise in premiums.  Annual health insurance premiums increased from $6,378 in 2017; $6,902 in 2018; and $8,000 in 2019 (single employee plan.)  The percent of premium paid by the facility increased to 78.2% from 77.1% in 2018.

758 behavioral health facilities nationwide participated in the study.  33.51% of participants were not-for-profit facilities; 66.49% reporting were for-profit facilities.  The results cover hourly and bonus data for 50+ jobs.  Job data are grouped by region, state, CBSA, profit type, hospital + community health centers vs. non-hospital/non-chc data.  The Report also includes 12 fringe benefits, turnover rates by department, caseload, and actual and projected salary increases by department. 

The Report is available for $350.  To order online, visit the HCS website at www.hhcsinc.com or call (201) 405-0075.

HCS, founded in 1971, is recognized as the leader in national healthcare salary and benefits research.  HCS conducts national and custom marketplace studies, publishing ten specialized Reports each year.  For a complete listing of all products and services, please visit the HCS website.

Take Advantage of the Pre-Sale Registration for 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.

AHCA’s Virtual PDPM Training prepares AHCA members for PDPM and will mirror the in-person trainings that have been held for AHCA members in almost every state in recent months. The virtual training allows AHCA members who missed their state training to learn about the critical steps necessary on the pathway to success under PDPM. It is also a perfect opportunity for those members who have indicated interest in attending the training again to solidify what they learned during their day-long training.

Pre-registration for the online training program is now available to AHCA provider members only. The cost for the training is $350. NAB CE credit has been requested.

While the virtual training won’t go live until mid-June, AHCA members who pre-register now will have access to all materials on AHCA’s PDPM Academy within 48 hours of their purchase. The PDPM Academy is where updates, tools, webinars and other supporting materials are housed. AHCA members who pre-register for the Virtual PDPM Training will also be able to join in free monthly PDPM webinars hosted by AHCA. 

Pre-sale registration for AHCA’s Virtual PDPM Training is available here or by going to https://educate.ahcancal.org/p/virtualPDPM. Pre-sale registrants will be notified when AHCA’s Virtual PDPM Training goes live.

Register Today for ICD-10 Coding Online Training Built for SNF PDPM Success

Dave Kyllo

The October 1 PDPM implementation date is rapidly approaching 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. 

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 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.

CARES 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 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.  

Webinar on Supporting Older Adults with Complex Pain Needs

Lilly Hummel

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ Resources for Integrated Care will host a webinar on June 27 from 11:30-1ET to discuss promising practices for supporting dually eligible older adults with complex pain care needs. You can find more information and register here for the webinar. This interactive webinar will discuss the common causes and types of pain among dually eligible older adults, identify promising practices for biopsychosocial pain management, and demonstrate practical strategies for conducting geriatric pain assessments, delivering evidence-based treatment interventions, and supporting older adults in achieving their pain management and wellness goals. Speakers will also discuss appropriate use of opioids and strategies to help older adults with opioid use disorder effectively manage chronic pain. This webinar is intended for a wide range of stakeholders – front-line staff at social service agencies, providers and health care professionals (such as nurses, social workers, certified prevention specialists, case managers).