Tuesday, November 26, 2019

CMS Speaker confirmed for 2020 AHCA/NCAL Quality Summit

Jon-Patrick Ewing

The Opening Keynote Speaker for the 2020 AHCA/NCAL Quality Summit has been confirmed. David Wright currently serves as the Director of the Quality, Safety & Oversight Group within the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).  Under Wright’s leadership, the Quality, Safety & Oversight Group provides oversight of national accrediting organizations, certifies providers and suppliers for Medicare reimbursement, and shares important quality of care information to the public through various CMS websites, including Quality Certification Oversight Reports, the Integrated Surveyor Training Website, and Nursing Home Compare.  Wright sees this Group’s work as a primary driver for improving health care quality in the United States, which can only be accomplished through meaningful collaboration with all who are impacted by its programs.

Don’t miss Wright’s session and more than a dozen additional education sessions at the 2020 AHCA/NCAL Quality Summit, March 9-11, 2020 in Texas. Attendees can earn up to 11.5 CEs and will benefit from valuable networking opportunities with other professionals dedicated to quality in assisted living, long term, and post-acute care.

Reserve your spot before the holidays and register today. The housing deadline for this event is February 7, 2020.

Thank you to our event sponsors (as of 11/26/2019):

Host Sponsors: Medline and MatrixCare

Contributing Sponsors: Healthcare Academy, Kronos, Select Rehabilitation, RCare, Team TSI

New Training Offers Practical Strategies to Boost Employee Recruitment and Retention

Dave Kyllo

AHCA/NCAL offers a new instructional webinar titled “Pioneering Solutions to the Workforce Crisis.”  This 45-minute webinar developed in collaboration with PHI delivers practical action steps and strategies assisted living and nursing facilities of all shapes and sizes can take to improve their employee and retention efforts. The webinar also covers ways to improve the hiring process and explains supportive supervision and coaching methods that positively impact employee retention. 

The webinar’s learning objectives include:

  1. Explain the key factors contributing to the workforce shortage
  2. Identify at least 3 strategies to improve employee recruitment
  3. Identify at least 3 strategies to improve employee retention
  4. Explain the impact of supportive supervision on retention

The instructor is Sue Misiorski who served as Vice President of Workforce Innovations for PHI and currently serves as the New England Regional Director of Operations for SageLife.  Starting as a CNA, she later held positions as a DON and VP of Nursing in multi-site skilled nursing homes in New England and has supported the construction of several assisted living and nursing facilities. 

This webinar is part one to a more extensive on-line training for middle managers that will be released in the coming months.  While no CEUs are offered for this webinar, participants can receive a certificate of completion.  The cost of the course is $25 for AHCA/NCAL members and $60 for non-members. 

Follow this link to read more about this educational webinar and to register for the course:  https://educate.ahcancal.org/products/pioneering-solutions-to-the-workforce-crisis#tab-product_tab_overview

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

CMS Posts 2020 Annual Update to the Medicare Part B Therapy Code List

Dan Ciolek

Recently, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) posted a MLN Matters article containing updates to the list of codes that sometimes or always describe therapy services under Medicare Part B. The additions, changes, and deletions to the therapy code list reflect those made in the Calendar Year (CY) 2020 Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) and Level II HCPCS.  These changes , effective for dates of service starting January 1, 2020, impact Medicare Part B claim coding for physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech-language pathology services include:

  • Two new biofeedback training CPT codes 90912 and 90913 were added
  • Two new cognitive function CPT codes 97129 and 97130 were added
  • The following four manual muscle testing codes were removed: 95831, 95832, 95833, and 95834    
  • The following 42 HCPCS Level II G-codes related to the discontinued functional reporting requirement are deleted for dates of service after December 31, 2019: HCPCS codes G8978 through G8999; G9158 through G9176; and G9186

The official instruction, CR 11501, issued to your MAC regarding this change can be found here.  Make sure your billing staff are aware of these updates.

Monday, November 25, 2019

NCAL/AALNA Caring Together Webinar - Dementia Care: Managing Wandering and the Risk of Elopement

Lindsay Schwartz

Please join the National Center for Assisted Living (NCAL) and the American Assisted Living Nurses Association (AALNA) for the quarterly webinar on Tuesday, December 3rd from 3pm – 4pm Eastern Time. Juliet Holt Klinger, Senior Director Dementia Care with Brookdale Senior Living will review symptoms of dementia that could contribute to wandering. The presentation will include definitions and discussion of types of wandering and elopement. The presenter will share processes that can help manage wandering and reduce elopement risk. This will include a special focus on person-centered approaches and environmental adaptations that reduce the risk of wandering and elopements. Attendees must register prior to the webinar.

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Deadline TOMORROW: Quality Award Intent to Apply

Last chance to save on your Quality Award application! Intent to Apply (ITA) for the 2020 AHCA/NCAL National Quality Award cycle closes tomorrow at 8:00 pm ET

Submit your ITA payment by logging in to the Quality Award Portal. Late payments will not be accepted. 

While not mandatory, applicants who submit an ITA payment will save money on their overall application, and no paperwork is needed! Before submitting, please review the application packets in full, which are available at ahcancal.org/qualityaward.

You can access help documents for the Quality Award Portal here, or if you need additional assistance please email qualityaward@ahca.org.

We hope you will commit to continuing your Quality Award journey by submitting an ITA payment!

The LTC Career Center Sale Ends November 30

Dave Kyllo

Ten days remain for employers to get national exposure for their open positions that can be posted on the AHCA/NCAL Long Term Care Career Center for $250 per 30-day posting when employers use promo code LTCHERO. That’s $100 off the regular low AHCA/NCAL rate of $350. Rates for posting job vacancies are also reduced for 60- and 90-day postings through November 30. 

The LTC Career Center gives affordable targeted national exposure because it connects with the Health Care Career Network by providing visibility to members of nearly 300 national and state health care organizations and societies participating in the national network. Serious health care candidates look for jobs on this national network built specifically to help health care employers reach health care professionals. This short video shows how easy it is to create an account and post a job vacancy.

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

Of course, the LTC Career Center is always free for job seekers and the LTC Career Center features many of the best positions the long term care profession has to offer. Graduates and experienced health care professionals utilize the Health Care Career Network to find the best health care openings.

Make the smart, low-cost employee recruitment choice. Check out the LTC Career Center today and don’t forget to use promo code LTCHERO to save $100 on your job postings. Employers may use the code an unlimited number of times between now and November 30. 

Visit the LTC Career Center Employer Page 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. 

10 Days Left for the Fall Gero Nurse Prep Sale! Save Now and Take up to One Year to Complete the Course

Dave Kyllo

Research conducted by AHCA/NCAL earlier this year shows that SNFs that employ at least one American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) Board certified RN also, on average, performed higher on SNF VBP performance.

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

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

To learn more about Gero Nurse Prep and ANCC Board certification, watch this video. For an even deeper dive into competent geriatric nursing, listen to this free AHCA/NCAL webinar “Competent Geriatric RNs – The New Driver of Financial Performance.” 

2020 is Just Around the Corner and so is the Launch of AHCA’s 2020 PDPM Academy

Dave Kyllo

Now that the Patient Driven Payment Model (PDPM) system is in effect for skilled nursing facilities, AHCA is preparing for 2020. AHCA soon will launch its new 2020 PDPM Academy and the existing PDPM Academy resources will be archived and no longer updated at the end of 2019.   

2020 PDPM Academy will provide tools and resources to help AHCA members navigate challenges, incorporate changes and successfully operate under PDPM. Resources available through PDPM 2020 Academy will include:

  • Virtual in-depth training modules on PDPM best practices (including role-specific modules);  
  • Monthly webinars; 
  • Additional tools and resources; and,
  • AHCA’s analyses of CMS’s technical changes and updates to PDPM.  

To receive an email notification when enrollment for 2020 PDPM Academy opens, follow this link and enter your name, company name and email address. Signing up for the early notification is fast and easy. 

AHCA members who have questions now about PDPM can send an email to pdpm@ahca.org or call 202-842-4444 and ask to speak to a PDPM Resource Navigator. 

Senate Aging Committee Releases Report on Falls Prevention and Holds Hearing on Strategies to Protect Seniors from Injury

Dana Ritchie

Last month, the U.S. Senate Aging Committee held a hearing titled, “Falls Prevention: National, State, and Local Level Solutions to Better Support Seniors.” At the hearing, the Committee unveiled a report that provides evidence-based recommendations on ways to reduce the risk of falling. More specifically, the Aging Committee’s report made recommendations in four key areas that can be found here in the Committee’s press statement. The press statement includes that “Falls are the leading cause of both fatal and nonfatal injuries among older adults that incur $50 billion annually in total medical costs. That number is expected to double to $100 billion by 2030, and the majority of these costs are borne by Medicare and Medicaid.” You can also read the full testimony of the witnesses and watch a recording of the hearing here.

Monday, November 18, 2019

Independent Owners: Need Solutions to Differentiate Your Business?

Danielle Levitan


The Independent Owner (IO) Leadership Conference offers a special opportunity for owners, operators, and administrators of roughly 10 or fewer facilities to discuss pressing topics, share ideas, and learn new strategies that will help your business stand out and succeed.

March 11-13
Gaylord Texan Resort & Convention Center
Grapevine, Texas


Why attend?

  • Priceless networking in formal and informal settings
  • Exciting speakers that will inspire you
  • Exclusive education sessions that will give you an edge

Education sessions are specifically designed to help you thrive by using the strengths unique to an independently owned facility and distinguishing your organization amidst larger competitors.

  • Patient-Driven Payment Model (PDPM
  • Innovative Building Design
  • Workforce Issues
  • Value-Based Care
  • Growth at IO Facilities
  • Successful Current Dining Trends
You could earn up to 13.75 CEs.

Get all the details on education sessions, speakers, hotel, and more at IO.ahcancal.org.

Current sponsors: Grace Financial Services

Population Health Management Summit- Hotel Deadline: November 20

Danielle Levitan


Reserve your room before the end of the day on Wednesday, November 20 to get the AHCA/NCAL special room rate.


Get all your population health management questions asked and answered.
  • Discuss the ways in which PHM models are improving quality and outcomes while reducing costs
  • Learn new strategies to expand and improve your leadership capabilities in PHM
  • Network with peers and nontraditional partners
  • Gain a deeper understanding of CMS' view of provider-led PHM efforts

CE accreditation has been requested.

Register and reserve your hotel today.

Host Sponsors: MatrixCare, Medline
Contributing Sponsors: CLA, Centene Corporation, Compass Total Benefit Solutions

CMS Posts 2020 Annual Update to the Medicare Part B Therapy Code List

Dan Ciolek

Recently, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) posted a MLN Matters article containing updates to the list of codes that sometimes or always describe therapy services under Medicare Part B. The additions, changes, and deletions to the therapy code list reflect those made in the Calendar Year (CY) 2020 Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) and Level II HCPCS.  These changes , effective for dates of service starting January 1, 2020, impact Medicare Part B claim coding for physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech-language pathology services include:

  • Two new biofeedback training CPT codes 90912 and 90913 were added
  • Two new cognitive function CPT codes 97129 and 97130 were added
  • The following four manual muscle testing codes were removed: 95831, 95832, 95833, and 95834    
  • The following 42 HCPCS Level II G-codes related to the discontinued functional reporting requirement are deleted for dates of service after December 31, 2019: HCPCS codes G8978 through G8999; G9158 through G9176; and G9186

The official instruction, CR 11501, issued to your MAC regarding this change can be found here

Make sure your billing staff are aware of these updates.

AARP Report on Caregiving Released during National Family Caregivers Month

Dana Ritchie

On November 14, AARP released Valuing the Invaluable 2019 Update: Charting a Path Forward, finding that 41 million family caregivers provided 34 billion hours of care worth $470 billion in 2017. The report includes state data on the number of family caregivers, hours of care they provide, and the value of this unpaid care. It also, among other things, highlights key trends in family caregiving and provides a series of family caregiving related policy recommendations. You can access the full report, an infographic, and more at www.aarp.org/valuing.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Time’s Running Out to Get Recognized for Your Quality Efforts

qualityinitiative@ncal.org



Let’s celebrate the hard work you have done to measurably improve the lives of your residents.

The 2020 AHCA/NCAL Quality Initiative Recognition Program honors member centers and communities that have achieved one or more of the AHCA/NCAL Quality Initiative goals. The deadline to submit your Quality Initiative data in LTC Trend Tracker is November 21, 2019.

Nursing centers must submit customer satisfaction data, and all other data is automatically uploaded. Assisted living members must submit data for all of the NCAL goals: staff stability, customer satisfaction, hospital readmissions and off-label use of antipsychotics.

Identified achievers will be notified in December, and the recognition will take place at the AHCA/NCAL Quality Summit in March 2020.

If you need assistance with LTC Trend Tracker, please visit the Resource Center or email help@ltctrendtracker.com

For more information on the Quality Initiative Recognition Program, please visit the respective websites for skilled nursing centers and assisted living communities.

Participate in Research on Care and Resident Safety in AL

Lindsay Schwartz

Investigators from the University of Rochester, in partnership with the Center for Excellence in Assisted Living (CEAL) and 9 national organizations representing providers, advocates, and other stakeholders in assisted living (AL) are conducting a national survey focusing on care and resident safety. We ask for your participation in this important survey, which includes over 4,000 AL communities randomly chosen from across the country. If your AL community receives this survey, we strongly encourage the administrators and staff to complete them and mail back to investigators in postage-paid envelopes provided with the survey. All surveys are totally confidential. Findings from this survey, which will be shared in aggregate (no individual data will be shared) with all participating ALs, may help to improve the quality of the work environment for staff as well as care safety for all residents.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

2020 AHCA/NCAL Quality Summit: Registration Open

Jon-Patrick Ewing

No matter what your focus or interest, we’ve got you covered! Join AHCA/NCAL for the 2020 Quality Summit, March 9-11 at the Gaylord Texan Resort & Convention Center in Grapevine, Texas (centrally located near Dallas/Ft. Worth).

With a program inspired by AHCA/NCAL’s Quality Cabinet and members, the 2020 Quality Summit has a sharper focus on key issues facing long term care, including a full track of education sessions on the Patient Driven Payment Model (PDPM). Come network with your colleagues and receive valuable education while you earn up to 11.5 CEs. At this year’s Summit, national subject matter experts will lead sessions on person-centered care, emergency preparedness, leadership, infection prevention, and more. Attendees will take away strategies to improve clinical, quality, regulatory, and workforce outcomes.

The Summit provides programming for all levels of staff in long term and post-acute care: administrators, DONs/clinical staff, quality managers and directors, assisted living providers and independent owners.

Registration Deadline: February 24, 2020

For more information and to register, visit: QS.AHCANCAL.ORG


Cybersecurity, Ransomware & Planning Resources

Steven Chies 

Last month, there was a data breach reported in the media that detailed a ransomware demand from a hospital system in Alabama that includes a post-acute care facility.  The hospital shut down new admissions and transferred patients due to the inability to access electronic health records.  Unfortunately, this is not a single occurrence – data breaches have been occurring at an increasing rate in the past few years. As the use of electronic health records has become a necessary tool for facility operators to function, the loss of access could create serious operational issues for long term and post-acute providers.

We want to make you aware of this threat and encourage you to access tools and resources to help prevent it from happening.

What can you do?

Facilities should prepare a cybersecurity plan to address these potentially damaging occurrences.  The Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency website here has considerable information on protection, reporting, and other topics to assist your planning. 

The agency and other experts in cybersecurity have recommended several basic actions for all health care providers to consider as part of their risk assessment and management responsibility.  They are:

  1. Evaluate the current infrastructure the organization has for electronic health care records and technology.  Create a plan to mitigate any identified risk. 
  2. Have a detailed backup procedure for data and diligently execute the backup systems, preferably off-sight.
  3. Train and prepare staff on the risks of cybersecurity, including attempts to human engineer individual staff with phishing and other email schemes.
  4. Establish immediate processes with personnel in the event of a ransomware attack and/or contract with a third-party vendor.
  5. Consider the purchase of cyber insurance that could assist in a breach.
  6. Report all breaches or attempts to law enforcement (i.e. FBI and Homeland Security)

Additional resources

Here are some additional resources that may help in the cybersecurity planning process:


Questions?

If there are any questions or concerns regarding this information, please contact research@ahca.org.

Have Questions About Managed Care?

Get them answered at the Population Health Management (PHM) Summit for Long Term and Post-Acute Care Leaders.

December 9-10, 2019
InterContinental Washington, DC – The Wharf

Hotel Deadline: November 20



Managed care continues to grow, and you need to know what you can do to grow with it. Make the commitment to secure quality care for your residents and your organization by actively participating in managed care. The PHM Summit can help you do that.

Excellent education sessions and networking opportunities will help you steer towards a more successful and profitable future in managed care.  All attendees will participate in facilitated sessions to develop nontraditional partnerships between organizations such as:

  • LTC providers and health plans 
  • Legal consultants and provider-owned integrated care networks 
  • Senior housing with services and health plans
Other notable sessions will look at which PHM models are improving quality and outcomes while reducing costs. You’ll gain a deeper understanding of PHM, and learn new strategies to expand and improve your leadership capabilities. Review the full agenda for more details.

CE accreditation has been requested.

The hotel deadline is next week so don’t wait. Register and reserve your room before November 20th to get the AHCA special room rate.

Host Sponsors: MatrixCare, Medline
Contributing Sponsors: CLA, Centene Corporation, Compass Total Benefit Solutions

HICN Claims Reject

There are 50 days until the end of the Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI) transition period. Use the MBI on Medicare claims and other transactions now. Starting January 1, regardless of the date of service:

  • CMS will reject claims submitted with Health Insurance Claim Numbers (HICNs) with a few exceptions 
  • CMS will reject all eligibility transactions submitted with HICNs

See the MLN Matters Article to learn how to get and use MBIs.

Monday, November 11, 2019

CMS Update to SNF Billing Specific to Veterans Administration (Demo 31) Claims Under PDPM

Dan Ciolek

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recently published MLN Matters Article MM11513 that impacts SNFs that furnish services ordinarily covered by Medicare but are furnished to veterans eligible for both Veterans Administration (VA) and Medicare benefits and also having Medicare supplemental insurance.  Specifically, as per transmittal CR 11513, MACs will terminate use of code AAA00 as of October 1, 2019 and will update the edit with a workaround that ensures that the default ZZZZZ Health Insurance Prospective Payment System (HIPPS) code is present on VA Demo 31 claims and is properly processed.  The workaround will expire on April 6, 2020.   

Background
Current law permits the VA to collect appropriate Medicare coinsurance and deductible amounts from supplemental insurers for claims for supplies and services ordinarily covered by Medicare but furnished:

  • At VA facilities; and 
  • For veterans eligible to receive both VA health and Medicare benefits and also having Medicare supplemental insurance. 

To facilitate this process, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) entered into an interagency agreement with the VA whereby CMS will help the VA work with the designated CMS MAC to adjudicate claims for these services to produce remittance advices equivalent to those ordinarily produced for Medicare claims. Medicare does not pay these claims, but the remittance advices show how much Medicare would have paid had the claims been payable by Medicare along with the applicable deductibles and coinsurance. In adjudicating a claim and generating these remittance advice notices, the CMS MAC must verify that the services provided are covered benefits, certify admission where appropriate, conduct prepayment utilization screening, and authorize payment. CMS has a single A/B MAC (A) and (B) to process these claims. The remittance advices, sent by the VA to the supplemental insurers, will help the insurers determine payment amounts they owe to the VA.  With the SNF PPS transition from RUG-IV to PDPM, provider VA Demo 31 claim default HIPPS coding must also change from AAA00 to ZZZZZ, effective October 1, 2019.  Details regarding the VA Claims Adjudication Services Project are located in Chapter 37 of the Medicare Claims Processing Manual.

It Pays to Have Cleary Energy Audit Your Utility Bills…and Keeps Paying

Dave Kyllo

Three out of four long term care facilities are being overcharged for one or more of their utilities. 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 is a AHCA/NCAL preferred provider and has recouped on average 4% to 8% savings on utilities for long term care facility customers. Here are some real life examples of how long term care providers saved:

  • A nursing facility recovered $25,000 in retroactive charges from an electric and gas utility account and the facility will save an additional $7,500 per year going forward.     
  • A nursing facility was overpaying the tariff on their gas account and is now saving $10,000 annually going forward.
  • A Midwest assisted living facility received $5,800 from utility overpayments that Cleary Energy recently found.      

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 for an audit comes directly from the utilities or suppliers. 

Cleary Energy’s long term care experience sets the company apart with over 40 years of long term care operational experience.  That in-depth knowledge enables Cleary Energy to find the greatest costs savings on utility expenses for AHCA/NCAL members because Cleary Energy knows where to look for savings. 

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

SNFs with Board Certified RNs Have Significantly Higher VBP Scores

Dave Kyllo

Research conducted by AHCA/NCAL earlier this year shows that SNFs that employ at least one American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) Board certified RN also, on average, performed higher on SNF VBP performance. 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. 

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

To learn more about Gero Nurse Prep and ANCC Board certification, watch this video. For an even deeper dive into competent geriatric nursing, listen to this free AHCA/NCAL webinar “Competent Geriatric RNs – The New Driver of Financial Performance.” 

When Might Two Infection Preventionists be Better than One? November 28

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 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 so that if one specially trained individual leaves, the facility won’t 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.

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Deadline EXTENDED for the Quality Award Intent to Apply

qualityaward@ahca.org

Due to technical difficulties with the Quality Award Portal, we are extending the AHCA/NCAL National Quality Award Intent to Apply (ITA) deadline to Thursday, November 21st. Submissions must be received before 8 pm ET on November 21st.

For those members who were impacted by the payment error, Quality Award staff will contact you with instructions on submitting the payment.

As a reminder, the ITA payment is not mandatory, however applicants who submit an ITA payment will save money on their overall application. No paperwork is needed to submit the ITA.

You can access help documents for the Quality Award Portal here, or if you need additional assistance please email qualityaward@ahca.org.

The National Quality Award Program is excited for the 2020 program cycle and looks forward to your applications. We sincerely apologize for this inconvenience and thank you for your patience as we work through this technical issue.

Registration Is Now Open for the 2020 Quality Summit and Independent Owner Conference

Join your colleagues at the Gaylord Texan Resort & Convention Center in Grapevine, Texas for an unforgettable week of learning new strategies and sharing best practices.

The Quality Summit features a full track of education sessions on the Patient Driven Payment Model (PDPM), as well as sessions on person-centered care, emergency preparedness, leadership, infection prevention, and more. It all takes place from March 9-11, 2020.

The Independent Owner (IO) Leadership Conference immediately follows and runs March 11-13. This year’s focus is on Solutions to Differentiate Your Business. Sessions will include topics such as innovative building design, workforce issues, leadership challenges and solutions, value-based care, growth in IO facilities.

Enjoy extra savings when you register for both. Find out the details and register today.

QS.ahcancal.org

IO.ahcancal.org

Population Health Management Summit – New Speaker Announced


If you haven’t yet registered for the Population Health Management Summit for Long Term and Post-Acute Care Leaders, now is the time. The two-day gathering features exciting speakers who can give you insight and perspective you won’t get anywhere else.


Just announced:
David C. Grabowski, PhD, Professor of Health Care Policy at Harvard Medical School, will join AHCA’s Dr. David Gifford, Senior Vice President of Quality and Regulatory Affairs and Chief Medical Officer, to discuss the link between quality and outcomes in population health models. They’ll ask and answer key questions about successful population health model implementation.

Get the details on this session, and learn more about all of the education sessions and speakers at PHM.ahcancal.org.

Register and reserve your hotel now.

To ensure that you have time to make your plans, the hotel deadline has been extended until November 20th.

Host Sponsors: MatrixCare, Medline
Contributing Sponsors: CLA, Centene Corporation, Compass Total Benefit Solutions

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 October 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.

#WhyICare: Lexi Rehkemper, Assistant Executive Director

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 Lexi Rehkemper, Assistant Executive Director. Lexi was inspired at a young age – as a sophomore in high school – to one day run her own nursing home. She discovered this passion by working in a variety of roles, from a dietary aid to now an assistant executive director, seeing all sides of long term care and the many benefits it brings. Click here to watch and share her story.



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

71st AHCA/NCAL Convention & Expo Call for Presentations 2020

AHCA/NCAL will hold its 71st Convention and Expo at the Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX. As a long term care professional, you understand the trends, issues, and challenges facing our profession. Now is your chance to share ideas that reflect your success stories and professional insight, as well as ideas and programs that enhance the long term and post-acute care service delivery. We are particularly interested in proposals that reflect and will help support providers in achieving the AHCA Quality Initiative goals the Quality Initiative for Assisted Living, and Advancing the Core Values of the Baldrige Performance Excellence Criteria.

DEADLINE: All proposals must be received by November 30, 2019. 

Click here to submit your proposal. To review the submission guidelines prior to submitting, please click here.

Veteran’s Health Administration MISSION Act Training Curriculum Site

Dana Ritchie 

The VA MISSION Act was signed into law last year (and implemented this past June) and is intended to streamline VA’s community care programs.  To make identifying what courses each provider must take and whether they have been completed easier, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) recently established a new Veterans Health Administration TRAIN MISSION Act curriculum training site (VHA TRAIN MA).  This site hosts accredited online courses to meet the mandatory MISSION Act training  and non-mandatory online, no-cost, continuing medical education curriculum for community providers. 

Each provider needs to create a new user account making sure to include their unique National Provider Identifier (NPI) in their profile in VHA TRAIN MA.  Once completed, sign into the VHA TRAIN MISSION Act curriculum training site, click on Required Courses at the bottom left of the home page, and a listing of the courses the provider must take will appear.  VHA TRAIN MA identifies personalized-required courses for each provider based on their specific profession.  After the provider has completed each course certificates of completion will be listed under Your Certificates.   VA also receives a reporting of completed training by course, provider name and NPI each week.  To remain up-to-date on any changes that may take place, you may wish to subscribe to the VA Office of Community Care Provider Updates Newsletter and to check the VA Community Care Provider Website often as updates are also posted there.

To learn more about available accredited training, visit VHA TRAIN MA at train.missionact.org/main/welcome.  For other assistance, or help with  VHA TRAIN – MISSION Act Curriculum Account Creation, please contact the MISSION Act help desk at support@missionact.org.

SNF QRP Submission Deadline Extended

The submission deadline for the Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF) Quality Reporting Program (QRP) has been extended to November 18, 2019. Assessment data for IRFs, LTCHs, and SNFs, and CDC data for IRFs and LTCHs submitted April 1 – June 30 (Q2) of calendar year (CY) 2019 are due with this deadline.

All data must be submitted no later than 11:59 p.m. on November 18, 2019. 

 The lists of measures required for this deadline are found on the CMS QRP website:


As a reminder, it is recommended that providers run applicable CASPER/iQIES/NHSN analysis reports prior to each quarterly reporting deadline, in order to ensure that all required data has been submitted.

Swingtech sends informational messages to SNFs that are not meeting APU thresholds on a quarterly basis ahead of each submission deadlines. If you need to add or change the email addresses to which these messages are sent, please email QRPHelp@swingtech.com and be sure to include your facility name and CMS Certification Number (CCN) along with any requested email updates.

AHCA Releases New Action Brief Tools to Help with Phase III Requirements of Participation

Pamela Truscott

November 28, 2019 is just around the corner and to help centers ensure compliance, AHCA has released five new Action Brief tools to get you up and running.  A variety of useful tools and resources can be found on the ahcancalED website that can assist your facility. 

The following Action Briefs have been added to the ahcancalED platform and we encourage you to check them out:



Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Get National Job Vacancy Exposure for Less on the LTC Career Center

Dave Kyllo

Now through November 30, open positions can be posted on the AHCA/NCAL Long Term Care Career Center for $250 per 30-day posting when employers use promo code LTCHERO.  That’s $100 off the regular low AHCA/NCAL rate of $350. Rates for posting job vacancies are also reduced for 60- and 90-day postings through November 30.   

The LTC Career Center gives affordable targeted national exposure because it connects with the Health Care Career Network by providing visibility on the network’s nearly 300 national and state health care organizations and societies.  Serious health care candidates look for jobs on this national network built for health care employers to reach health care professionals.  This short video shows how easy it is to create an account and post a job vacancy. 

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

Of course, the LTC Career Center is always free for job seekers and the LTC Career Center features many of the best positions the long term care profession has to offer.  Graduates and experienced health care professionals utilize the Health Care Career Network to find the best health care openings. 

Make the smart, low-cost employee recruitment choice.  Check out the LTC Career Center today and don’t forget to use promo code LTCHERO to save $100 on your job postings.  Employers may use the code an unlimited number of times between now and November 30.           

Visit the LTC Career Center Employer Page 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.   

Check Out This Free HealthCap® Incident Reduction Resource

Dave Kyllo

Incident reduction is the ultimate goal of a risk management  program and HealthCap® has a great resource in an easy-to-understand format that provides important reminders for assisted living and nursing facility staff members.  Titled “Interventions for Incident Reduction,” the one-page features 12 important areas of care and offers practical advice designed to help staff reduce the likelihood of adverse incidents.

Numerous useful resources can be found on the Resource and Education Center on the HealthCap® website.  Providers will find education opportunities (including ANCC-approved sessions), manuals, best practices and model policies.  Many of these resources are free to use with attribution to HealthCap®.

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

Keep Your PDPM Momentum Going Next Year with AHCA’s 2020 PDPM Academy

Dave Kyllo

Now that the Patient Driven Payment Model (PDPM) system is in effect for skilled nursing facilities, AHCA is looking to 2020 and how the association can help members thrive during the first full year PDPM is in effect.  AHCA soon will launch its new 2020 PDPM Academy and the existing PDPM Academy resources will be archived and no longer updated at the end of 2019.
   
2020 PDPM Academy will provide tools and resources to help AHCA members navigate challenges, incorporate changes and successfully operate under PDPM.  Resources available through PDPM 2020 Academy will include:

  • Virtual in-depth training modules on PDPM best practices (including role-specific modules);  
  • Monthly webinars; 
  • Additional tools and resources
  • AHCA’s analyses of CMS’s technical changes and updates to PDPM; and,
  • Discounted pricing to in-person 2020 PDPM Academy workshops. 

To receive an email notification when enrollment for 2020 PDPM Academy opens, follow this link and enter your name, company name and email address.  Signing up for the early notification is fast and easy.
 
AHCA members who have questions now about PDPM can send an email to pdpm@ahca.org or  call 202-842-4444 and ask to speak to a PDPM Resource Navigator.