Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Latest Your Resident Profile Released on LTC Trend Tracker

Michael Leitson

On Tuesday, February 25 the first semi-annual edition of Your Resident Profile for 2020 was released for skilled nursing members.

This edition includes resident days and episodes for clinical conditions, such as diabetes and Schizophrenia, as well as acuity, such as IV feeding and ventilator use. Facilities can monitor change over time with data from two timeframes, October 2017 – September 2018 and October 2018 – September 2019. All data is based off MDS assessments.


Use Your Resident Profile to Update Your Facility Assessment

The facility assessment is a Phase 2 requirement of participation by CMS to receive Medicare reimbursements.

Many members use their Resident Profile from LTC Trend Tracker to complete the Facility Assessment Tool developed by the Quality Improvement Organizations (QIOs) and thus meet CMS’s requirement.

For more on the elements of the facility assessment requirements, check out this ahcancalED webinar.

Access Your Center’s Resident Profile Today Through LTC Trend Tracker

Your Resident Profile is an exclusive AHCA/NCAL member benefit. Once you are a registered user of LTC Trend Tracker, you will receive an email whenever a new publication is released. If you missed the email on February 25 or it got caught in a spam filter, you can always access current and historic Resident Profiles within LTC Trend Tracker.

For help accessing or using LTC Trend Tracker, visit the Resource Center or email help@ltctrendtracker.com

Joint Employer Final Rule

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) will be issuing the Final Rule on joint-employers today which will be effective April 27, 2020. This impacts those covered by the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) in determining whether a business is considered a joint employer of employees directly employed by another business. The Final Rule specifies that for businesses to be considered joint employers the two must share or codetermine the employees’ essential terms and conditions of employment. For more information, the NLRB has released a fact sheet

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

New to Skilled Nursing? Learn How SNF VBP Impacts Revenue with AHCA’s Online Training

Dave Kyllo

AHCA has an education program designed to help skilled nursing facilities succeed under the CMS value based purchasing payment program (SNF VBP). The online course (Understanding SNF VBP in Detail) contains six modules that provide an in-depth description of each feature of the CMS SNF VBP program along with helpful tools, documents, and primary source references to the program.
 
This training program is intended for nursing home administrators, directors of nursing and any other staff including corporate staff who are responsible for payment models and rehospitalization reduction efforts.  No specific license is required take the course and no contact hours or CEUs are awarded for completing the curriculum.

The training program is specifically designed to help long term care professionals:

  • Understand how CMS calculates the measures, risk adjustment, the facility score and payment adjustment.
  • Use and access the CMS SNF VBP feedback reports and the SNF Performance Score Report.
  • Apply the incentive payment multiplier.
  • Use the SNF VBP prediction calculator to estimate the financial impact different SNFRM rates have on your Part A revenue.
  • Adopt best practices to help either avoid a payment penalty or receive an increase in your Medicare Part A payments. 

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

SNF payment adjustments began on Oct. 1, 2018 for all SNF Medicare Part A claims ranging from a 2 percent cut to potentially a 1.5 percent increase based on rehospitalization rates in prior years. CMS recalculates the payment adjustment annually every fiscal year (FY) hereafter for the next ten years.  Possessing a detailed understanding of SNF VBP is critical to operational success. 

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

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

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

Give Your Staff A Second Employee Health Benefit Option with No Deductibles, Low Copays and Unlimited Free 24/7 access to TELADOC®

Dave Kyllo

AHCA/NCAL Insurance Solutions offers a minimum essential coverage (MEC) health plan to members.  The plan was developed by Compass Total Benefit Solutions and offers two affordable options for providing many of the health insurance benefits that are important to long term care employees.  This short video explains the MEC plan for AHCA/NCAL members in less than two minutes and highlights the features that make the MEC plan so popular with LTC employers and employees.
   
Both Compass plans feature affordable premiums and co-pays for valued and commonly used services, including prescriptions, physician visits and free unlimited 24/7 access to TELADOC®.  Benefits are instantaneous with no deductibles.  The difference in the two plans is based on the level of hospital indemnity benefits.  Here’s the exclusive AHCA/NCAL “Member Only” rate schedule:

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

The plan is designed to help AHCA/NCAL members recruit and retain frontline staff who cannot afford major medical health plan premiums or high deductibles.  Employers determine their level of contribution for plan expenses for coverage for employees, their spouses, their children or family coverage.
 
There is no additional underwriting for the Compass plan and no mandatory wait periods for new employees to join the Compass MEC plans.  Any wait periods are determined by the employer.  There is a minimum of five employees that must be enrolled to offer the plan to employees.

Read this Q&A document for more information about Compass plans for AHCA/NCAL members. Versions of the Compass Plan are available in all 50 states. Hospital indemnity benefits vary based on state approvals, which is why some states have different hospital indemnity benefit levels.

For more information, please contact Nick Cianci at 202-898-2841 or Dave Kyllo at 202-898-6312, visit www.ahcabenefits.org or www.ncalbenefits.org or email ahcainsurancesolutions@ahca.org

New Training Builds Understanding of Water Pathogen Risks

Dave Kyllo

Skilled nursing and assisted living centers provide care for vulnerable people who can become critically ill when steps are not taken to reduce the risk of waterborne diseases such as Legionnaire’s.  Effective water management programs are mandated for nursing facilities by CMS and highly recommended for assisted living facilities by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as a best practice.
 
AHCA/NCAL offers an affordable online Water Management Training course that provides long term care staff with information about: 

  • what a water management plan is; 
  • the essential elements of an effective water management program; and, 
  • how nursing and assisted living facilities should develop and maintain comprehensive water management programs. 

The online one-hour training contains five modules and is designed for administrators, building engineers and maintenance department personnel, DONs who have not been trained as Infection Preventionists, and other staff responsible building operations or infection prevention and control.   

The per-individual cost for the training is $25 for AHCA/NCAL member facility staff and $65 for non-members.   An online final test and certificate of completion are included with each registration. 

Make sure your facility is ready to address the threat of water-borne pathogens and external water interruptions by having a thorough and effective water management plan in place.  Register for AHCA/NCAL’s Water Management Training today. 

Support H.R. 4468, the Nursing Home Workforce Quality Act

Angela Sargent

Please reach out to your Representatives to encourage them to co-sponsor H.R. 4468, the Nursing Home Workforce Quality Act. This bipartisan legislation, introduced by Congressman Dwight Evans (D-PA-3) and Congressman Ron Estes (R-KS-4), will help address the critical shortage of Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs) by ensuring that CNAs have access to the quality training that they need. There are currently 13 co-sponsors.

As you may know, nursing home facilities that face $10,843 or more in civil monetary penalties (CMPs) are subject to the revocation of their training program and are unable to create a new program for a mandatory two-year period. This new legislation will allow nursing facilities to resume their in-house education programs once deficiencies are identified and remedied, while also providing additional oversight of facilities that are under a period of disapproval for a maximum of two years.

Contact your members of Congress today and tell them to co-sponsor this bipartisan legislation that will greatly help those facilities who rely on CNA trainings to provide quality care to their residents.

HCS Nursing Home Study Underway

Hospital & Healthcare Compensation Service (HCS) is conducting its annual Nursing Home Salary & Benefits study and requests your participation. Nursing Home providers should submit their data by May 4th.  The study is published by HCS in cooperation with AHCA.

There is no cost to participate. Participants may purchase the results at the reduced price of $175, versus the $350 nonparticipant rate. Questionnaires can be downloaded at: www.hhcsinc.com.

The Report covers management salaries, bonuses, non-management wages, and fringe benefits. Data will be reported by region, state, CBSA, revenue size, and bed size.  Both for-profit and not-for-profit data will be separately covered. Information on eighteen fringe benefits, shift differentials, turnover rates, and other facility metrics will also be included.

Last year’s Nursing Home Report contained data from 1,611 nursing homes and included data from 166,200+ employees.

The HCS Behavioral Health Study is also underway, deadline March 23rd. The study covers salaries and benefits granted to Developmental Disability, Mental Health, and AoD employees in residential treatment and in-patient facilities.  Last year’s BH Report contained data from 758 providers. 

HCS publishes ten annual compensation studies. Nationally known, their reports are recognized as the standard for reliable, comprehensive, and affordable compensation data for healthcare. Contact Rich Cioffe at RJCioffe@hhcsinc.com, (201) 405-0075, ext. 10 with any questions.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

NSNCW Planning Guide & Product Catalog Now Available

Cristina Crawford

The 2020 National Skilled Nursing Care Week (NSNCW) Planning Guide and Product Catalog is now available online here. Start planning now! Browse through this guide for activity and event ideas and explore our specially selected products to help you celebrate in May.

This year's theme, Sharing Our Wisdom, focuses on listening, engaging, and sharing stories and experiences. We encourage you to build on this theme during NSNCW, May 10-16. Visit ahcancal.org/NSNCW to download the new guide and to access promotional graphics and social media and newsletter templates.  Additional resources including a proclamation and template press release will be available in early April.

Don't forget to use the hashtag #NSNCW on social media and "like" us on the NSNCW Facebook page here. Check this page regularly for updates and to see what other centers are planning during this special week.

AHCA/NCAL Quality Initiative Recognition Certificates Available in Latest Top-Lines

Kiran Sreenivas

On February 13, the 2020 first quarter edition of Your Top-Line for skilled nursing members was released. On the following day, February 14, the 2020 first quarter edition of Your AL Top-Line was released for assisted living members.

The more than 9,500 skilled nursing and assisted living members being recognized at AHCA/NCAL’s Quality Summit on March 10, 2020 can find a copy of their Quality Initiative Recognition Program certificate in their latest Top-Line. A printed copy of the certificate was mailed to each achiever in December 2019.

The complete list of achievers by tier can be found on the program’s skilled nursing and assisted living websites.



The 2020 Quality Initiative Recognition Program Recognizes Improving and Maintaining Quality

The recognition program uses a tiered system to recognize members based on the number of goals achieved. The more goals achieved, the higher the recognition tier.

The 2020 recognition achievers were announced in December 2019 using the latest data available in LTC Trend Tracker.


Access Your Center’s or Community’s Top-Line Today Through LTC Trend Tracker

Top-Line publications are an exclusive AHCA/NCAL member benefit. Once you are a registered user of LTC Trend Tracker, you will receive an email whenever a new publication is released. If you missed the email, you can always access current and historic Top-Lines within LTC Trend Tracker.

For help accessing or using LTC Trend Tracker, check out the Resource Center or email help@ltctrendtracker.com

New Water Management Training Available for Nursing and Assisted Living Facilities

Dave Kyllo

Skilled nursing and assisted living centers provide care for vulnerable people who can become critically ill when steps are not taken to reduce the risk of waterborne diseases such as Legionnaire’s.  Effective water management programs are mandated for nursing facilities by CMS and highly recommended for assisted living facilities by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as a best practice. 

AHCA/NCAL offers an affordable online Water Management Training course that provides long term care staff with information about: 

  • what a water management plan is; 
  • the essential elements of an effective water management program; and, 
  • how nursing and assisted living facilities should develop and maintain comprehensive water management programs. 

The online one-hour training contains five modules and is designed for administrators, building engineers and maintenance department personnel, DONs who have not been trained as Infection Preventionists, and other staff responsible building operations or infection prevention and control.

The per-individual cost for the training is $25 for AHCA/NCAL member facility staff and $65 for non-members.   An online final test and certificate of completion are included with each registration.

Make sure your facility is ready to address the threat of water-borne pathogens and external water interruptions by having a thorough and effective water management plan in place.  Register for AHCA/NCAL’s Water Management Training today.

The LTC Career Center is Where to Find Health Care Talent

Dave Kyllo

The LTC Career Center gives unprecedented 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. 

Open positions can be posted on the AHCA/NCAL Long Term Care Career Center for $350 per 30-day posting.  Rates for posting job vacancies are reduced for 60- and 90-day postings through November 30.  This short video shows how easy it is to create an account and post a job vacancy. 

Posting on the site 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. 

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.   

Subscribe to the Educational Academy Designed for 2020 PDPM Success

Dave Kyllo

AHCA SNF provider members can now register for the AHCA PDPM Academy 2020 Subscription – Building Optimal Operational Capacities©.  This exclusive “SNF provider member only” subscription package includes:

  • Six pre-recorded one-hour educational webinars starting in March 2020 with continuing education (CE) credits and accompanied by AHCA-developed guidance toolkits and other resources covering these six topics:
    • Holistic person-centered care planning
    • Evidence-based approaches for improving mobility
    • Effective care transitions at admission and discharge
    • Trend Tracker and other sources to monitor the quality impact of PDPM
    • Managing residents with complex nursing and NTA needs
    • Restorative nursing and skilled maintenance nursing and therapy
  • Six live PDPM Academy Open Discussion Forums (January 28 Open Forum recording is available to Subscribers)
  • Access to AHCA’s complete library of 2019 and 2020 PDPM Academy materials 

The 2020 subscription fee is $299 per individual and is available only to AHCA SNF provider members (or individual contracted employees if registering through the AHCA provider member).  The materials, toolkits, forums and webinars in the AHCA PDPM Academy 2020 Subscription package come from the nation’s top experts and are hundreds of dollars less than what private consultants are charging. 

To access ahcancalED and register for a AHCA PDPM Academy 2020 Subscription, members 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. 

Advance Registration Deadline Is Monday for AHCA/NCAL Quality Summit and Independent Owner Leadership Conference




Advance Registration Deadline: February 24

AHCA/NCAL’s 2020 Quality Summit and 2020 Independent Owner Leadership Conference take place next month at the Gaylord Texan Resort & Convention Center in Grapevine, TX. Take advantage of the opportunity to save, and register before the advance registration deadline which is just days away. Register for both events, and you can save an additional $50.

The Quality Summit is March 9-11 and provides programming for all levels of staff in long term and post-acute care. See the complete list of session topics and descriptions at QS.ahcancal.org. You can earn up to 11.5 CEs.
 
 If you’re an owner, operator, or administrator of roughly 10 or fewer facilities, the Independent Owner (IO) Leadership Conference is an outstanding opportunity for you to discuss key issues that are critical to your business. It takes place March 11-13. This year, the focus is on Solutions to Differentiate Your Business. You can earn up to 13.75 CEUs. Visit IO.ahcancal.org to find out more.

Provider Coalition Letter Submitted to CMS Regarding Potential Cuts to Medicare Part B Payments in CY 2021

Dan Ciolek

On February 10, a coalition of thirteen provider organization, including AHCA, submitted a comment letter to CMS regarding the estimated payment reductions to 37 different provider specialties, including physical and occupational therapy and speech-language pathology services in CY 2021 to offset increased physician evaluation and management code payments as described above.  The letter details specific recommendations for CMS to consider in order to minimize or defer any rate reductions as the Agency develops the CY 2021 PFS proposed rule to be issued this summer.  The provider coalition recommends fall under these three major headings:

  1. Review impact of budget neutrality and the conversion factor adjustment on specialty providers
  2. Defer or cancel implementation of add-on code GPC1X until new policy is authorized by Congress to cover new (currently unreimbursed) services under the Medicare program
  3. Phase-in payment decreases to minimize the immediate impact on affected providers


Congress Submits Letter to CMS Regarding Potential Cuts to Medicare Part B Payments in CY 2021

Dan Ciolek

On February 5, in response to concerns raised by AHCA/NCAL and other impacted provider groups, a bipartisan group of ninety-nine members of the U.S. House of Representatives submitted a letter to the CMS regarding the estimated payment reductions to nonphysician providers in CY 2021 to offset increased physician evaluation and management code payments.  The estimated cut for Part B therapy services was listed by CMS as eight percent in the 2020 Medicare PFS final rule published on November 15, 2019.  In the letter, Congress asked CMS to explain the methodology used in estimate the payment cuts, and to describe what additional information that CMS plans to take into consideration before implementing such changes in the CY 2021 payment rule.

CMS Rescinds Troublesome NCCI Medicare Part B Therapy Claim Edits Retroactive to 1/1/2020

Dan Ciolek

After an advocacy effort conducted by AHCA/NCAL and other organizations, CMS has rescinded eighteen problematic National Correct Coding Initiative (NCCI) Edits retroactive to January 1, 2020 that would have prohibited payments for Medicare Part B Physical Therapy (PT) and Occupational Therapy (OT) evaluations on the same day that Therapeutic Procedures or Group Therapy common procedural terminology (CPT) billing codes were billed on a claim.  In early January, AHCA/NCAL posted a fact sheet for members describing the issue.  On January 24, the CMS NCCI edit development contractor sent this letter to AHCA describing the policy reversal, and this follow-up letter on February 5 that includes additional details about what to do if providers submitted claims prior to this reversal that were denied due to the edits.  The current accurate NCCI edit tables effective January 1, 2020 are available here.   

Medicare Part B Therapy Procedure Payment Rates for 2020

Dan Ciolek

On November 15, 2019, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) published the calendar year 2020 physician fee schedule payment Final Rule that updated the payment rates for individual billing procedure codes used to report outpatient therapy services.  In addition, the Final Rule also finalized coding requirements for the reporting of therapy services furnished in whole or in part by a therapy/therapist assistant.  AHCA previously provided members with a rate file based on information CMS had provided in December 2019.  However, in late January CMS updated the files which changed the fee schedule rates in many geographic locations due to legislation enacted in late December 2019.  AHCA has updated the CY 2020 Rate File which can be found here.  A fact sheet summarizing the changes can be found here.

Part A Providers: QIC Appeals Demonstration Call — March 5

On Thursday, March 5 from 1 to 2 pm ET the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) will be hosting a Part A Providers: QIC Appeals Demonstration Call.  The target audience that may participate in the demonstration includes Part A providers located in these areas; however, any Part A provider may attend.  Register for this Medicare Learning Network events.

During this call, CMS officials will discuss the May 2019 expansion of the Qualified Independent Contractor (QIC) Telephone Discussion and Reopening Process Demonstration. It now includes Part A providers that submit second level claim appeals (reconsiderations) to C2C Innovative Solutions Inc., the Part A East QIC. Topics to be discussed include: Benefits of participation, Who can participate, and How to participate.  A question and answer session follows the presentation; however attendees may email questions in advance to MedicareFFSappeals@cms.hhs.gov with "Appeals Demonstration" in the subject line. These questions may be addressed during the call or used for other materials following the call.  For more information, visit the Original Medicare Appeals webpage.

Information for Healthcare Facilities Concerning 2019 Novel Coronavirus Illness (2019-nCoV)

Pam Truscott

On February 6, 2020, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released QSO 20-09-ALL from the Quality Safety and Oversight Group.  The memorandum addresses information regarding patients with possible Coronavirus illness and healthcare facility expectations.  As concerns arise with the emerging 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) threat, CMS encourages all healthcare facilities to carefully review the information provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  Because coronavirus infections can rapidly appear and spread, facilities must take steps to prepare, including reviewing their infection prevention and control policies and practices to prevent the spread of infection.  CDC has issued an updated interim Health Alert Network (HAN) Advisory, information about CDC’s response to 2019-nCoV as well as recommendations for healthcare facilities.
 
Understanding all the various hazards to prepare for emergencies, such as 2019-nCoV, improves patient outcomes and provides protection to residents, family members and staff in healthcare settings.  To ensure health and safety, CMS expects healthcare staff to comply with basic infection control practices.  For 2019 novel coronavirus, CDC is currently advising adherence to Standard, Contact, and Airborne Precautions, including the use of eye protection.  Healthcare staff should adhere to CDC recommendations on standard hand hygiene practices, using alcohol-based hand rub/hand sanitizer (ABHR/ABHS) as the preferred method of hand hygiene in most clinical situations.  When hands are visibly soiled, wash with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.  The entire QSO 20-09-ALL memorandum can be found at: https://www.cms.gov/files/document/qso-20-09-all.pdf.

This is an opportune time for centers to review their Infection Prevention & Control Program and to evaluate the proper use of hand hygiene, precautions and other key practices in the center. 

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Realistic Online Dementia Care Training for $21 Per Staff Member

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.

That 15% discount makes CARES very affordable.  When AHCA/NCAL members purchase CARES® Dementia Basics™ 25-user package using the AHCA15 promo code, the final cost is less than $21 per staff person for four hours of highly quality dementia care training.  Bundle the Dementia Basics™ training with another training module and the cost is only $34 per staff member.

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.

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

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.

The AHCA PDPM Academy 2020 Subscription Delivers the Best Value

Dave Kyllo

Register now for the AHCA PDPM Academy 2020 Subscription – Building Optimal Operational Capacities©. This subscription takes the place of the 2019 PDPM Academy which ceased to be updated as of January 2020. 

The PDPM 2020 Academy Subscription provides post-implementation technical assistance, six program interpretation webinars, six additional topical continuing education (CE) webinars, and significant cost savings to members when compared to working with external consultants on PDPM. Subscriptions also include an archive of all 2019 PDPM implementation information and  a library of new 2020 supporting resources.

The cost of the 2020 subscription is $299/year per individual working for a SNF member facility. The CE webinars included in the subscription will be offered as six stand-alone products for $150 each.  By joining the 2020 PDPM Academy, subscribers have free access to all six CE webinars and will save $601. SNF facility members can subscribe to PDPM 2020 Academy here.

Independent Owner Leadership Conference Is a Great Way to Expand Your Network



The IO Leadership Conference brings owners, operators, or administrators of roughly 10 or fewer facilities together to connect, share ideas, and learn from one another. Don’t miss this unique opportunity.


The Advance Registration deadline is February 24th.

Get details on all the education sessions, see the complete agenda, and register now. You can earn up to 13.75 CEs.

When you register, be sure to choose one of the three networking activities:

  • Golf Outing at TPC Four Seasons Las Colinas Cottonwood Valley Golf Course
  • Grapevine Wine Tour
  • Guided Hiking Tour

If you have already registered for the IO Leadership Conference and would like to add one of the networking activities to your registration package, you may do so by clicking here and then selecting the Edit Registration Tab. Enter the e-mail address you used when you registered, and add the activity of your choosing.

The IO Leadership Conference takes place immediately after the AHCA/NCAL Quality Summit. Attend both and save. Visit the registration page to learn more.

Meet the Sponsors: 
American HealthTech, Capital Funding Group, Evans Senior Investments, Grace Financial Services, Guardian Pharmacy Services, MatrixCare by ResMed, Navigator, Reliant Rehabilitation, srx

HCS Behavioral Health Salary & Benefits Study Underway

Participation is open for the 4th annual Behavioral Health Salary & Benefits Report, conducted by Hospital & Healthcare Compensation Service (HCS).  The study covers salaries and benefits granted to Mental Health, Alcohol and Other Drugs (AoD), and Developmental Disability employees in Residential Treatment and In-Patient Facilities. 

The only national study to exclusively cover all areas of mental health compensation; the results will include hourly and bonus data for 60+ jobs, caseload, turnover, and benefits.  Job data will be grouped by region, state, CBSA, profit type, hospital + community health centers vs. non-hospital/non-chc data.  The Report will also include 12 fringe benefits, turnover rates by department, caseload, and actual and projected salary increases by department. 

There is no cost to participate in the study.  Participants may purchase the results at the reduced price of $175, versus the $350 nonparticipant rate.  Questionnaires are available on the HCS website:   www.hhcsinc.com.  The deadline for the study is March 9th with publication in May.  Questions on the study can be directed to Rosanne Zabka, (201) 405-0075, ext. 11, or rzabka@hhcsinc.com.

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 www.hhcsinc.com.

Get Your PDPM Questions Answered at the Quality Summit


Advance Registration Deadline: February 24.


The Quality Summit offers PDPM sessions that highlight AHCA’s approach on how to break down the barriers between payment policy and quality.

The PDPM sessions include:

  • CMS Is Watching PDPM for Appropriate Care and Quality Outcomes
  • Achieving Holistic Person-Centered Care Planning Under PDPM
  • High-Intensity Rehabilitation Application in PDPM: An Evidence-Based Approach to Improving Quality
  • The Impact of Effective Care Transitions at Admission and Discharge Under PDPM on SNF Quality Measures

You can earn up to 11.5 CEs. Learn more about these sessions, and see the full slate of education, events, speakers, and more.

Additional topics include:

  • Workforce challenges
  • Person-centered care
  • Emergency preparedness
  • Leadership
  • Infection prevention 


Register now so you don’t miss out.

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

RSVP for the Quality Initiative Recognition Program Ceremony
Member providers that have achieved one or more of the AHCA/NCAL Quality Initiative goals will be recognized at Quality Summit during a luncheon and ceremony on Tuesday, March 10 from 12:00 – 1:30 pm. To be recognized at the Quality Initiative Recognition Program luncheon, achievers and attendees must register for the conference and RSVP for the ceremony. Registration instructions can be found here. Questions? E-mail qualityinitiative@ahca.org.

The Quality Summit takes place just prior to the AHCA/NCAL Independent Owner Leadership Conference. Attend both and save. Visit the registration page to learn more.


Host sponsors: MatrixCare by Res Med, Medline

Contributing sponsors: Healthcare Academy, Kronos, McKesson, Prevail, Optum, Rcare, Real Time Medical Systems, Select Rehabilitation, SNF Metrics, TeamTSI

Coronavirus – Protecting Staff, Residents, and the Community - What you need to know!

Pam Truscott

2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) is a virus (more specifically, a coronavirus) identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan, China.   Additional cases have been identified in a growing number of other international locations, including the United States. Since family members of residents may have traveled internationally as well as staff or their family members, we recommend that members stay on alert for individuals who have traveled to China, AND have symptoms (fever, cough, and difficulty breathing or shortness of breath). Facilities should report such individuals to their local or state health department.  Individuals who have recently traveled to China, need to know how to self-monitor and what to communicate with their physician or a clinic if they start to develop symptoms. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides information for returning travelers: http://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/index.html. If you have additional questions you should stay in touch with your state and/or local health departments.

Right now, this virus is not spreading in the community in the United States, and the vast majority of Americans have a low risk of exposure. At some point, 2019-nCoV may start spreading in the United States among people without international travel. Long-term and post-acute care centers should act now to help reduce the potential for spread, which will also help with influenza and other circulating viruses that can impact our residents.  The 2019-nCoV spreads from person-to-person through droplets suspended in the air very similar to how influenza spreads. Centers should review their infection prevention and control policies and procedures for droplet precautions among residents and staff.

Currently there is no vaccine to prevent Coronavirus infection.  CDC is currently recommending Standard, Contact, and Airborne Precautions, including the use of eye protection when providing care for patients with confirmed or suspected 2019-nCoV.  Review CDC’s interim infection prevention and control guidelines for 2019-nCoV: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/hcp/infection-control.html. Everyday actions can prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including proper hand hygiene practices and/or the use of alcohol-based hand sanitizers with at least 60% alcohol, avoid touching the face, avoid close contact with people who are sick and stay home when you are sick, cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze, and clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces. In addition, centers should consider educating families and visitors on signs and symptoms of respiratory illness and encourage them to visit with loved ones through alternative means when they are ill, such as telephone, Skype, or wearing a mask during visits.

2019-nCoV is a virus identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in China and has now spread internationally.  More specifically, the 2019-nCoV is a coronavirus which are a large family of viruses that are common in many different species of animals, including camels, cattle, cats, and bats.  Rarely, animal coronaviruses can infect people and then spread between people such as with MERS, SARS, and now with 2019-nCoV.  According to CDC, there is limited information known about 2019-nCoV at this time.  CDC has developed several checklists to help healthcare personnel prepare to evaluate patients for 2019 novel coronavirus.  You can find out the latest on this developing novel virus at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/

In late November, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released QSO-20-03-NH (https://www.cms.gov/files/document/qso-20-03-nh.pdf), which highlights infection prevention and control practices.   In addition, CMS released QSO-20-09-all on February 6, 2020, which details healthcare facility expectations including review of CDC’s guidance and encourages review of infection prevention and control policies and practices to prevent the spread of infection.  You can find this QSO at: https://www.cms.gov/files/document/qso-20-09-all.pdf.

Centers should ensure that they have a properly trained infection preventionist who can take the lead on facility risk assessment for this and other infections.  Through the Infection Prevention Control Officer (IPCO) training course, individuals will be specially trained to effectively implement and manage an infection prevention and control program in their nursing center or assisted living community.  It addresses both clinical and organizational systems, processes and cultural aspects of infection prevention and control which are fundamental to effectively leading and administering a center’s infection prevention and control program. 

Nursing Home Compare QM Timeframe Update

CMS has announced that as of the January 2020 refresh of Nursing Home Compare, the timeframe covered by the short stay (SNF) pressure ulcer QM has been adjusted to match the timeframe for the other MDS-based QMs. Only the four quarter average will be reported: the individual quarters on the provider preview will display NR (not reported) for every facility. Additionally, for the purposes of the downloadable files on Data.Medicare.Gov, the measure code for this QM has changed from 002 to 476, and the measure is found in the MDS Quality Measures downloadable file. The measure specifications have not changed with the new measure code.

On the CASPER Facility Level Quality Measure (QM) Reports, the long-stay pressure ulcer QM has been updated with the High Risk/Unstageable Pressure Ulcer measure. Additionally, the short-stay QM, Percentage of SNF Residents with Pressure Ulcers that are New or Worsened, can be viewed on the CASPER reports if the end date is manually changed to match the Data Calculation Date. The short-stay pressure ulcer measure will begin to automatically display on the CASPER reports in February 2020.

Complete the Survey: State of Seniors Housing Survey 2020


NCAL is teaming up, once again, with the American Seniors Housing Association (ASHA), National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care (NIC), Leading Age, and Argentum to issue The State of Seniors Housing, a report on the financial performance data for seniors housing communities. We need your participation in order to provide a representative picture of the industry.

Please download the 2020 State of Seniors Housing Survey (Excel format) and submit completed surveys to colleen.blumenthal@healthtrust.com by close of business Monday, March 16, 2020. Questions about the survey should be directed to Colleen Blumenthal of HealthTrust at (941) 363-7502 or at her email address noted above.

For owners or managers of multiple properties, please submit data for as many of your properties as is practical. The report will adjust overall results so large portfolios are neither over-represented nor under-represented.

The quality of our industry’s data relates directly to the size and composition of this sample. For the last few years, we collected data from 1,500 to 2,200 properties annually. If you contributed data for a given property last year, it is particularly important that we obtain information about that property this year also, so that “same-store” industry trends in revenues, costs, and census can be analyzed.

Properties Eligible for Inclusion in Survey
Properties eligible for inclusion in the State of Seniors Housing sample include the following:
  • For-profit or not-for-profit communities
  • Communities where the majority of units provide Independent Living, including Active Adult
  • Communities where the majority of units provide Assisted Living services
  • Communities where the majority of units provide Memory Care 
  • Life Plan Communities/Continuing care retirement communities
Please do not complete surveys for properties where rates are subsidized, such as Sec. 202 elderly housing.

Benefits of Participating
All organizations that complete surveys will receive a complimentary copy of The State of Seniors Housing 2020, which compiles the survey results for comparisons to your own operations.

Confidentiality
As always, the State of Seniors Housing data will be handled with complete confidentiality and the results presented only in the aggregate.

Thank you, in advance, for your participation in this important annual research study. The 2019 State of Seniors Housing publications can be purchased through the AHCA/NCAL Bookstore.

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Make Your Hotel Reservations for the IO Leadership Conference


Deadline is Friday, February 7

If you haven't already registered for the Independent Owner (IO) Leadership Conference, please do so now. The hotel deadline is just two days away, and the hotel is nearly booked. Act fast to take advantage of the special AHCA/NCAL room rate.

The IO Leadership Conference brings owners, operators, or administrators of roughly 10 or fewer facilities together for fantastic networking and unbeatable learning opportunities. See the complete agenda and register now. You can earn up to 13.75 CEs.

The IO Leadership Conference also offers a multitude of formal and informal networking opportunities designed to help you make connections, share ideas, and learn from each other. On Thursday, March 12th, you can spend the afternoon with some of your colleagues while taking in the unique atmosphere of Grapevine, TX. Choose one of these three networking activities:

  • Golf Outing at TPC Four Seasons Las Colinas Cottonwood Valley Golf Course
  • Grapevine Wine Tour
  • Guided Hiking Tour

If you have already registered for the IO Leadership Conference and would like to add one of the networking activities to your registration package, you may do so by clicking here and then selecting the Edit Registration Tab. Enter the e-mail address you used when you registered, and add the activity of your choosing.

Don’t miss this exciting gathering. The IO Leadership Conference takes place immediately after the AHCA/NCAL Quality Summit. Attend both and save. Visit the registration page to learn more.

Meet the Sponsors
American HealthTech, Evans Senior Investments, Grace Financial Services, Guardian Pharmacy Services, MatrixCare by ResMed, Navigator, Reliant Rehabilitation, srx

Accountable Care Organization Toolkit and Webinar

Nisha Hammel

AHCA launched a revised Accountable Care Organization (ACO) toolkit and accompanying pre-recorded webinars.  The revised ACO toolkit is designed in a user-friendly format and provides information on how Medicare ACOs work including the newest ACO models (such as Next Generation ACOs), new regulatory requirements (2019 Pathways to Success rule), and the role of SNF and PAC in ACOs. The toolkit includes guidance on contracting between ACOs and SNFs.

- ACO Toolkit 

  • The ACO Toolkit includes three modules and two pre-recorded webinars.  The modules are as follows:
    • Module 1 – Overview of the ACO Program: This module provides an overview of the structure, financial model and regulatory requirements of ACOs, as well as an understanding of how ACOs work including who can participate, beneficiary attribution, financial incentives, quality reporting and waivers.
    • Module 2 – Role of PAC and SNFs within ACOs: Building on Module 1, Module 2 provides a more detailed understanding of the role and opportunity for SNF and PAC in the ACO model. 
    • Module 3 – ACO-SNF Contracting Guide: Module 3 highlights the key components in the development and negotiation of contracts between SNFs and ACOs including the key components of a contract, recommendations on terms that should (or should not) be in the contract, and important considerations for contract negotiation. 

- ACO Webinar, March 19th at 2:00 pm 

  • Pre-requisite: Reviewing the modules and pre-recorded webinars
  • Question and Answer webinar to clarify information in the modules or on the webinars and/or make recommendations or suggestions.


Participate in Research on Resident Care in Assisted Living



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 the quality of resident care. 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 in the mail, we strongly encourage the administrators and staff to complete it and mail back to investigators in postage-paid envelopes provided with the survey. All surveys are confidential. We will share aggregate findings from this survey (no individual data will be shared) with all participating ALs. This data may help to improve the quality of the work environment for staff as well as quality of care for all AL residents. All returned surveys will be entered for a chance to win one of six $500 prizes to benefit the AL community from which the survey was sent.

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Have You Registered for the 2020 AHCA/NCAL Quality Summit?


The Quality Summit takes place March 9-11 and provides an excellent range of learning and networking opportunities. You can earn up to 11.5 CEUs.


The Advance Registration Deadline is February 24.

Education topics include:

  • Patient Driven Payment Model (PDPM)
  • Workforce challenges
  • Person-centered care
  • Emergency preparedness
  • Leadership
  • Infection prevention 

See the complete agenda, get all the details, and register now.

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

RSVP for the Quality Initiative Recognition Program Ceremony
Member providers that have achieved one or more of the AHCA/NCAL Quality Initiative goals will be recognized at Quality Summit during a luncheon and ceremony on Tuesday, March 10 from 12:00 – 1:30 pm. To be recognized at the Quality Initiative Recognition Program luncheon, achievers and attendees must register for the conference and RSVP for the ceremony. Registration instructions can be found here. Questions? E-mail qualityinitiative@ahca.org.


Host sponsors: MatrixCare by Res Med, Medline

Contributing sponsors: Healthcare Academy, Kronos, McKesson, Optum, Rcare, Real Time Medical Systems, Select Rehabilitation, SNF Metrics, TeamTSI

RSVP for the Quality Initiative Recognition Program Ceremony

qualityinitiative@ahca.org

Member providers that have achieved one or more of the AHCA/NCAL Quality Initiative goals will be recognized at Quality Summit during a luncheon and ceremony on Tuesday, March 10 from 12:00 – 1:30 pm.

The AHCA/NCAL Quality Initiative is a national, multi-year effort to further improve quality of care in America’s long term and post-acute care centers. Since the launch of the Initiative in 2012, members have been challenged to meet measurable targets in key areas such as hospitalizations and antipsychotics usage. A list of achievers can be found on the AHCA/NCAL Quality Initiative Recognition Program webpages here and here.

To be recognized at the Quality Initiative Recognition Program luncheon, achievers and attendees must register for the conference and RSVP for the ceremony.

Registration instructions can be found here. For additional questions, please email qualityinitiative@ahca.org.

Cleary Energy Can Find How Much You’re Overpaying on Your Facility’s Utility Bills

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. 



The Compass MEC Health Plan Delivers the Benefits Employees Want with No Deductibles, Low Copays and Unlimited Free 24/7 access to TELADOC®

Dave Kyllo

AHCA/NCAL Insurance Solutions offers a minimum essential coverage (MEC) health plan to members.  The plan was developed by Compass Total Benefit Solutions and offers two affordable options for providing many of the health insurance benefits that are important to long term care employees.  This short video explains the MEC plan for AHCA/NCAL members in less than two minutes and highlights the features that make the MEC plan so popular with LTC employers and employees.   

Both Compass plans feature affordable premiums and co-pays for valued and commonly used services, including prescriptions, physician visits and free unlimited 24/7 access to TELADOC®.  Benefits are instantaneous with no deductibles.  The difference in the two plans is based on the level of hospital indemnity benefits.  Here’s the exclusive AHCA/NCAL “Member Only” rate schedule:

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

The plan is designed to help AHCA/NCAL members recruit and retain frontline staff who cannot afford major medical health plan premiums or high deductibles.  Employers determine their level of contribution for plan expenses for coverage for employees, their spouses, their children or family coverage. 

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

Read this Q&A document for more information about Compass plans for AHCA/NCAL members. Versions of the Compass Plan are available in all 50 states. Hospital indemnity benefits vary based on state approvals, which is why some states have different hospital indemnity benefit levels.

For more information, please contact Nick Cianci at 202-898-2841 or Dave Kyllo at 202-898-6312, visit www.ahcabenefits.org or www.ncalbenefits.org or email ahcainsurancesolutions@ahca.org.