Experimental Alzheimer’s Treatment Slows Cognitive Decline In Early Trial

AHCA/NCAL Gazette, 3/23

Amy Robach reported on ABC World News (3/20, story 8, 1:05, Robach, 5.84M) on “what may be a new weapon in a fight against Alzheimer’s.” A new treatment from Biogen Idec is “showing signs that it could decrease the rate of cognitive decline in those battling the disease.” ABC’ News chief medical editor Richard Besser, MD, said the positive results, though early, “are very encouraging.”

Lester Holt of NBC Nightly News (3/20, story 6, 1:55, Holt, 7.86M) reported that the new medicine is “being called a potential silver bullet to slow down memory loss.” Correspondent Kate Snow added, “Researchers tested the treatment on 166 people who had mild Alzheimer’s or early signs of dementia,” with some participants receiving “different doses of the” medicine, while others received a placebo. “Those who received the highest dosage had the slowest build-up of brain-clogging plaques linked to Alzheimer’s.”

On the front of its Business Day section, the New York Times (3/21, B1, Pollack, Subscription Publication, 9.97M) reported that the medication, called aducanumab or BIIB037, is “designed to get rid of amyloid plaque in the brain, which is widely believed to be a cause of the dementia” characteristic of the disease. The Times added, however, that the medicine did produce a “high incidence of a particular side effect” in this […]

March 31st, 2015|Assisted Living, Newsfront, Personal Care Homes|

Volunteer for ICD-10 End-to-End Testing

During the week of July 20–24, 2015, providers will have the opportunity to participate in ICD-10 end-to-end testing with Medicare Administrative Contractors (MACs) and the Common Electronic Data Interchange (CEDI) contractor. Approximately 850 volunteer submitters will be selected to participate in the July end-to-end testing.
This nationwide sample will yield meaningful results, according to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), since it intends to select volunteers representing a broad cross-section of provider, claim, and submitter types, including claims clearinghouses that submit claims for large numbers of providers. To volunteer, complete the relevant form available at the MAC website by April 17, 2015.
CMS and CEDI will review the applicants and make selections by May 8, 2015. If selected to participate, providers must be able to submit future-dated claims and provide valid National Provider Identifiers (NPIs), Provider Transaction Numbers and beneficiary Health Insurance Claim Numbers (HICNs) that will be used for test claims.
Any issues identified during this testing will be addressed prior to ICD-10 implementation. Educational materials also will be developed for providers and submitters based on these testing results. To obtain more information go to the following MLN Matters links at MLN Matters® Article #MM8867, MLN Matters Special Edition […]

March 31st, 2015|Newsfront, Reimbursement Corner|

AHCA releases 2014 Medicaid Shortfall Report

Last week, the American Health Care Association (AHCA) released the 2014 Medicaid shortfall report by Eljay, LLC and Hansen Hunter & Company, PC. The study finds that unreimbursed allowable Medicaid costs for 2014 are projected to exceed $6.7 billion. Expressed as a shortfall in reimbursement per Medicaid patient day, the estimated average Medicaid shortfall in the United States for 2014 is projected to be $21.20, which is 12.6 percent lower than the preceding year’s projected shortfall of $24.26.
More detail on nationwide totals
Between 2012 and 2014, overall Medicaid rates increased by 3.6 percent, with provider costs projected to increase by 2.9 percent. The rate increases since the base cost report years represent a combination of improving state economies and increases in provider tax rates as a funding source for rate adjustments. The estimated 2014 projected shortfall ($21.20) is relatively similar to the 2012 shortfall ($21.80).
As you know, a key advocacy point for us in Georgia has been the projected and "real" shortfall between the costs of care and the Medicaid rates we receive for the care. For Georgia, here is the updated information: The 2014 weighted average total rate was $156.10 per day with the 2014 projected average per day costs […]

March 31st, 2015|News, Newsfront|

Medicare SGR and Therapy Fix Advance in Congress

On March 24, 2015, the House Ways and Means Committee introduced a bipartisan permanent fix to the sustainable growth rate (SGR), which passed the House floor on Thursday, March 26. The bill, H.R. 2, would remove the perennial threat of providers paying for a "doc fix" and inject much-needed stability into the long-term and post-acute care sector. The American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) encouraged support for H.R. 2, the House speaker and minority leader’s "doc fix" bill to replace a flawed method of reimbursing Medicare providers. The proposed House bill includes very important therapy reforms for patients, such as a two-year extension of the therapy caps exception process. It also provides relief from the therapy manual medical review (MMR) that has been burdensome and costly to both patients and providers.
Congress in March 2014 approved a short-term delay to scheduled reductions to Medicare physician reimbursement rates called for by the SGR system; the delay expires on March 31, 2015. Physicians face about a 21% reduction in Medicare reimbursement rates unless Congress acts by then. Details were released this week as House Speaker John Boehner and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi pushed for a vote on March 26. The […]

March 31st, 2015|News, Newsfront|

Bettye Rose Connell Memorial Lecture Series Events

March 31st, 2015|Newsfront, Quality Corner|

GHCA Education & Research Foundation Scholarships

Applications for nursing scholarships are currently being accepted.  You may apply online by clicking HERE or submit to Pam Clayton by fax at 678-289-6400 or email at  Applicants will be accepted through May and scholarships awarded in June.

March 31st, 2015|Foundation, GHCA, Newsfront, Quality Corner|

Disrupt Infections Workshop: New Approach to Minimizing Preventable Infections

Advancing Excellence is pleased to join Dr. Bill Thomas and the Age of Disruption Tour in 30 cities nationwide. Advancing Excellence will present a 2-hour NAB CEU workshop around new approaches in infection control. Please visit the Advancing Excellence website for additional details. Information is updated as dates and locations are confirmed.

March 31st, 2015|Newsfront, Quality Corner|

National Partnership for Dementia Care new website

Since the launch of the National Partnership, significant reductions in the prevalence of antipsychotic use in long-stay nursing home residents have been documented.  Georgia has experienced an overall decrease in utilization of 29.8% since initial goals were established. Recently, CMS established new national goals for reducing the use of antipsychotic medications in long-stay nursing home residents by 25 percent by the end of 2015, and 30 percent by the end of 2016.  While safe reduction of antipsychotic medication utilization has been a focus, the Partnership’s larger mission is to enhance the use of non-pharmacologic approaches and person-centered dementia care practices.  You can visit the new website by clicking HERE.
Please visit for information on upcoming Hand in Hand training to assist with education and resources related to this important area of care.

March 31st, 2015|Newsfront, Quality Corner|

Soliciting facilities to participate in the Regional Exercise Program

This spring, facilities in RCH Regions B, F, K, and M will be participating in a Regional Full Scale Exercise. This is an excellent opportunity for long term care facilities to test their plans while interacting with community partners. Meeting locations and start times will be sent out prior to the meetings. We are asking for full participation in each Region. Please contact Tiffany Hanshaw with any questions or concerns.

Upcoming Meeting Schedule:
Region M
Region K

March 31st, 2015|Emergency Preparedness, Newsfront|

This website is one of the many ways for Georgia’s hospitals, nursing homes, and other local and state agencies to be kept informed of vital news, information, and tools to assist them in their disaster preparedness and mutual aid planning. Please log into the system and register to receive a username and password for any member of your facility.  Bed count drills will occur every Wednesday and your update is due before 12pm.  You must update on Wednesdays and before noon in order to be counted as participating.
Please forward all technical issues and training requests to Tiffany Hanshaw at

March 31st, 2015|Emergency Preparedness, Newsfront|