GHCA Honors Three of Georgia’s Most Skilled Nurses

At our recent annual nurses’ conference, GANLTC awarded three of Georgia’s most skilled nurses serving in the long-term and post-acute care profession. And, the Nurse of the Year winners are:

CNA of the Year
Dorothy Howard of Bolingreen Health & Rehab, has served as a certified nursing assistant for more than 15 years. In her present role, she works in the Transition Care Community where patient acuity is higher, aligning closely with nursing and therapy to ensure an individualized plan of care is developed that focuses on the resident’s goals and needs. She excels in developing strong relationships with residents and their family members, and continually ensures that staff is mentored and supported in an effort to provide the best customer service and quality patient care possible.

LPN of the Year
Teresa McClendon of Treutlen Health & Rehabilitation, has served in post-acute care for more than 20 years. In her present role as Assistant Director of Nursing, she provides supervision to direct care staff, and serves as the Restorative Nursing Supervisor, QAPI Coordinator and the Treatment Nurse, with an impeccable record of pressure ulcer prevention. She is a true advocate for resident-centered care and resident rights, ensuring that the care provided holistically meet the needs of the family and residents.

RN of the Year
Shelley Gore, Director of Nursing for Lillian […]

September 30th, 2015|News, Newsfront|

Take the 2015 NCAL Performance Measures Survey

NCAL conducts an annual survey on performance measures to help determine what assisted living providers are measuring in order to improve quality of care. This year, the survey has been shortened to 10 questions and should take no more than 10 minutes to complete. We ask that NCAL members fill out the survey by October 31.

September 30th, 2015|Assisted Living, News, Newsfront|

Start your quality journey today!

Last month, the American Health Care Association announced there were four centers joining the elite group of Gold Quality winners, along with only 24 other centers in the nation to earn this distinction since the program’s inception in 1996.  Congratulations again to Effingham Health System, Georgia’s first gold quality award winner!

I encourage you to continue your quality journey.  The 2016 application process is now open. Bronze, Silver and Gold applications are available with the new criteria and program information.  To get started, here are a few tips….

Submit your Intent to Apply! There are a number of benefits, including a reduced application fee and access to additional resources. The deadline is November 19th, 2015 at 8 pm EST. For more information, check out this article from AHCA.
Check out the new Bronze Criteria Series. This free series of short videos will walk applicants through each question on the Bronze criteria, including an explanation of the criteria and a sample response. The Bronze Criteria Series can be accessed on the Bronze website.
There have been changes to the Silver criteria and scoring requirements. An overview of those changes is available here. Returning Silver applicants must pay careful attention to the new criteria when completing their application.
An exciting new resource is coming for Silver applicants. Check back on the Silver […]

September 30th, 2015|News, Newsfront, Quality & Regulatory, Quality Corner|

CDC Unveils Antibiotic Stewardship Program for Skilled Nursing Care Centers

Improving the use of antibiotics in healthcare to protect patients and reduce the threat of antibiotic resistance is a national priority.  Antibiotics are among the most frequently prescribed medications in nursing centers, with up to 70% of residents receiving one or more courses of systemic antibiotics when followed over a year.

CDC adapted the CDC Core Elements of Hospital Antibiotic Stewardship into practical ways to initiate or expand antibiotic stewardship activities in nursing centers.  While the elements are the same for both hospitals and post-acute care settings, the implementation of these elements may vary based on facility staffing and resources. Skilled nursing care centers are encouraged to work in a step-wise fashion, implementing one or two activities to start and gradually adding new strategies from each element over time.  The Georgia Health Care Association participates on Georgia’s HAI Advisory Committee, a group focused on statewide planning and initiatives.  Additionally, GHCA will be supporting your efforts with education and training support.  Please spend some time with your teams reviewing the antibiotic stewardship resources and develop a plan that complements your center’s overall quality improvement efforts.  Together, we can positively impact this critical area of care.

September 30th, 2015|News, Newsfront, Quality & Regulatory, Quality Corner|

CMS releases MDS 3.0 V9.0 update

On September 21st, CMS released a Quality Measure update to be effective October 1, 2015.  MDS 3.0 QM User’s Manual V9.0 contains detailed specification for the MDS 3.0 quality measures. This update includes two key changes.  First, there are two changes to the influenza vaccine measures: a change in time period for calculation of the measures and a change to a single calculation per year. Second, there is a change to the missing values for risk adjusted measures, such that missing values for items used to calculate coefficients result in resident being assigned to the ‘low risk’ category, rather than being dropped from the calculation.  Additional information about changes can be found HERE

September 30th, 2015|News, Newsfront, Quality & Regulatory, Quality Corner|

AHCA to debut new online learning management system at annual convention

The American Health Care Association is slated to launch a ‘homegrown’ online learning management system (LMS) on October 4th at the annual AHCA/NCAL convention in San Antonio.  Marguerite McLaughlin, Sr. Director of Quality for AHCA indicates the system was developed as AHCA heard from many State Affiliates and members who recognized an education gap due to the fast-paced nature of our profession. AHCA/NCAL responded by creating a solution to help to bridge this gap.  Teams of member experts from around the country working with AHCA/NCAL staff are helping to create content. Currently, one of the timeliest products is a course that teaches QAPI/Baldrige Business Systems. The LMS is a free member benefit and ahcancalED will allow AHCA to deliver, manage, track, record, and report on instructor-led and online learning activities.  More to come….

September 30th, 2015|News, Newsfront, Quality & Regulatory, Quality Corner|

2016 Membership Directory and Buyers Guide

Work has begun on the GHCA 2016 Membership Directory and Buyers Guide.  Facility updates will be emailed out soon.  Please be sure the correct information goes into your directory.  Advertising Contracts have been sent out and can be found on the GHCA web site at  The deadline for submissions has been extended to October 30.  The advertisers who have already sent their information in are:

Affinis Hospice                       Amicita Home Health             Clinical Resources

Ethica                                      ECP Distributing                    ElderCare

Gayco Healthcare                   Integra                                     Mauldin & Jenkins

Mobile Images                        Southeastern Laundry             TIS Insurance


If you have any questions concerning the directory, please contact Belinda Price at 678-783-1703 or

September 30th, 2015|Affiliate Updates, News, Newsfront|

Update on CHOW Funding

After submitting the proposed State Plan Amendment that contains language for special CHOW Funding on July 28th, DCH received some questions from CMS. That results in a new deadline of 12/16/15 – a long time after the original of 10/26/15. According to a DCH official,

The questions were very general

It is hard to tell from the questions what they are having an issue with or IF they are actually having an issue

DCH believes part of their questioning is because this is a very unusual SPA

It seems as if they thought Medicaid was trying to change the definition of CHOW, but DCH has steered them back on course about this NOT being the intention

DCH committed to letting GHCA know if there is pushback from the current list of answers, potentially delaying the approval.

September 30th, 2015|News, Newsfront, Reimbursement Corner|

DOL Announces Increase in Minimum Wage Rate for Federal Contractors in 2016

On February 12, 2014, President Obama signed Executive Order 13658, Establishing a Minimum Wage for Contractors. The Executive Order raises the hourly minimum wage paid by contractors to workers performing on covered Federal contracts to: (i) $10.10 per hour, beginning January 1, 2015; and (ii) beginning January 1, 2016, and annually thereafter, an amount determined by the Secretary of the Department of Labor (DOL) in accordance with the Order. According to a September 18 legal alert from Ford & Harrison LLP, DOL announced last week that the minimum wage for certain federal contracts will increase to $10.15 per hour beginning January 1, 2016. The DOL notice on this increase can be found here.

Medicare (Parts A and B) or Medicaid providers are not considered to be federal contractors. However, if a provider currently has VA patients and a VA contract, they are considered to be a federal contractor. Since VA contracts are covered by the Service Contract Act, this Executive Order applies to such contracts. AHCA continues to work with Congressional champions on getting VA provider agreements across the finish line, and taking those with VA contracts out of the scope of being deemed a federal contractor.

September 30th, 2015|News, Newsfront, Reimbursement Corner|

CMS Issues Quarterly update to Medicare Part B CCI Edits

 The Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recently issued a Medicare Learning Network (MLN) article MM9326 – Quarterly Update to the Correct Coding Initiative (CCI) Edits, Version 22.0, Effective January 1, 2016.

CMS developed the National Correct Coding Initiative (NCCI) to promote national correct coding methodologies and to control improper coding that leads to inappropriate payment of Part B services (including therapy services). Billers should review the CCI edit code update prior to the January, 1, 2016 implementation. A useful CMS guide How to Use the Medicare National Correct Coding Initiative (NCCI) Tools is also useful for billers not familiar with the Part B CCI edit policy.

September 30th, 2015|Newsfront, Reimbursement Corner, Uncategorized|