ALFA Reports 2014 as Positive Year for Senior Living

McKnights (3/27, Hall)
Senior living providers had a remarkably positive 2014, marked by record investments and acquisitions, growing occupancy rates and swelling demand, according to the annual analysis of the largest senior living providers by the Assisted Living Federation of America.
There were more than 290 acquisitions representing more than $25 billion last year, up from the 2013 record of 225, ALFA reported. Overall, 29 of the top 80 providers on ALFA’s list this year plan to open or acquire additional communities in 2015.
Brookdale Senior Living was the top memory care and assisted living provider and the number two ranked independent living provider (behind Holiday Retirement), on ALFA’s list.
Occupancy rates also soared in 2014, according to ALFA. Both independent and assisted living saw their strongest occupancy rates since 2007. For 2015, assisted living occupancy is expected to rise from 89.3% to 89.6%, while independent living will go up from 91.3% to 92.2%, an all-time high. Senior living was most robust on the Eastern seaboard and in the Midwest.
“We had solid demand in 2014. We had levels of supply to meet that demand, increasing occupancy rates, strong rent growth, and very strong interest from the investor community in terms of acquisition activity,” Beth Mace, chief economist for the National Investment Center for the Seniors Housing & Care Industry […]

March 27th, 2015|Assisted Living, Newsfront, Personal Care Homes|

AHCA Launches New Payment Reform Initiative Webpages

Mike Cheek 
AHCA members now have access to the latest information about the ongoing AHCA Payment Reform Initiative (PRI). Log onto the AHCA website* to view the new PRI webpages, which include an overview of the initiative, details on the Medicare Post-Acute Care SNF Payment concept, background on value-based components and therapy regulatory relief, and additional resources.
In June 2014, the Chair of the AHCA Board of Governors appointed a Payment Reform Task Force. The goal of the task force was to develop a viable, proactive and comprehensive vision for payment reform suitable for advocacy with Congress, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Congressional Medicare and Medicaid advisory commissions. Over the course of the summer and early fall 2014, the Task Force members submitted over a dozen reform concept papers. The concepts then were scored and prioritized by the member-driven Task Force.​
Visit the AHCA Payment Reform Initiative homepage to learn more. If you have questions or comments on the still-under-development-effort, please contact Mike Cheek at
*Members must be logged onto the AHCA website in order to view the PRI webpages.

March 26th, 2015|Newsfront, Reimbursement Corner|

NCAL Comments On Proposed Rule That Impacts Aid & Attendance Benefit For Veterans

NCAL Connections (3/26, La Porte)

NCAL recently commented on a proposed rule that impacts the Aid & Attendance (A&A) benefit program for veterans residing in assisted living communities. Published on Jan. 23, 2015, the proposed rule establishes new requirements pertaining to the evaluation of net worth and asset transfers and identifies medical expenses that may be deducted from countable income for eligibility purposes.

Under the proposed rule, the means-tested A&A program, which the VA also calls “pension benefits,” will require a three-year look-back assessment when determining eligibility. The rule also establishes a clear net worth limit as the sum of assets and annual income.Although the rule would tighten eligibility for the program, NCAL, as well as many other veteran advocacy organizations, support the basic tenets of the proposed rule because it protects veterans from predatory practices of financial planners who appear to have profited from helping veterans become eligible for the benefit.

NCAL did, however, take issue with the proposed rule’s definition of ADLs as unreimbursed medical expenses. According to the rule, the definition of ADLs eliminates two of the most frequent reasons elders move into assisted living: the inability to self-administer medications and the inability to ambulate on their own. In its comments to VA, NCAL recommends that the rule be amended to include in its definition […]

March 26th, 2015|Assisted Living, Legislative, Newsfront, Personal Care Homes, Uncategorized|

Study Strengthens Case Against Antipsychotics To Treat Symptoms Of Dementia.

The Detroit Free Press (3/19, Erb, 987K) reports that a study published online March 18 in JAMA Psychiatry and funded by the National Institute of Mental Health and the National Institute on Aging, “strengthens the case against the practice of prescribing antipsychotic drugs to treat delusions, hallucinations, agitation and aggression – symptoms of dementia, including of Alzheimer’s disease.” Researchers arrived at that conclusion after examining “medical data of more than 91,000 veterans over 65.” The article also points out that the FDA “warns consumers of serious risk of side effects of” antipsychotics when used in patients with dementia.

The NPR (3/19, Hensley, 1.58M) “Shots” blog reports that the study authors “boiled down their findings in a way that could be useful for busy doctors and families trying to decide what to do.” That is, ascertaining “how many older patients would have to be on a drug for one of them to die within six months,” also called “the number needed to harm, or NNH.”

Modern Healthcare (3/19, Roce, Subscription Publication, 218K) reports that investigators “found that for every 26 patients treated with haloperidol, there was one additional death within six months that would not have been expected to occur had those patients not received the” medication, and “for every 50 patients taking quetiapine, one unnecessary death might […]

March 26th, 2015|Assisted Living, Newsfront, Personal Care Homes, Quality Corner|

National Assisted Living Week Theme Announced

NCAL Connections (3/18, Preede)

Let the planning begin! NCAL is proud to announce the 2015 National Assisted Living Week® (NALW) theme – suggested by you – “Nourishing Life: Mind, Body, Spirit.”

NCAL received many wonderful theme and activity suggestions through the NALW Facebook page,, and other avenues. “Nourishing Life: Mind, Body, Spirit” stood out as a theme that truly embodies all that assisted living represents. This theme celebrates the countless ways assisted living caregivers nurture the whole resident. Communities across the country work each and every day to ensure that the lives of their residents are fully nourished in each and every way.

Conversely, residents nourish the lives of team members and volunteers by, with the support of loved ones, sharing their inspiring lives. NALW is a time to celebrate all those who work together to create the highest quality of life possible.

In the coming weeks and months, the 2015 NALW logo will be available for download in several formats, and a planning guide and product catalog will be released. The planning guide will contain ideas that tie into the theme, which help providers create their celebration events.

As NALW approaches, visit or the NALW Facebook page for updated information and resources.

March 26th, 2015|Assisted Living, Newsfront|

PASRR Edits Reactivated 4/1/15

DCH / HP will turn the PASRR edits back on for any claims processing done after 4/1/15.  If you still have edits 3001 and 3011 on your remittance advice, then you will not be paid for these claims once the edits are reactivated.  See the HP Banner Message HERE and another helpful document HERE in order to get these corrected before the deadline.

March 26th, 2015|Newsfront, Reimbursement Corner|

GHCA Board of Directors Qualifying Information & Form

Candidates wishing to qualify for any statewide office should either complete the form below or download the nomination form and return it to the GHCA Office by Friday, April 24, 2015. This allows the nominating committee to qualify a candidate for office in accordance to the Bylaws. The elections take place in conjunction with GHCA Summer Convention in June. If you are a current board member and are eligible for a second term, you are required to complete the qualifying form and return it to the GHCA Office. Council Presidents are not required to complete the qualifying form but must be a licensed nursing home administrator with operations in the council the candidate intends to represent.
Failure to meet these deadlines does NOT preclude nominations from the floor, but the Bylaws are designed to ensure that every office has a nominated candidate prior to the Convention.
Qualifying/Nominating Committee
Georgia Health Care Association
160 Country Club Drive
Stockbridge, GA 30281
FAX 678-289-6400

These positions are filled with dedicated volunteers who are committed to improving this Association and our profession in this state. Listed below is the current Board, the required candidate qualifications and the election process.For […]

March 23rd, 2015|GHCA, GHCA Board|

2015 GHCA Awards Nominations

Changes in LTC Trend Tracker

There are two updates to LTC Trend Tracker: 

The online analytics tools now offers a Length of Stay (LOS) metric, which calculates the median LOS for all new admissions from a hospital. In addition, the LOS metric calculates the percentage of new admissions who have stays of seven, 14, 20 and 45 days or fewer.

The LOS metric is:
· Based on MDS 3.0 data
· Calculated for new admissions regardless of payor status to a nursing center from a hospital
· Calculated based on the number of days between their admission and discharge from the Center

AHCA is continuously working to make LTC Trend Tracker a central place to access key data, including all the data CMS collects on skilled nursing centers. In addition, members can find exclusive, in-house measures to help gain insight on hospital readmissions and discharges to the community.
The Five Star Reports have been updated in LTC Trend Tracker to reflect the most recent CMS changes. These reports include the Five Star Overall, and the predictor reports, Five Star QM Report and Five Star […]

March 12th, 2015|Newsfront, Quality Corner, Reimbursement Corner|

CMS Releases 2 Important MLN Articles

MLN Matters®Number: MM8581 titled ‘Automation of the Request for Reopening Claims Process’. This article is based on CR 8581 which informs A/MACs about changes that will allow providers and their vendors to electronically request re-openings of claims. In this document, clarifications were made regarding the relationship of re-openings to timely filing and also to certain denied claims lines and to clarify the need for a "Remarks" field code for certain re-openings. In addition, the effective and implementation dates are revised. All other information remains the same. Make sure your billing staffs are aware of these changes.

Medicare Fee-For Service (FFS) Claims Processing Guidance for Implementing International Classification of Diseases, 10th Edition (ICD-10) (MM7492).
The new question asks “Will CMS allow for dual processing of ICD-9 and ICD-10 codes (accept and process both ICD-9 and ICD-10 codes for dates of service on and after October 1, 2015?” CMS answers this question by stating “No, CMS will not allow for dual processing of ICD-9 and ICD-10 codes after ICD-10 implementation on October 1, 2015…The scope of systems changes and testing needed to allow for dual processing would require significant resources and could not […]

March 12th, 2015|Newsfront, Reimbursement Corner|