GHCA Welcomes the New Director of Assisted Living

The GHCA is pleased to welcome Brittany Todd as its new Director of Assisted Living. As director, she will be responsible for recruitment and retention of assisted living facilities and personal care homes as Allied members. She will be providing members with advocacy, licensing and regulatory assistance. She will also provide counsel on educational programming and professional development as well as serving as the Georgia liaison with National Centers for Assisted Living (NCAL).

Prior to joining GHCA, Brittany was the EAGLE Accreditation Manager for the United Methodist Association of Health and Welfare Ministries, which accredits faith-based, non-profit older adult facilities and children’s homes. While with UMH, she was instrumental in developing the program and growing the number of accredited organizations, year over year. Her other work experiences with Jackson Healthcare and the CDC gives her a vast understanding of sales, marketing, and branding combined with knowledge of public health.

Brittany received her undergraduate degree from Georgia Southern University and her master’s degree from Georgia State University, both in biology.  Please feel free to contact her at 678.902.9225 or

September 30th, 2014|News, Newsfront|

Georgia Skilled Nursing Care Centers Reach Milestone in Reducing Antipsychotic Use in Residents with Dementia

State’s long term care providers exceed national reduction goal

The Georgia Health Care Association (GHCA) recently announced that Georgia’s skilled nursing care centers attained and exceeded a nationwide goal to safely reduce the off-label use of antipsychotic medications.

As part of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) Partnership to Improve Dementia Care in Nursing Homes and the profession’s national Quality Initiative, Georgia skilled nursing centers surpassed a nationwide 15 percent reduction goal, achieving a 27 percent reduction in antipsychotic medications between the end of 2011 and 2013. Georgia joins 29 other states that either met or exceeded the nationwide 15 percent reduction goal.

“This great news provides concrete proof that Georgia’s long term care providers are revolutionizing care for individuals living with dementia,” said Jon S. Howell, president and CEO of the Georgia Health Care Association.  “Our skilled nursing care centers have set an example for the rest of the nation as to what person-centered care looks like, and they should be proud of their accomplishment.”

The national efforts to improve dementia care are tracked by reviewing a publicly-reported measure – the percent of long-stay nursing center residents who are receiving an antipsychotic medication, excluding those residents diagnosed with schizophrenia, Huntington’s Disease or Tourette’s Syndrome. The baseline for improvement is fourth quarter 2011, which saw 28.2 […]

September 30th, 2014|Newsfront, Quality Corner|

Reminder – Georgia Satisfaction Surveys are shipping this week

As a reminder, surveys will ship this week and will be arriving within the next few days. Please watch for a package from FedEx addressed attn: Administrator. This package contains bundles of each; family, resident and employee surveys per your order. If you ordered languages other than English those surveys will be separated out and labled as such. Please distribute the surveys right away. If you are mailing any family surveys to their home address you will need to add a mailing label and postage.

If you do not receive your surveys by October 7th, please notify Teresa Costello right away and she will track the package for you.

You can monitor the survey response rates and comments online during the survey process when logging into your My InnerView account at www.nationalresearch/\

Should you have any questions during the survey process, please feel free to contact either Teresa Costello or any member of the Client Service Team at 800-601-3884.

September 30th, 2014|Quality Corner|

CMS Issues S&C Memo Regarding Completion of MDS 3.0 Discharge Assessments

CMS issued a S&C memo entitled: Completion of Minimum Data Set (MDS) 3.0 Discharge Assessments for Resident Transfers from a Medicare- and/or Medicaid-Certified Bed to a Non-Certified Bed. This memo provides reinforcement of the requirement for MDS 3.0 Discharge assessments to be completed when a resident transfers from a Medicare- and/or Medicaid-certified bed to a non-certified bed, including when housed under the same certified facility. Discharge assessments are required assessments and are critical to ensuring the accuracy of Quality Measures (QMs) and in aiding in resident care planning for discharge from the certified facility.

The memo also informs the RAI User’s Manual Version 1.12 is scheduled to be posted to CMS’ Nursing Home Quality Initiatives website.

September 30th, 2014|Newsfront, Reimbursement Corner|

DOJ Launches Elder Justice Website

The US Department of Justice (DOJ) has launched a new website in an effort to further prevent and combat elder abuse and financial exploitation, according the agency’s press release. The Elder Justice Website will serve as a resource for elder abuse prosecutors, researchers, practitioners and for victims of elder abuse and their families. The website also will serve as a forum for law enforcement and elder justice policy communities to share information and enhance public awareness about potential elder abuse.

As reported previously, protecting older Americans is one of the DOJ’s top priorities, as evidence shows that nearly 1 in 10 people over the age of 60 suffer abuse and neglect. Older Americans also are targeted by consumer scams, health care fraud and financial exploitation. A DOJ spokesperson, Assistant Attorney General Delery, says “the website provides resources and a means for improved communication among prosecutors, supports victims and families, and establishes a mechanism for collaboration for researchers and practitioners.”

To view the DOJ press release on the website click HERE.

To view the DOJ website click HERE.

September 30th, 2014|News, Newsfront, Reimbursement Corner|

MedPAC Discusses Hospital Short Stay Policy Issues

On Sept. 12, 2014, the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) held a meeting on hospital short stay policy issues. The Commission meets publicly in Washington, D.C., to discuss Medicare issues and policy questions and to develop and approve reports and recommendations to the U.S. Congress. At these meetings, staff present research and policy options for the commissioners to discuss. The Sept. 12 hospital short stay policy issues meeting focused on, among other topics discussed, observation stays, the two-midnight rule, recovery audit contractors, one-day inpatient stays, and beneficiary impacts.

Here is how the staff framed the hospital short stay policy issues:

“As inpatient stays have shortened and some inpatient services have migrated to the outpatient setting over the years, the issue of whether a patient requires inpatient care or could be treated successfully as an outpatient has received increasing attention. The high profitability of one-day stays under the inpatient payment system and the generally lower payment rates for similar care under the outpatient payment system has heightened concern about the appropriateness of inpatient one-day stays. This led the recovery audit contractors to focus their audits on inpatient one-day stays, leading to a large number of claims denied on the grounds of inappropriate admission. Hospitals responded by increasing their use of outpatient observation status. In an effort to […]

September 30th, 2014|News, Reimbursement Corner|

Medicare PPS Rates Posted

On Oct. 1, 2014 Medicare Prospective Payment System (PPS) payments for nursing facilities (NFs) will, on average, be increased by 2%. However, it is very important to note that the variation in changes to a facility’s core based statistical area (CBSA) wage index and a labor-related weight for FY 2015 of 69.180% means that, overall, some areas will see increases and others will see decreases. Importantly, on Feb. 28, 2013 the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued OMB Bulletin No. 13-01, which established revised delineations for metropolitan statistical areas, micropolitan statistical areas, and combined statistical areas, and provided guidance on the use of the delineations of these statistical areas.

CMS is implementing new OMB delineations for the SNF PPS wage index beginning in FY 2015.
CMS is also implementing a one-year transition with a blended wage index for all providers in FY 2015 to assist providers in adapting to the new OMB delineations.

According to the American Health Care Association (AHCA), here are the highlights on the rates that go into effect on Oct. 1, 2014.

The final rule provides for a net market basket increase for SNFs of 2.0% beginning Oct. 1, 2014.
CMS estimates that the net market basket update will increase Medicare SNF payments by approximately $750 million in FY 2015.
The labor-related weight for FY 2015 […]

September 30th, 2014|News, Reimbursement Corner|

IMPACT Act Update by Clif Porter

Last week, the House and Senate passed the IMPACT Act.  AHCA/NCAL has supported this timely legislation because it builds an important framework for future debates and discussions regarding the payment models for post-acute care providers.   In summary, IMPACT will:

Incorporate standardized assessment into existing assessment tools (like the CARE tool) across PAC providers and acute care hospitals for pressure ulcers, functional status, cognitive status and special services
Develop public reporting of common quality measures, such as rehospitalizations and pressure ulcers, across settings
Provide quality measures to consumers when transitioning to a PAC provider
Requires HHS and MedPAC to conduct several studies on alternative PAC payment models

What does IMPACT mean for skilled nursing providers?

Over the past several years, our members have spent a great deal of time showcasing how we deliver quality care. We have shared the message that we deliver better health outcomes than other providers, at a fraction of the cost of other settings. We have done our best to support this message with academic research and publicly available data. IMPACT will help create a system that allows the government to compare the data, thus giving additional credibility to our claims.

This legislation requires that similar services be compared across post-acute settings, both on the quality and resource utilization (cost) front.  Invariably, our sector wins when these […]

September 30th, 2014|News, Newsfront|

GANLTC Names 2014 RN, LPN & CNA of the Year

The Georgia Health Care Association has joined with the Georgia Association of Nurses in Long Term Care (GANLTC) in congratulating the recipients of the 2014 awards recognizing excellence in nursing.

Brenda Holloman of Dawson Health & Rehabilitation Center has been named 2014 GANLTC RN of the Year. Ms. Holloman was selected in part for embracing the INTERACT III process for reduction of rehospitalizations, resulting in her facility being among the lowest in the state.

Delaine Whitehead Way of Emanuel County Nursing Home was named 2014 GANLTC LPN of the Year. Ms. Way was an early adapter of the Hand-in-Hand program and recognized how it would benefit and improve resident care. She has excellent clinical skills and continues to seek every educational opportunity made available to her.

Alfred Cannie of Green Acres Health & Rehabilitation Center was named 2014 GANLTC CNA of the Year. A 42-year veteran of long term care, Cannie has worked in his present position for 32 years.

Pictured below from Right to Left: Brenda Holloman, Delaine Whitehead Way, Alfred Cannie.

September 30th, 2014|Affiliate Updates, Awards, GANLTC, Membership, News, Newsfront, Uncategorized|

Voter Registration Deadline Approaching

Georgia voters have until October 6th to register in order to vote in the November 4th general election, as well as any possible state or federal runoffs.  Georgians with a valid driver’s license can register online HERE.  The GA Votes mobile app also allows Georgians to register, find polling locations, check voter registration status and track the status of an absentee ballot.

September 30th, 2014|Legislative|