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MedPAC Finalizes Payment Recommendations and Next Steps for Payment Reform 

See below message from AHCA's Senior Vice President of Reimbursement Policy & Legal Affairs Michael Cheek: On January 12, 2017, the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) finalized its March 2017 Medicare payment report recommendations. MedPAC develops a payment report with recommendations on Medicare payment policy for Congress each year. Congress is not required to act upon any MedPAC recommendations nor is the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). During the Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF) prospective payment system (PPS) discussion, the MedPAC Commissioners voted unanimously in favor of a recommendation to eliminate federal fiscal year PPS updates for 2018 and 2019, as well as to revise the existing PPS. The final SNF PPS recommendation language states: "The Congress should eliminate the market basket updates for 2018 and 2019 and direct the [Department of Health and Human Services] Secretary to revise the prospective payment system for skilled nursing facilities. In 2020, the Secretary should report to Congress on the impacts of the reformed prospective payment system and make additional adjustments to payments needed to more closely align payments and costs." Total estimated reductions to the profession would range from $750 million to $2 billion in fiscal year (FY) 2018 and $5 to $10 billion over five years. In departure from past years, MedPAC also unveiled a [...]

January 13th, 2017|Uncategorized|

Emergency Preparedness Update: Gov. Deal Mobilizes State Resources Ahead of Winter Storm

Gov. Nathan Deal will declare a state of emergency for 79 counties at noon on Friday, January 6, ahead of a significant weather event. Acting upon the recommendation of the Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency, Deal is ordering state agencies to prepare for up to four inches of snowfall. Deal is announcing the order today so that individuals and businesses in North and Central Georgia can prepare for the noon declaration and the winter storm itself. State government offices will remain open as usual tomorrow. “I am issuing this executive order to implement protective measures to ensure the public health, preserve the safety of the public, keep property damage to a minimum and to minimize the social and economic impacts of this event on the citizens of Georgia,” said Deal. “We will continue monitoring the forecast models and make appropriate adjustments as necessary. Georgians should stay calm, make the appropriate preparations and stay aware of a potential change in weather conditions.” About the State of Emergency: The Georgia Department of Transportation will begin treating roads and interstates this evening and will continue to do so throughout the day Friday. Local governments and agencies are working with the state to prepare for the winter storm. The state of emergency allocates resources to state and [...]

January 5th, 2017|Emergency Preparedness, Newsfront|

Emergency Preparedness Update: Winter Storm Watch Upgraded to Warning

The National Weather Service in Peachtree City has issued a winter storm warning for north Georgia and portions of central Georgia, effective from 4:00 p.m. Friday, January 6 to 1:00 p.m. Saturday, January 7. The winter storm watch is no longer in effect. Snow accumulation is expected to be between 2 and 4 inches with locally higher amounts. Additionally, winds are expected to be between 10 and 15 mph with gusts up to 25 mph. Important reminders to help keep you prepared are below: Test generators and top off fuel levels ahead of the storm. Check emergency supplies and replenish if needed. As significant snowfall is forecasted, roads are expected to become slick. If you must travel, exercise extreme caution and keep a flashlight, food, and water in your vehicle in case of an emergency. Just as a reminder, all emergencies are handled locally first. Click here for your local EMA directory. If there is an emergency at your facility, please contact your local HCL after you have contacted your local EMA. Your HCL is your direct point of contact to your local Healthcare Coalition. Click here to locate your HCL. Please monitor and update bed counts on GHA911.org. GHCA will continue to monitor the winter weather and keep members updated. If you are in need of assistance, please contact: GHCA Emergency Preparedness [...]

January 5th, 2017|Emergency Preparedness, News, Newsfront|

Emergency Preparedness Winter Weather Alert

Across north Georgia and in portions of central Georgia, wintry precipitation, mainly a rain/snow mixture or all snow, is forecasted beginning late Friday and continuing into Saturday. The initial forecast model below displays the currently predicted rain/snow line and snow amounts: As you can see, snow is predicted to occur along and north of the I-85 corridor. Please note that this is the initial forecast and will change over the next few days. Tools and resources to help keep members safe in winter weather are available below: Tips on Remaining Safe in Winter Weather Click here to read tips on keeping safe in winter weather. Emergency Management Agency (EMA) Just as a reminder, all emergencies are handled locally first. Click here for your local EMA directory. Health Care Liaisons If there is an emergency at your facility, please contact your local HCL after you have contacted your local EMA. Your HCL is your direct point of contact to your local Healthcare Coalition. Click here to locate your HCL. www.GHA911.org Please monitor and update bed counts on GHA 911.org  Click here for GHA911.org. GHCA will continue to monitor the winter weather and keep members updated. For additional information, please contact: GHCA Emergency Preparedness Coordinator Alexandra Benoit Direct: 678-783-1701 Mobile: 404-449-3131 alexandra.benoit@ghca.info

January 5th, 2017|Emergency Preparedness, News, Newsfront|

Message from AHCA President & CEO Mark Parkinson

2016: Eventful and Surprising 2017: A Year of Opportunity 2016 has been a remarkable year. This memo will review 2016 and discuss what's next in 2017 -- where there are opportunities and what AHCA/NCAL is doing to seize them. 2016: An Historic Election All presidential elections matter, but few have been as surprising as 2016. The entire political class was wrong. The pundits were wrong on Trump initially, and kept getting it wrong. It certainly was an unpredictable, if not interesting, election season. Ultimately, Donald Trump didn't just win the presidency, he had coattails. Traditional Washington believed that Democrats would pick up 20 House seats and take over the Senate. That did not happen. Democrats only gained six House seats while Republicans held the Senate with a 52-48 margin. Significantly, Republicans now control the entire federal government and may do so for the next four years. It is rare that a party controls everything for even two years, but Republicans have that for certain. It is even rarer for a party to control everything for four years. The margins that Republicans hold, particularly considering that they defend only eight Senate seats in 2018, make four-year control possible. This Changes Everything Multiple Opportunities, One Big Risk The good news is that as a result of the [...]

December 21st, 2016|News, Newsfront|

2017 Ms. GHCA Pageant Information Now Available

The 2017 Ms. GHCA Pageant will be Saturday, April 1, at the Evergreen Resort in Stone Mountain, GA.  Deadline to submit your entry is February 28, 2017. You do not want to miss out on this wonderful event. Click here for information on how to submit your resident for an opportunity to participate.

December 15th, 2016|Affiliate Updates, News, Newsfront|

Requirements of Participation Resources

As you know, Phase 1 of the new Requirements of Participation became effective beginning November 28.  Hopefully your teams have developed a plan to assist with a methodical approach to compliance. If you are in need of additional resources, visit GHCA’s quality page and AHCA’s ahcancalED website. There are three key categories of resources available: Action briefs proving highlights and tips about a specific topic Tools designed to assist with implementing the requirement Webinars to assist with understanding requirements Additionally, the GHCA/GCAL 2017 Winter Convention will feature a session on the Requirements of Participation that will enhance your understanding of the requirements and help to further develop your plans to ensure compliance. Click here to register today.

December 15th, 2016|News, Newsfront, Quality Corner|

Georgia Quality Award Application 2016 – Deadline Extended to December 23

Minimum Criteria for Submission of Application (Deadline Extended to December 23) Participate in the Georgia Quality Improvement Program. Must meet minimum points on Quality Incentive Report for quarters ending: 9/30/15, 12/31/15, 3/31/16, 6/30/16. Note: Failure to attach all required data will result in disqualification.    Must be below the Georgia (State) average calculation points for cited deficiencies using the Calculating Survey Results form below (submit 3 years of survey data July 1, 2013 – June 30, 2016). Clinical Quality Quantitative data to be considered will be: Must be at or below  the State average on 8 of 11 Quality Measures, Q2 2016. Immunization rates for flu and pneumonia for these specified quarters needs to be at 80% or above for each quarter. Data from CMS will be used for this award year's reporting period, Q2 2016 Long Stay composite score measures to be included are: Percent of residents with one or more falls with major injury Percent of residents with a UTI Percent of residents who self-report moderate to severe pain Percent of high-risk residents with pressure ulcer Percent of low-risk residents with loss of bowels or bladder Percent of residents with catheter inserted or left in bladder Percent of residents physically restrained Percent of residents whose need for help with ADL has increased Percent of residents who [...]

December 14th, 2016|News, Quality & Regulatory, Quality Corner|

DCH December Board Meeting Recap

Yesterday, the Department of Community Health (DCH) held their December Board meeting.  It was Commissioner Frank Berry’s first Board meeting as DCH commissioner. During the meeting, Medicaid Director Linda Wiant shared an update regarding the SNF ventilator rate increase of 3% which was approved by the 2016 Legislature and was supposed to become effective on July 1, 2016.  Due to a typo in the submission of the State Plan Amendment in which the old rate of $494 was used rather than the new rate of $509, DCH must go through the entire process again, which includes initial adoption of the Public Notice by the DCH Board, Public Hearing and Public Comment period, Final Adoption by DCH Board (January Board meeting), resubmission of SPA, and approval by CMS. In order to utilize the entire budget appropriated, DCH plans to increase the rate for six months to $524 for an average of $509 for FY 2017.  The SPA will have an effective date of January 1, 2017 for the payment of the rate of $524.  On July 1, 2017 the rate will decrease to $509.  Claims will not be paid at any rate other than the current one until after CMS approval has been received by DCH.

December 9th, 2016|News, Newsfront, Reimbursement Corner|

Submit Nominations for the 2017 Emergency Preparedness/Engineering & Environmental Services Awards

GHCA/GCAL invites members to nominate outstanding individuals for the first annual 2017 Emergency Preparedness/Engineering & Environmental Services Awards. See award categories below: Emergency Preparedness Champion of Long Term Care Award Nominees will be evaluated on the following criteria: Involvement with local officials (Emergency Management Agency (EMA), Public Health, Regional Coordinating Hospital (RCH), etc.) Involvement with Statewide Emergency Preparedness initiatives (State-sponsored Regional Exercises, Long-Term-Care Emergency Operations Plan, FEMA courses, etc.) Implements preparedness efforts in facility Participates in State or GHCA sponsored Emergency Preparedness Education Experienced in managing a disruptive event in their facility Click here to submit a nomination for the Emergency Preparedness Champion of Long Term Care Award. Engineering & Environmental Services Champion of Long Term Care Award Nominees will be evaluated on the following criteria: Implements preparedness efforts within their facilities Stays abreast of new technology related to Engineering, and or Environmental Services Demonstrates a willingness to learn about the new and innovative education involving Engineering, and or Environmental Services Knowledgeable of and adhering to all safety rules and regulations Involvement with local officials (Emergency Management Agency (EMA), Public Health, Regional Coordinating Hospital (RCH), etc.) Involvement with Statewide Emergency Preparedness initiatives (State-sponsored Regional Exercises, Long-Term-Care Emergency Operations Plan, FEMA courses, etc.) Participates in State or GHCA sponsored Emergency Preparedness Education Experienced in managing disruptive events at nursing centers [...]

December 8th, 2016|Emergency Preparedness, News, Newsfront|