Archive October 2021

All of the articles archived for the month that you have specified are displayed below.

Updated AHCA 3-Day Stay and Benefit Period Waiver Guidance

AHCA/NCAL recently updated the guidance document titled 3-Day Stay and Benefit Period Waivers for Medicare Part A SNF PPS. The two specific updates include: 
  Staff contact:

HHS extends COVID-19 Public Health Emergency through January 2022

In case you missed it, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra extended the ongoing COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE) for an additional 90 days. The new expiration date for the COVID-19 PHE is now set for mid-January 2022. Any decision to allow the PHE to lapse would come with 60 days of notice.
Telehealth flexibilities, enhanced FMAP, SNF-specific waivers (3-Day Stay, Spell of Illness) and other COVID-19 related Medicare, Medicaid, and regulatory waivers remain in place.
Staff contact:

MHCA participates in Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan press conference on health care workforce initiatives

On Monday, MHCA joined several health care associations to offer comment and support for Governor Janet Mills’ slate of initiatives from the Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan to encourage people to pursue health care jobs in Maine and strengthen the state’s health care workforce, including new programs that make it more affordable to become a health care professional and make it easier to advance in their careers once they do.

The Administration is pursuing tuition support programs for health care professionals. Backed by $4 million from the Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan, the programs will provide financial support, through scholarships and student loan relief, for example, to allow more people to become doctors, nurses, behavioral health specialists, long term care professionals and others starting at the end of this year.

The Governor also announced a program to help people who work in the health care field gain skills and advance with their employer. Backed by $8.5 million from the Governor’s Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan, the new “tuition remission” program provides financial support to help employees attain advanced health care credentials. The ability to earn credentials while on the job will allow health care workers to advance in the profession, leading to better paying jobs for them and improved health care services for Maine people.

The Governor also announced that her Administration is launching a new $1.5 million recruitment effort, with $1 million dedicated to promoting the value of work in health care and encouraging young people to enter careers in health care, and the other $500,000 dedicated specifically to promoting direct care worker jobs, such as aides for older Mainers or individuals with disabilities. This effort will be supplemented by another $600,000 to launch Maine’s Health Care Career Navigators, who will be charged with helping people interested in health care jobs figure out the best career path for them.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has put a tremendous strain on Maine's nursing homes and assisted living communities and has made longstanding workforce shortages worse,” said Angela Westhoff, President and CEO of the Maine Health Care Association. “Our members are very concerned about staffing shortages as more burned-out caregivers exit the profession and fewer people enter it. MHCA is pleased to partner with the Administration on tangible solutions that will encourage, incentivize, and cultivate the next generation of Maine's health care professionals.”

The Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan is the Governor’s plan, approved by the Legislature, to invest nearly $1 billion in Federal American Rescue Plan funds to achieve three goals: immediate economic recovery from the pandemic; long-term economic growth for Maine; and infrastructure revitalization.

Some press coverage of the announcement follows:

Gov. Mills announces $14 million plan to strengthen health care workforce (
Maine Jobs and Recovery Plan includes health care initiatives |

Staff contact:

Maine Health Care Association Meets with Senator Susan Collins

Representatives from the Maine Health Care Association (MHCA) and the American Health Care Association/ National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) met with U.S. Senator Susan Collins on Monday, October 25th. The main topics of discussion included the work force crisis, facility closures, issues with agency staffing, and opportunities to recruit and retain workers. The group provided key updates on the staffing shortages in Maine and shared the MHCA issue brief document on the workforce crisis.
In addition, representatives also discussed the recent AHCA/NCAL letter to the Federal Trade Commission. Specifically, the letter requests that the FTC use its authority to protect consumers from anticompetitive and unfair practices and investigate and take appropriate action to ensure our nation’s elderly and those with disabilities receive the quality care they deserve.
We also thanked the Senator for all of her efforts to get the Phase 4 Provider Relief Funding released. Those resources are critically needed to assist providers with lost revenue and increased expenses associated with the pandemic. As a reminder, applicants who have submitted their Tax Identification Number (TIN) for validation prior to the deadline now have until November 3rd to submit a completed application. Details here.
MHCA thanks members John Bolduc, Executive Director of Odd Fellows and Rebekah’s Home and Deb Fournier, COO at Maine Veterans’ Homes, for joining the call to share their perspectives.
A meeting with Senator King’s office is anticipated for next week.
Staff contact:

Exciting addition to day three of the MHCA Virtual Fall Health Care Conference

MHCA is pleased to share that Jerald Cosey, senior health care leader and professional speaker, has graciously accepted an invitation to present and will be delivering the third and final keynote address of the MHCA Virtual Fall Health Care Conference. Jerald was most recently appointed operational leadership development director for American Senior Communities (ASC), the largest senior living and senior healthcare company in Indiana. In this role, he is dedicated to developing leaders for over 90 ASC communities. In his address to conference attendees, Jerald will share his experience leading a team throughout the pandemic, and will inspire attendees as he helps answer the question, “What’s next?” We hope you will choose to join us for this powerful address, November 3rd at 9:00AM.

Staff Contact:

Day 2 PAC Raffle and Gamification Winners!

Congratulations to the winners drawn on October 27th for the PAC Raffle and Gamification Leaderboard prizes during the Fall Conference, as well as our appreciation to all those who donated items!
  • DLTC Healthcare - $250 Amazon E- Gift Card: WINNER First Atlantic - Employee Drawing *
  • DLTC Healthcare - $250 Coach E- Gift Card: WINNER Donna Gosselin, Maine Veterans' Homes
  • Angela Westhoff, MHCA CEO/President - $100 Amazon Gift Card: WINNER Sara Pagen, Windham Residential Care
  • Continuum Health Services - $100 Coach Gift Card: WINNER Inn at Atlantic Heights - Employee Drawing *
  • First Atlantic Healthcare - $100 Lowes E- Gift Card: WINNER Portland Center for Assisted Living - Employee Drawing *
  • Odd Fellows' & Rebekahs' Home of Maine - $100 Marshall’s E- Gift Card: WINNER First Atlantic - Employee Drawing *
  • Odd Fellows' & Rebekahs' Home of Maine - $100 Target E- Gift Card: WINNER Olga Gross-Balzano, BerryDunn
  • First Atlantic Healthcare - $100 Walmart E- Gift Card: WINNER Luke Giordano, DLTC Healthcare
  • Sentry Hill at York Harbor - $50 Starbucks Gift Card: WINNER Sharon LaBreck, Rising Hill
* Some facilities who purchased tickets opted to do their own internal drawings.
Gamification Winners of a $50 Gift Card/each:
  • Bonnie Iwans, The Chapman House
  • Mary Ellen Dunfield, Phillips-Strickland House
  • Maura Michael, Boardman Cottage
  • Deborah Therriault, Bella Point Bridgton
To purchase PAC Raffle tickets, click here.

Staff Contact:

CDC releases updated recommendations for COVID-19 booster shots

Following Emergency Use Authorizations from the Food and Drug Administration this week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provided updated recommendations for COVID-19 booster shots. COVID-19 booster shots are now recommended for the following groups of individuals who received a Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, at 6 months or more after their initial series:
  • 65 years and older
  • Age 18+ who live in long term care settings
  • Age 18+ who have underlying medical conditions
  • Age 18+ who work or live in high-risk settings
 Additionally, for those that are 18 and older that received the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine two or more months ago, a booster shot is recommended. 
Eligible individuals can get a booster shot of a different brand if they choose to do so as the CDC is now allowing for mixing and matching product for the booster shot.
The CDC has created a webpage to help long term care providers access the booster dose. Providers should work with their long term care pharmacies to gain access to the booster dose. If you are having trouble accessing the vaccine, please contact your state or local health department’s immunization program. The appropriate contact for each immunization program can be found here.
As a reminder, the CDC has noted that the COVID-19 vaccine and the influenza vaccinations can be coadministered in cases where an individual is eligible for both vaccinations.

Staff Contact:

HRSA Extends PRF Application Window and Provides Phase 4 and Rural CHOW Guidance

This week, the Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA) announced that providers have additional time to complete their Provider Relief Fund Phase 4 and Rural Application.
The new FAQ states:
  • All applicants must complete the first step of the application process (i.e., submitting their Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) and associated information for Internal Revenue Service (IRS) validation) no later than October 26, 2021, at 11:59 PM EST.
    • The required IRS validation that occurs after completion of the first step may take a few days.
    • If an applicant submits their TIN for validation by the October 26, 2021 deadline and that TIN is subsequently validated by the IRS, the applicant will have until November 3, 2021 at 11:59 PM EST to complete and submit their application.
Additionally, last week, HRSA provided AHCA/NCAL with guidance on changes of ownership. Based upon the guidance, between the seller and the buyer, the eligible applicant depends on:
  • The filing TIN that is associated with the application.
  • If the “seller” no longer has a filing TIN, they would not be eligible.
  • If the “buyer” has a new filing TIN and the sale has been approved by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services by the date the organization initiates its Phase 4 application, the buyer is the entity eligible to apply. 
Providers may contact HRSA’s Provider Support Line for assistance with challenging issues, such as TIN validation, at (866) 569-3522.

Staff Contact:

AHCA/NCAL Sends Letter to Federal Trade Commission on Staff Agency Price Gouging

The American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL), representing more than 14,000 nursing homes and long term care facilities across the country that provide care to approximately five million people each year, sent a letter this week to Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Chairwoman Lina Khan, requesting assistance with an anti-competitive practice with direct care staffing agencies.

In the letter, AHCA/NCAL President and CEO Mark Parkinson describes how the COVID-19 pandemic has spurred an unprecedented workforce crisis within the long term care sector. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nursing homes and residential-care facilities employed three million people in July, down 380,000 workers from February 2020. Providers are doing all that they can to hire and recruit workers, including sign-on bonuses, wage increases and referral bonuses.

Amid these circumstances, direct care staffing agencies are charging exorbitant prices to long term care facilities that need workers. AHCA/NCAL requests that the FTC use its authority to investigate this price gouging and take appropriate action to protect long term care facilities.

Read the full letter here.

Staff contact:

2021 MHCA Virtual Fall Health Care Conference kicks off earlier this week

The 2021 MHCA Virtual Fall Health Care Conference opened yesterday with Keynote Speaker, AHCA/NCAL President Mark Parkinson giving a national update to a crowd of nearly 200 conference attendees. Former MHCA President/CEO Rick Erb was honored for his contribution to Maine's long term care industry over his twenty year career with remarks from MHCA Board Chair, Wanda Pelkey, former MHCA Board Chair, Mike Tyler MHCA President/CEO Angela Westhoff, and MHCA Vice President/Director of Communications, Nadine Grosso. Concurrent sessions were offered throughout the day on a variety topics. New to the conference this year, a listening session on vaccine attitudes and perceptions attracted over 120 participants! 

Early feedback from the event shows that attendees enjoyed the conference, found the content relevant and engaging, and the conference platform user friendly. With two days of excellent programming left, offering a total of 8 CEUS, there is still time to claim your seat! Content from day one is available on demand (though CEUS cannot be granted for content viewed on-demand.) If you are interested in taking part, please click here for conference information and link to register. 

Staff Contact: 
<< [1] 2 3 4 >>