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Archive April 2022

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Final opportunity to register for upcoming virtual ethics program

Over the past two years, we have faced unprecedented challenges and changes both personally and professionally to include increased stress, illnesses, losses, vacant positions, increased feelings of responsibility, numerous financial cuts, and program closures in our communities. We are now entering a new phase where we are trying to engage and interact in a changed world, as changed selves. A world where many are trying to pretend all is normal once again. As we begin to work and engage in the new environment, together we will begin to ask and explore: how do we decide what is moral, what is ethical, and how do we find new grounding? How have our priorities, boundaries and identities changed as a helping professional and what is my relationship with self-care? This two-day training will offer a safe setting to discuss these issues.
 
When/where: May 10 & 11, 2022 from 1:00PM - 3:00PM via Zoom
MHCA member Fee: $99
CEUS: 4
 
For full details, please refer to the program flyer. To register, please complete the online form found here.

Staff Contact: aellis@mehca.org 

Two more weeks of free StrengthenME educational workshops - All are welcome

MHCA is pleased to share that we have partnered with Strengthen ME, the State of Maine's behavioral health and resiliency response to the Covid-19 pandemic to bring a series of 30-minute wellness workshops to our members. There are two weeks remaining in the series. These sessions are appropriate for all staff. Wellness workshops are modeled after “Lunch and Learns” that focus on mental and emotional wellness using practical tips and mindfulness to explore a variety of topics. There is no cost to participate. 

The remaining sessions are:
  • MAY 4- MAKING AMENDS: How to apologize and why it's important : In this workshop, we'll explore the essentials of a true apology, why this is important in and out of the workplace, and how to avoid the common mistakes when apologizing.
  • MAY 11- STAYING GROUNDED WHILE OTHERS ARE ESCALATING : Now, more than ever, our ability to stay calm is being put to the test. In this workshop, we'll explore strategies for deescalating ourselves and others, putting our mind ahead of our emotions in order to succeed, as individuals and as part of a larger community.
To access these sessions, please use the following link: https://emhs.zoom.us/j/94269289015

Staff Contact: aellis@mehca.org 

Two New Workforce Development Resources: Caring for ME Website & HealthCare Training for ME

The Maine Department of Labor, Department of Health and Human Services, and Department of Economic and Community Development are partnering to launch a series of public service campaigns to promote the value and importance of the health care profession with the goal of recruiting more people, especially young adults, into the field. This initiative includes a new website called Caring for ME. This website includes job postings, information about career pathways, training opportunities, and real stories from direct caregivers.
 
The goal of this effort is to market health care as a meaningful, rewarding career that provides opportunities for advancement and to increase the workforce. Maine Health Care Association participated in stakeholder meetings to provide feedback during the development process. Job postings are automatically pulled from the Maine JobLink website.
 
The training resources section of Caring for ME links to the newly launched Healthcare Training for ME website. Employers seeking to upskill their current healthcare workers may be eligible for training funding. MaineCare providers with less than 100 staff across their system/ organization are welcome to apply now for training funding support. All other healthcare providers are eligible to apply starting on May 2nd. You can learn more here. Priority job trainings include positions like CNA, CNA-M, CNA to LPN, CRMA, PSS, DSP, etc.  
 
Staff contact: awesthoff@mehca.org

Limited Staffing Support Available for Skilled Nursing and Long Term Care Facilities

The Maine Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has Rapid Response teams available to skilled nursing and long term care facilities. Originally, these short-term staffing contracts were only available for hospital decompression sites or to long term care facilities in a COVID outbreak that CDC epidemiologists designated to be eligible to apply. However, skilled nursing and long term care facilities with a staffing crisis that are not in outbreak are now also eligible to apply.
 
Staff resources include a limited number of Registered Nurses (RNs), Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs), Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs) and Certified Medication Aides (CRMAs). The staffing support is provided through Maxim staffing agency and supported with American Rescue Plan Act funding.
 
To learn more or to complete a COVID-19 Rapid Response Resource Request, click here: COVID-19 Rapid Response Resource Request (office.com)
 
Staff contact: awesthoff@mehca.org

AHCA/ NCAL Report Highlights Ongoing Risk of Nursing Home Closures

AHCA/ NCAL have released a new report that shows the growing number of nursing home closures since 2015, as well as projected closings in the coming months. The report reinforces the devastating impact of the pandemic and the historic workforce crisis.
 
Mark Parkinson, president and CEO of AHCA/NCAL, said that "every closure is like a family being broken apart, with the lives of residents, staff and their families impacted in the process." With "hundreds" of closures already and "thousands more anticipated if government funding is cut, state and federal policymakers need to step up to support our social safety net," Parkinson added.
 
The report is available here.
 
Staff contact: awesthoff@mehca.org

Registration is Now Open for the 73rd AHCA/NCAL Convention & Expo!

Dust off your boots, pack your western wear, grab your hats, and bring on the bling! The AHCA/NCAL Convention & Expo is heading to Nashville, October 9-12.

Registration is open, and you can reserve your hotel today!

Learn more about the many exciting events we are planning. Explore the convention website for information about: We value the health, safety, and well-being of our members and the residents they care for above all else. To attend the 73rd AHCA/NCAL Convention & Expo at the Music City Center in Nashville, TN, you are required to provide proof of vaccination.
 
To register: Attendee Registration (eventscribe.net)

Remember ME awards program LIVE on June 1, 2022

In consultation with participating facilities and the MHCA Board of Directors, MHCA is pleased to announce that the 2022 Remember ME recognition ceremony will be held live on Wednesday, June 1, 2022, at 10:00 am at the Augusta Civic Center.
 
We are preparing for the festivities in traditional fashion with flowers, music, balloons and resident exhibits, however; COVID-19 safety protocols will be observed to include screening, masking, social distancing and limiting the number of guests. At the same time, we are honoring resident choice by providing virtual participation options for those unable to join us.
 
Members will receive invitations soon but for now, please mark your calendar. After a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic, we look forward to celebrating safely with members and residents at this live event!

Staff contact: ngrosso@mehca.org
 

New Video: Dr. Gifford Encourages LTC Staff to Get Their Booster Shot

In a special video message, AHCA/NCAL’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. David Gifford encourages long term care staff to stay up to date on their COVID vaccinations and get their booster shot. While nearly 90% of nursing home staff have received their primary dose, a little less than half have received their COVID booster as of mid-April. Dr. Gifford encourages staff to ensure they have the highest level of protection and reduce the chances of passing the virus onto family, friends, colleagues, and most importantly, vulnerable long term care residents.? Watch it here: https://youtu.be/qxMHP_30Xyg and feel free to share with staff and on your social media channels.

Staff contact: ngrosso@mehca.org
 

Why is Maine still trending RED?

Maine continues to trend in the high and in seldom cases moderate levels of community transmission. To help members understand why we continue to see this level when county RATES are in the green I hope the following example helps:
 
 
This metric (community transmission) uses two indicators for categorization:
1. Total number of new cases per 100,000 persons within the last 7 days and
2. Percentage of positive diagnostic and screening nucleic acid amplification tests (NAAT) during the last 7 days.
 
 
As an example CUMBERLAND County:
Current 7-days is Mon Apr 18 2022 - Sun Apr 24 2022 for case rate and
Sat Apr 16 2022 - Fri Apr 22 2022 for percent positivity
 
Transmission level - HIGH
 
Factors used to determine rate:
1) Case Rate = 170.85 per 100,000 (High Transmission Range)
2) Percent Positivity = 6.03 (Moderate Transmission Range)
 
If the two indications above are in different transmission levels like Cumberland County the HIGHER Transmission level is selected for that county.

Staff Contact: dwatford@mehca.org

CMS Needs to Hear From You!

Tell CMS how a proposed cut to nursing homes' Medicare rates in FY 2023 would be detrimental to your residents, families and colleagues.
 
On April 11th, CMS released the proposed rule, FY 2023 Skilled Nursing Facility (SNFs) Prospective Payment System Rate Update and Quality Reporting Requirements (CMS-1765). Due to the proposed parity adjustment, CMS estimates that the net market basket update would decrease Medicare SNF payments by approximately $320 million. Mark Parkinson, President and CEO of the American Health Care Association (AHCA), made the following statement regarding the Skilled Nursing Facility Prospective Payment System (SNF PPS) FY 2022 proposed rule released by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) today.  
 
“Nursing homes across the country continue to dedicate extensive resources to protect their residents and staff from COVID-19. This ongoing work makes government support and robust reimbursement rates more important than ever. With the skilled nursing profession grappling with an economic crisis and hundreds of facilities on the brink of closure due to the pandemic, it is critical that Medicare remain a reliable funding source and reflect the increasing costs providers are facing."
 
We urge you to have your voice heard by CMS.
 
AHCA/NCAL has established an user friendly comment submission site that will make the process of submitting comments quick and easy.
 
Helpful tips:
  •  In your letter you must reference the CMS SNF Proposed Rule – FY 2023 Skilled Nursing Facility (SNFs) Prospective Payment System Rate Update and Quality Reporting Requirements (CMS-1765), which can easily be done by copying from here and pasting in the subject or message.
  • Ask for the parity adjustment to be phased-in.
  • Explain from your own perspective how a reduction will impact patient care.
  • Explain the impact of the workforce shortage; include details on how your residents are impacted.
    • For instance, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) hospitals have lost 2% of their workforce, compared to a 15% workforce decline among nursing homes and a 7% decline among assisted living communities nationwide.
    • MHCA estimates a 10% workforce decline among its nursing home and assisted living members.
  • The pandemic created a significant occupancy decline in our long term care facilities that continues to be exacerbated today by a shortage of staff. Although providers may have capacity, they may not have the staff to care for residents. As such, they are limiting admissions, which is contributing to access challenges across the state.
    •  According to Mainecare Data Management Reports Maine nursing home census is at a 4 year low averaging below 75%.
  • The closure of a LTC facility has a devastating impact on the local community, creating job loss, and reduced access to long term care services close to home. These are never decisions that are made quickly or lightly and are not without significant lasting impact on Maine people and our communities.
    • Maine has experienced 6 facility closures resulting in a loss of 278 potential beds for aging Mainers.
 
Maine’s long term care providers have risen to an occasion like no other. They have persevered to care for their residents in ways no one could have imagined. Despite glimmers of light at the end of the pandemic tunnel, it is not over for long term care.
 
The more personalized you can make your comment, the better. Use your own circumstances and your own examples to drive home your message. If you submit your comment directly to Regulations.gov, please let AHCA know, so we are able to track how many comments have been submitted.
 
The comment deadline is June 10, 2022, 5:00 PM EST.
To Submit Comments, Click Here

Staff Contact: dwatford@mehca.org
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