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Archive June 2022

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National Assisted Living Week 2022 Celebrates “Joyful Moments”

America’s assisted living communities will participate in National Assisted Living Week® (NALW) September 11-17, 2022. The national observance—which begins each year on National Grandparents’ Day and is supported this year by official sponsor First Quality—honors the individuals who reside, work, and volunteer in assisted living and residential care communities with special activities and events. 

Created by the National Center for Assisted Living (NCAL) in 1995, this year’s NALW theme – “Joyful Moments” – reflects the strong connection between residents and staff and encourages them to join with their families and local communities to celebrate and create happy memories. This week also provides the opportunity to educate communities across the country about this sector of long term care and the dedicated, hardworking caregivers. 



Visit www.nalw.org to view the 2022 NALW Planning Guide for ideas on how to celebrate, access NALW graphics and logos, purchase NALW products, and take advantage of the digital toolkit to promote your events with media and in your community. 

Staff Contact: ngrosso@mehca.org  

NHSN Modifies 'Up to Date' definitions for LTC Reporting Requirements

The National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN) has modified its definition of “up to date” for long-term care facilities submitting their COVID-19 data to the system. It comes in the wake of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s making the move earlier.

The NHSN now considers individuals up to date with their COVID-19 vaccines, during the October 2021 – June 2022 surveillance period, if they’ve received all recommended doses in their primary vaccine series and received at least one booster dose.

Individuals currently DO NOT need to receive a second booster dose to be considered up to date, officials with NHSN wrote in its May 2022 guidance to providers.
 
The CDC recently changed its up to date definition after it decided to strengthen COVID-19 booster recommendations for seniors. The agency now says that those 50 and older should receive a second booster four months or more after their first booster to be considered up to date with their shots.

In order to help facilities understand all the nuanced definitions between NHSN and CDC we have compiled a list of NHSN resource documents for members to reference when submitting this mandatory reporting. 

Below are helpful reference documents from NHSN:

Staff Contact:
dwatford@mehca.org


 

CMS Releases Updates to the Payroll Based Journal (PBJ) Policy Manual

CMS published a June 2022 update to the Payroll Based Journal (PBJ) Policy Manual. Key updates include:
  •  Providers should run the PBJ reports in CASPER to ensure accuracy and completeness of the data being submitted. There are eight reports in total that providers can run.
  • To maintain the reporting of an employee’s hours through an employee ID change, providers must utilize the Linking Table. Additional information on the creation of a linking table can be found here. It is imperative that employee IDs are linked for accurate tenure and turnover data.
  • Administrators and Assistant Administrators, licensed by the state and responsible for facility management as required under 483.70(d), should be reported under job title code 1.

Staff Contact: dwatford@mehca.org

Mike McNeil Scholarship Fund opens application for the 2023-24 school year

MHCA is pleased to announce the Mike McNeil Scholarship Fund application is live now at https://www.mehca.org/mmsfapplication. Scholarships are open to MHCA member facility employees, their immediate family members and volunteers wishing to pursue post-secondary education and training in the areas of Nursing, Physical or Occupational Therapy, Speech Pathology, Social Work, Activities and Food Service.

Supporting documentation, including references, can be mailed to MHCA, 317 State Street, Augusta, ME 04330, attn MMSF, or emailed to lcanty@mehca.org. Applications for the 2023 school year will be accepted until August 1, 2022. 
Now in its 16th year, this program has awarded $72,250, supporting 126 students in their educational pursuits. The MHCA Board of Directors oversees the fund and annually determines the maximum number of scholarships that may be awarded in a year. Award amounts are determined at the discretion of MHCA from the total available funds. Scholarships may be renewed for up to three additional years at the discretion of MHCA. Recipients will be notified in writing by mid-September.

We are pleased to support these dedicated long-term care employees, their families, and volunteers! Please feel free to contact lcanty@mehca.org or ngrosso@mehca.org (623-1146) if you have questions or comments.

Don't delay your educational pursuits any longer – apply online today: 

https://www.mehca.org/mmsfapplication

Staff Contact: ngrosso@mehca.org 

Final opportunity to register for Activity Professional's Workshop

MHCA is pleased to host Nancy Richards, ADC, EDU, MC for our upcoming virtual Activity Professional's Workshop! The workshop will be hosted virtually, via Zoom, on July 12 & 13, 2022, from 1:00-2:30PM each day. For full program details and to register, please click here.
 
Nancy shares her mission below:
 
"We are on a mission pushing back stigma around mental health and aging across the community. Mobilizing the power of therapeutic activities which engages, empowers, and cultivates well being. Our products and services strive to provide a burst of energy through education for Activity Professionals, health care service providers and care partners in the community."
 
We are grateful for Nancy's willingness to partner with us and share her expertise with Maine's Activity Professionals! We hope you will choose to join us for this exciting educational opportunity. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me.

Staff Contact: aellis@mehca.org

Update on $850 Maine Relief Checks and Impact on Cost of Care for Long Term Care Residents

The Maine Health Care Association has confirmed with the Office of Family Independence that “the $850 relief payments are excluded from the eligibility determination. They will not be used in the cost of care calculation.”
 
The $850 relief payment is available to retirees, social security recipients, and/or SSI Recipients whether or not Maine income tax is owed, including for those who receive social security and/or supplemental security income (SSI), so long as they meet the other eligibility criteria. Individuals must file their 2021 Maine individual income tax return by October 31, 2022. To do so, those with no taxable income may check Box A on the front of the Maine Individual Income Tax Form 1040ME (PDF) and complete the appropriate sections of Schedule PTFC/STFC (PDF) to qualify.
 
For more information, visit https://www.maine.gov/governor/mills/relief-checks
 
Staff contact: awesthoff@mehca.org

AHCA documentary wins Capital Emmy Award

The American Health Care Association (AHCA) documentary, “Closed Doors, Open Hearts: Nursing Homes and COVID-19,” received a National Capital Chesapeake Bay Chapter (Capital) Emmy Award Saturday evening in the Documentary – Cultural/Topical category.  
 
The documentary, which was up against three other nominees, features two nursing homes on opposite sides of the country and their struggles and perseverance at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. It highlights the heroic caregivers who continued to serve through the most challenging times. It also provides a glimpse into what has really happened inside nursing homes since early 2020 and why it is so important to continue supporting these vital providers’ ongoing efforts to keep residents safe and healthy. 
 
The Capital Emmy Chapter is one of 19 regional chapters that make up The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. It is a non-profit, professional organization serving the Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, DC television and media community. The organization’s foundation is The Emmy® Award, the TV industry’s gold-standard for the recognition of television excellence. 
 
“It is an honor merely to be nominated, but to win is truly special,” said AHCA President & CEO Mark Parkinson. “Nursing homes have been at the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic since the very beginning, and these providers have gone above and beyond to protect this highly vulnerable population. Thank you for allowing us to share their important story and for recognizing the hard work and passion that went into making this film. It is dedicated to everyone in long term care – staff, residents, families, and those who support them.” 
 
The Capital Emmy is the next in a number of awards AHCA’s 26-minute film has received this year. It recently received Telly Awards in three categories: Gold recognition in Social Video/General Documentary, Silver recognition in the People’s Telly Award/General-Social Video, and Silver recognition in General Documentary – Individual. The Telly Awards are premier awards honoring video and television across all screens. The documentary was also recognized with a Silver Digital Health Award earlier this month. MHCA thanks members who voted in the Telly Award process. If you haven’t watched it yet, be prepared to be moved and proud!
 
Staff contact: ngrosso@mehca.org

Important federal Medicaid updates

Public Health Emergency

Overview: CMS has ramped up communications with stakeholder partners to begin raising awareness and preparing for the eventual unwinding of the Public Health Emergency (PHE).  

Why This Matters: When the PHE ends, states will be required to redetermine eligibility for all people enrolled in Medicaid. This process is referred to as the “unwinding” in the Medicaid and CHIP programs. 

Resources: 
  • HHS has created a PHE Unwinding homepage with guidance and resources to support states and other partners as they prepare for the eventual expiration of the COVID-19 PHE.  
  • HHS released a letter to Governors regarding the waivers and flexibilities that will expire with the end of the PHE and directed states to begin planning for their 12-month unwinding process. 
  • AHCA/NCAL will offer a webinar on the contents of the site to help states and members understand how to navigate and use the information.
MACPAC June 2022 Report to Congress on Medicaid and CHIP

Overview: The Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission (MACPAC) released its June 2022 Report to
Congress. The six chapters cover monitoring access to care, bolstering oversight of managed care payments, enhancing access to adult vaccines, encouraging behavioral health providers to utilize health information technology (IT), mandating integrated care for dually-eligible Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries, and improving health equity in Medicaid.

Resources: View an overview and the report here.  

MACPAC Response to CMS RFI on Medicaid Minimum Staffing Requirements in LTC Facilities

Overview: MACPAC responded to CMS’ RFI for establishing minimum staffing ratios for nursing facilities. In the RFI, CMS requested information from stakeholders to learn more about what facility factors should be considered when establishing staffing standards and what can be learned from states’ experiences with minimum staffing requirements.

Resources: View an overview and the response letter here

MHCA will continue to monitor these regulatory issues and update members as needed.

Staff contact: ngrosso@mehca.org

Nominate your team members for a 2022 AHCA/NCAL Award

The deadline to nominate your outstanding team members for national recognition is July 1, 2022. MHCA members are strongly encouraged to nominate those in their community who go above and beyond to provide exceptional service in the long-term care profession. Members should submit nominations directly to our national affiliates as follows:
 
AHCA Awards:

The AHCA 2022 Awards Program honors individuals who are committed to improving the quality of life for residents. Award categories include:  Nominations and other information are available on AHCA's website now through July 1, 2022. Please read the full 2022 Award Rules and Guidelines.
 
NCAL Awards:
 
The NCAL 2022 Awards Program recognizes assisted living employees from around the country who demonstrate exemplary work within the profession. This program gives awards in four categories:
  • Administrator of the Year
  • Nurse of the Year
  • Noble Caregiver in Assisted Living
  • National Assisted Living Week (2021) Programming
Before submitting your nomination, make sure you have all the necessary components. To nominate, the following items are required:
  • Administrator and Nurse of the Year nominations: 500-word essay and candidate's resume
  • Noble Caregiver in Assisted Living nominations: 500-word essay
  • National Assisted Living Week Programming nominations: 500-word essay, activity calendar from the week, and pictures from the week.
Please read the full Rules & Guidelines for the 2022 NCAL Awards Program.

Completed nominations for both AHCA and NCAL awards must be submitted no later than Friday, July 1, 2022. Honorees will be recognized at AHCA/NCAL's 73rd Annual Convention & Expo in Nashville October 9-12, 2022. If you have questions or need assistance, please contact Nadine Grosso at 207-623-1146 or ngrosso@mehca.org.
 
Staff contact: ngrosso@mehca.org

Updated List of Excluded Individuals and Entities (LEIE) database file

The US Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General (OIG) has released its updated List of Excluded Individuals and Entities (LEIE) database file, which reflects all OIG exclusions and reinstatement actions up to, and including, those taken in May 2022.
 
This new file replaces the updated LEIE database file available for download last month. Individuals and entities that have been reinstated to the federal health care programs are not included in this file.
 
The updated files are posted on OIG's website, and healthcare providers have an “affirmative duty" to check to ensure that excluded individuals are not working in their facilities or face significant fines.
 
Instructional videos explaining how to use the online database and the downloadable files are available.
 
As a best practice, long term care providers should check the LEIE on a regular basis. 

Staff contact: ngrosso@mehca.org
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