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Archive June 2022

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NCAL endorses expanding Veterans’ Options for LTC Act

Bipartisan legislation was recently introduced to expand veterans’ access to assisted living services. The Expanding Veterans’ Options for Long Term Care Act would create a pilot program for eligible veterans to receive assisted living care paid for by the Department of Veterans Affairs. The pilot program would be conducted at six Veterans Integrated Services Networks nationwide, including at least two program sites located in rural or highly rural areas and two state veterans’ homes. NCAL supports this bill and will keep members apprised of any updates around it. More on the bill can be found in this press statement.

Staff contact: ngrosso@mehca.org

Governor Mills Establishes Cabinet on Aging

On June 13th, Governor Janet Mills signed an Executive Order establishing a Cabinet on Aging. The creation of the Cabinet comes at a time when Maine’s median age makes it the oldest state in the nation, with tens of thousands of people expected to retire in the coming years, removing them from the state’s workforce and increasing demand for aging-related services.
 
Mills said the cabinet’s creation "comes ahead of the expected demand for aging-related services as ‘tens of thousands’ of people retire in the coming years and will help state residents age ‘safely, [and] affordably.’"

As reported in McKnight’s Senior Living article, Maine Health Care Association President and CEO Angela Cole Westhoff said "she welcomes the creation of the cabinet and hopes it will include outreach to, and feedback from, long-term care providers," adding that the industry needs "bold policy solutions and ongoing resources to ensure older adults have the caregivers needed to provide access to long-term care for the future."

The Cabinet consists of Commissioners from the Department of Health and Human Services, Labor, Economic and Community Development, Administrative and Financial Services, Professional and Financial Regulation, Public Safety, and Transportation, as well as the Director of the Maine State Housing Authority. The Commissioners of Health and Human Services and Labor will co-chair the Cabinet.

Mills announced the formation of the cabinet at the Sam L. Cohen Households at The Cedars in Portland, a senior living and care community offering a whole continuum of services, including one of two household models in Maine’s Age-Friendly State Plan.

Cabinet members will meet in July and then quarterly to coordinate and advance work on affordable housing and long-term services and supports; financial security and fraud protections; access to information, broadband and services; and engagement and employment.

Staff contact: awesthoff@mehca.org

MHCA Thanks Senator Angus King for Advocacy Efforts to Support Skilled Nursing Facilities

Last week, Senator Angus King joined with at least a dozen other U.S. Senators to submit a joint letter to Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Administration regarding the proposed rule to update Medicare payment policies and rates for skilled nursing facilities.
 
The collective letter notes, “The proposed FY23 Skilled Nursing Facility Prospective Payment System Rule would result in a $320 million overall decrease in payments to long term care facilities. This cut could have a disastrous effect on rural facilities that continue to face severe workforce shortages as they deal with the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. The proposed payment cut would exacerbate current challenges and potentially lead to the closure of rural facilities. Rural America simply cannot afford to lose any more of these facilities, which is why we urge CMS to assure some predictability and stability to the sector by changing course and phasing-in any parity adjustment cuts over a three-year period.”
 
Maine Health Care Association representatives were in Washington DC last week as part of the AHCA/NCAL Congressional Briefing and had the opportunity to meet with Senator King directly to discuss the staffing and economic crisis long term care providers are facing. MHCA thanks Senator King for his support on this issue.
 
Staff contact: awesthoff@mehca.org

June 24th Deadline Approaching: Nursing Homes and Residential Care Facilities (PNMI-Cs) Need to Submit Data to DHHS for 125% Minimum Wage Payment Calculations

Last month, the Maine Department of Health and Human Services sent out an email with instructions for long term care facilities to submit data needed to calculate minimum wage payments to providers.
 
Part AAAA-5 of the budget enacted last summer (Public Law 2021 Chapter 398) requires that the rates in the 7/1/22 rate letters “enable providers to cover labor costs for essential support workers…to equal at least 125% of the minimum wage […including…] related taxes and benefits [...]”
 
The Department has developed this template to collect employee-level data from the facilities, in order to calculate the payment necessary to each facility to bring reimbursement for workers under 125% of minimum wage up to 125% of minimum wage.
 
The template is due no later than COB on Thursday, June 24, 2022.  The Department will then use the resulting data to calculate the total amount for each facility for Part AAAA which will be incorporated in the FY 2023 rates. Any delay in receiving the template may result in delays with the issuance of the rate letters.
 
Instructions are included in the template.  If you have questions, please contact Grace.Williams@maine.gov.
 
MHCA encourages members to submit their data in a timely manner.
 
Staff contact: awesthoff@mehca.org

AHRQ Seeks CNAs Working in Nursing Homes — Receive $150

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) seeks CNAs working in nursing homes for a 60-minute Web interview. Each participant will be asked to complete a survey on nursing home workplace safety and then talk about the questions during a web interview. Participants will receive $150.

Please share the
attached flier with CNAs and nursing assistants in your nursing home.

If they are interested, please have them email WorkplaceSafety@westat.com or call 1-855-390-2448 and mention the “Nursing Home Workplace Safety Survey.”

Staff Contact: 
dwatford@mehca.org

Welcome New Member!

Join us in welcoming the following new Associate Organizational member: 

  • Purdue University Global: Russell McKee, Nursing Development Manager, 38 Carter Way, Strafford, NH 03884 Tel: (603) 732-8086 Email: russell.mckee@purdueglobal.edu. Purdue University Global is the extreme personalization online university, providing students the competitive edge to advance in their chosen careers. It offers a hyper-tailored path for students to earn an associate, bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral degree, based on their work experience, desired pace, military service, previous college credits and other considerations – no matter where they are in their life journey. Purdue Global serves more than 31,000 students, most of whom earn their degree online. It also operates several regional locations nationwide. Purdue Global is a nonprofit, public university accredited by The Higher Learning Commission. It is affiliated with Purdue University’s flagship institution, a highly ranked public research university located in West Lafayette, Indiana. Purdue University also operates two regional campuses in Fort Wayne and Northwest, Indiana, as well as serving close to 6,000 science, engineering and technology students at the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) campus. For more information, please visit purdueglobal.edu.

Staff contact: dchicoine@mehca.org

AHRQ Seeking Nursing Homes for Pilot Study of SOPS Workplace Safety Survey Items

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) is seeking nursing homes to participate in a pilot study of the Workplace Safety Supplemental Item Set for the Surveys on Patient Safety Culture™ (SOPS®) Nursing Home Survey. The new supplemental item set focuses on the extent to which nursing homes’ organizational culture supports the safety of staff in the workplace.

Nursing homes may be eligible for an incentive payment if they qualify for participation. If selected, participating nursing homes will receive:
  • Free survey administration of the SOPS Nursing Home Survey with the Workplace Safety Supplemental Items to nursing home staff in July/August 2022.
  • Feedback reports comparing their results to other pilot sites.
  • The option to have findings included in the next SOPS Nursing Home Database.
If your nursing home(s) or nursing home chain would like to participate or learn more, please email WorkplaceSafety@westat.com or call 1-855-390-2448.

Staff Contact: 
dwatford@mehca.org

Stay Up to Date on CDC Recommendations and CMS Requirements

As cases of COVID-19 continue to rise throughout the country, it’s important that long term care facilities and communities encourage staff and residents to stay up to date on their vaccination status. The CDC defines up to date as having received all doses in the primary series and all boosters recommended, when eligible. Most recently, people over 50 are recommended to receive a second booster of either the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at least four months after their first booster.
 
For skilled nursing facilities, staying current on COVID-19 vaccines is also important since various guidance from CMS hinges on resident or staff up to date status. This includes:
  • Nursing Home Visitation Guidance (QSO-20-39-NH): Guidance and recommendations, such as the usage of source control masks and outdoor visitation, differs for those who are up to date on their vaccines.
  • Nursing Home Testing Guidance (QSO-20-38-NH): Routine testing of staff is only required for those who are NOT up to date on their vaccines. 
  • Nursing Home COVID-19 Vaccination Requirements for Residents and Staff (QSO-21-19): In situations where the COVID-19 vaccine requires multiple doses, nursing facilities must offer and provide current information regarding those additional doses. 
In addition, the CDC infection control recommendations for long term care facilities and guidance on managing health care personnel with infection or exposure also incorporate up to date status. 

Staff Contact: 
dwatford@mehca.org

Maine Health Care Association Members Visit Capitol Hill to Advocate for LTC Residents and Staff

Maine Health Care Association representatives joined 500 advocates in Washington DC on June 7th for the American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) Annual Congressional Briefing.
 
“We are here on behalf of millions of residents, caregivers, and our communities,” said AHCA/NCAL President & CEO Mark Parkinson. “We must share their stories and make our voices heard on the Hill. This is one of the most important actions we can take to advocate for the future of long term care.” 
 
MHCA representatives that attended the event included:
 
  • Angela Westhoff, MHCA President and CEO
  • John Bolduc, MHCA Board Member, NCAL Board Member, and Executive Director of Odd Fellows and Rebekahs’ Home
  • Jessica Duffy, MHCA Board Member, NCAL State Leader, and Director of Health Services at 75 State Street
 
MHCA members met with Maine’s Congressional delegates including Senator Angus King and Senator Susan Collins as well as staff from Representative Chellie Pingree and Representative Jared Golden offices to discuss several key topics including:
 
  • the profession’s struggling economic recovery due to chronic underfunding and the pandemic, resulting in closures across the country;
  • a historic labor crisis that is worse than any other health care sector, as providers struggle to recruit and retain caregivers due to burnout and limited resources to compete for workers; and
  • the critical safety net that Medicaid provides for vulnerable seniors and individuals with disabilities who need long term care and the need to fully fund the program.
MHCA President/CEO Angela Westhoff noted, “Advocating for our residents and our caregivers is our top priority as an association. This is an unprecedented time for our sector. Chronic underfunding and the persistent staffing crisis have a direct impact on access to care for our state’s older adults.”
 
Staff Contact: awesthoff@mehca.org


L to R: Jessica Duffy, Angela Westhoff, Senator Angus King, John Bolduc meet during AHCA/NCAL Congressional Briefing, June 2022.
 

Welcome New Members!

Join us in welcoming the following new Associate Organizational members: 
 
  • MAXIMUS, Maine LTSS Assessing Services Agency: Douglas Palmer, Director, Clinical Review, 6 East Chestnut Street, Suite L04, Augusta, ME 04330 Tel: 207-530-5218 Email: douglasppalmer@maximus.com  www.maximus.com and www.maximusclinicalservices.com/svcs/maine. MAXIMUS was selected by the Office of Aging and Disability Services (OADS) to provide among other services long-term care medical and PASRR assessments for Individuals seeking services and supports through State-funded and MaineCare programs, including Individuals residing in LTC facilities. 
 
  • CTR Maine: Gerod Gianattasio, Director of Partnerships, 79A Bradley Drive, Westbrook, ME 04092 Tel: 207-740-0808 Email: gerodg@ctrmaine.com www.ctrmaine.com. CTR Maine has been in the time and attendance business for over 45 years and has a long list of LTC and senior living customers throughout New England who have benefited from the expertise of our local support staff. Collectively, nearly 100,000 employees are paid each pay-period from our time and attendance products.  
  
Staff Contact: dchicoine@mehca.org
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