Clusters of gastrointestinal and respiratory illness in a LTCF or ALR are reportable to the Department of Public Health upon their initial identification, and can be reported using the Gastrointestinal Illness or Influenza/Respiratory Illness Cluster Form.
Mass Senior Care is offering a robust calendar of educational seminars to provide long term care staff with the most up-to-date information on clinical, regulatory, financial and workforce issues. The seminars below are now open for registration, please contact us if you need additional information.
Earlier this week, the legislature assigned the Nursing Home Funding Ballot Initiative (House Bill 4304) to the Joint Committee on Elder Affairs. A public hearing on the bill is expected in the next few weeks.
The US Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General (OIG) has released its updated list which reflects all OIG exclusions and reinstatement actions up to, and including, those taken in December 2019. This new file is meant to replace the updated List of Excluded Individuals/Entities (LEIE) database file available for download last month.
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Bureau of Infectious Disease and Laboratory Sciences and Bureau of Health Care Safety and Quality will host an educational webinar on healthcare personnel influenza vaccination for long-term care facilities.
Submit your application for the 2020 AHCA/NCAL National Quality Award Program by January 23 at 8:00 pm. Late submissions and payments will not be accepted. To download the Bronze, Silver and Gold application packets and free educational resources, visit the Quality Award website, and submit your application through the Quality Award Portal.
As a critical part of Mass Senior Care’s ongoing advocacy efforts, please join us on January 30th at 11:00 am for the FY 2021 Advocacy Kick-Off Event at the Massachusetts State House in Room 437. To continue to build on FY 2020’s nursing home funding investment, it is critically important that Governor Baker and lawmakers hears the united voice of the nursing facility community on the need to fund vital nursing facility services in order to invest in resident care and our dedicated workforce.
Starting December 19, AHCA LTC Trend Tracker users have access to a tool that shows what is determining their Five-Star Quality Measure ratings and how they can improve. The tool reflects three major changes the CMS introduced to the Five-Star rating in April and October 2019.
Governor Charlie Baker’s FY 2021 budget recommendation is expected to be issued on January 22nd. Mass Senior Care is encouraging members to contact Governor Charlie Baker urging him to close the nursing facility funding gap in the FY 2021 budget. As a critical part of our ongoing advocacy efforts, please join us on January 30th for Mass Senior Care's Advocacy Kick-Off Event at the Massachusetts State House.
Annual Dementia Special Care Unit (DSCU) Disclosure statements must be filed with the Department of Public Health no later than March 1st. Disclosure statements must be submitted using the Health Care Facility Reporting System (HCFRS). Additional information on filing, including a blank disclosure form, is available online.
DPH has issued an informational memorandum further clarifying the Department’s December 2018 Circular Letter regarding the process for Long Term Care Facility (LTCF) beds out of service, including the procedures for temporary and permanent removal of beds.
AHCA has posted the following information on Medicare Part B therapy services and payment updates effective on January 1, 2020. Late last year, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) published the Calendar Year 2020 Physician Fee Schedule Payment Final Rule.
Effective December 30, 2019, Stephen Davis has assumed the role as the manager of the DPH Complaint Unit and Deputy Division Director. Over the next several months Stephen Davis will transition into the role of Complaint Unit Manager, and out of his day to day responsibilities as Licensure Unit Manager.
Last week Secretary of State William Galvin certified the required 87,000 registered voter signatures for four initiative petitions to appear on the November 2020 ballot including the nursing home ballot question, which seeks to increase state funding for nursing home care.
On December 20, 2019, CMS posted a new DRAFT version of the 2020 MDS item sets (v1.18.0) on the CMS website. This version is scheduled to become effective October 1, 2020. Please note that Section G has been removed from all Federal item sets.
The American College of Health Care Administrators (ACHCA) released the following announcement this week about the discontinuation of the ACHCA certification exams (Note: not mandated state licensure exams) for nursing home and assisted living administrators:
The US Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General (OIG) has released its updated list which reflects all OIG exclusions and reinstatement actions up to, and including, those taken in November 2019.
On Friday, December 13th, Life Care Center of the North Shore organized a drum circle for residents and visitors from Mass Senior Care and The Boston Globe. The event was led by David Currier, Life Care’s expert on dementia programming in the Northeast Division, alongside Sarah Blacker, a board-certified Music Therapist.
Governor Baker has signed into law the FY2019 supplemental appropriation bill, which includes $10 million to restore funding for nursing facilities which saw rate cuts of up to $2.80/day, as a result of a fundamental redesign of MassHealth’s longstanding capital reimbursement methodology.
Heather Reinhold is a charge nurse at Mount Greylock Extended Care Facility in Pittsfield. Heather recently completed her long-time goal of becoming a Registered Nurse (RN) and is now pursuing a baccalaureate degree in nursing at Elms College.
The Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS) has adopted revised rates for services provided by temporary nursing to licensed hospitals and nursing facilities – 101 CMR 345/Temporary Nursing Services.
The Massachusetts’ medical parole law became effective on April 13, 2018. With the passage of the medical parole law, Massachusetts joined the majority of other states in having a procedure to release prisoners who are too ill to present a safety risk to the public. The Prisoners’ Legal Services of Massachusetts has provided the following background memo in regard to the Massachusetts Medical Parole Law.
Mass Senior Care is pleased to welcome new members to our Association. Our Associate Members have demonstrated their commitment to the senior care provider community by joining Mass Senior Care and participating as exhibitors and sponsors for events and educational conferences. Mass Senior Care members are encouraged to contact Associate Members when they are in need of long term care products and services. You can find all of our Associate Members listed on our website, www.maseniorcare.org/preferred-vendors .
The Joint Committee on Elder Affairs, chaired by Representative Ruth Balser (D-Newton) and Senator Patricia Jehlen (D-Somerville), recently gave a favorable report to House Bill 619, “An Act Relative to Promoting Innovation in Eldercare Services,” filed by House Majority Leader Ronald Mariano (D-Quincy). Mass Senior Care supports a zero-interest loan program for providers seeking to convert skilled nursing facilities to other important housing and long term care services and supports. A significant barrier for such projects is the lack of available financing.
The Legislature last evening adopted and sent to Governor Baker a FY2019 supplemental appropriation bill, which includes $10 million to restore funding for 170 nursing facilities which saw rate cuts of up to $2.80/day, as a result of a fundamental redesign of MassHealth’s longstanding capital reimbursement methodology. MSCA President Tara Gregorio praised the Legislature for its action to use surplus funds to help support vital services for the Commonwealth’s frail elders.
Mass Senior Care is pleased to report that the Massachusetts DPH has announced a new initiative to encourage long term care facilities to achieve a goal of 90% flu vaccination rate for all health care personnel. DPH will reimburse the calendar year 2020 and 2021 licensure renewal fee for long term care facilities that meet this 90% vaccination rate and successfully complete the required reporting to the Department by the April 15, 2020 deadline.
The third meeting of the legislatively mandated Nursing Facility Task Force was held Friday, November 22nd, and focused on the CHIA Nursing Facility Industry Report covering the period 2013-2017. The Task Force is required to submit its report to the legislature, including any proposed legislation necessary to carry out its recommendations, not later than February 1, 2020.
Due to the overall decrease of Tuberculosis cases and low incidence of TB among Health Care Personnel due to occupational exposure, routine practice of annual testing is no longer recommended for HCP. The recommendations for facility risk assessments and infection control practices did not change from the 2005 guidelines.
On November 22, 2019, CMS released a memo entitled "Updates and Initiatives to Ensure Safety and Quality in Nursing Homes." The memo includes updates and announcements on several including Phase 3 Interpretive Guidance, Arbitration Agreements, Infection Prevention and Control and New Toolkit on Employee Satisfaction.
Massachusetts Senior Care Association is a proud partner organization of The Massachusetts Healthcare Safety and Quality Consortium which brings together the state’s health care community — providers, payers, patients, government agencies, and other policymakers and experts — to accelerate safety and quality improvement statewide.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) last week issued a proposed Medicaid Fiscal Accountability Regulation that would impact provider assessments and upper payment limit (UPL) programs.
Mass Senior Care's 2019 Annual Meeting & Trade Show event was a great success. Tara Gregorio, President of Mass Senior Care highlighted the success of advocacy efforts which resulted in a $66 million increase for nursing home care.
The American Health Care Association (AHCA) has provided the following PDPM Claims Payment Update: The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) informed AHCA that all Patient-Driven Payment Model (PDPM) claims, including multiple Health Insurance Prospective Payment System (HIPPS) code claims, will now process. Members should submit all claims as quickly as possible to start the 14-day floor claims process.
Earlier this year, EOHHS established a new grant program for eligible MassHealth providers to fund efforts to improve access to health care services for individuals with disabilities or for whom English is not a primary language.
Massachusetts Senior Care Association is a proud partner organization of The Massachusetts Healthcare Safety and Quality Consortium which brings together the state’s health care community — providers, payers, patients, government agencies, and other policymakers and experts — to accelerate safety and quality improvement statewide. The consortium led by the Betsy Lehman Center for Patient Safety was formed after a study found 62,000 preventable harm events in Massachusetts in 2017. The goal of the consortium is to create a Roadmap to
Mass Senior Care invites staff at member facilities to participate in various committees designed to share information on the topics of clinical quality, regulatory, human resources and finance and reimbursement.
The submission deadline for the Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF) Quality Reporting Program (QRP) has been extended to November 18, 2019. Assessment data SNFs submitted April 1 – June 30 (Q2) of calendar year (CY) 2019 are due with this deadline.
Mass Senior Care last Friday presented testimony on EOHHS’ $56 million nursing facility rate regulation. At the public hearing, Chief Operating Officer Gary Abrahams noted that the October 1 regulation implemented the legislatively-required $50 million rate increase, which is necessary to begin to help stabilize the nursing facility sector.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on November 1st announced via a Federal Register notice that it is extending the validity of TPS-related documentation for beneficiaries under the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designations for El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nepal, Nicaragua and Sudan through January 4, 2021.
The US Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General (OIG) has released its updated list which reflects all OIG exclusions and reinstatement actions up to, and including, those taken in October 2019. This new file is meant to replace the updated List of Excluded Individuals/Entities (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 Legislature continues to deliberate on the $700 million FY 2019 year end supplemental budget, which includes $10 million to restore funding for 170 nursing facilities which saw rate cuts of up to $2.80 per day, as a result of an abrupt and fundamental redesign of MassHealth’s longstanding capital reimbursement methodology.
Due to technical difficulties with the Quality Award Portal, the American Health Care Association is extending the AHCA/NCAL National Quality Award Intent to Apply (ITA) deadline to Thursday, November 21st. Submissions must be received before 8 pm ET on November 21st.