A major event in the long term care industry’s calendar is almost here. The Annual Convention & Expo of the American Health Care Association and the National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) will be held Sept. 18-21 in Las Vegas. From an opening session featuring New York Times best-selling author Daniel Pink talking about his “A Whole New Mind: Why Right Brainers Will Rule The Future,” to closing speaker Tony Hsieh’s advice on how to achieve happiness, the convention is packed with more opportunities to learn the latest trends, techniques, and technologies than in any year past.

Sunday, Sept. 18, is becoming an “extra” convention day. For the fourth year, NCAL Day holds a series of sessions covering all things assisted living: Becoming the Totally Responsible Leader: Serving and Empowering Others; the Seven Keys to Exceptional Customer Service; Advanced Rapport and Communication Skills; Maximizing Return on Your Training Investment; and much more for a total of six possible CEUs.

Joining NCAL Day on Sunday this year is a Regulatory Mega Session featuring an update from AHCA leaders and a segment on preventable hospitalizations led by AHCA’s David Gifford, MD, along with Steven Jencks, MD, a recognized expert in the field.

Next comes three days full of a wide array of symposia, with time set aside for viewing the wares of 300 vendors on the trade show floor.

Following are a few examples of the sessions being offered.Administrator Roundtable Discussion
Leaders: Donald Wilson, executive director, The Village at Northrise, Las Cruces, N.M.; Bob Lanza, executive director, Genesis HealthCare, Kennett Square, Pa.; Angela Moore, RN, Sharon Lane Health Services, Shawnee, Kan.; Lisa Evans, administrator, Lynwood-ManorCare, Lynnwood, Wash.; and Peggy Connorton, manager, LTC Trend Tracker, AHCA

This first-time opportunity will give administrators the chance to network with peers from across the country about common operational issues and concerns such as census, labor, and leadership and share best practices to deal with them.
A number of sessions deal with survey. Among them are:

S-1 F441 Infection Control: An Outbreak of Citations

Leader: Karen Hoffmann, RN, MS, CIC, associate director, NC Statewide Program for Infection Control and Epidemiology, and clinical instructor, Division of Infectious Diseases, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, N.C.
There are a high number of F441 tags nationally due to emphasis by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) on zero-tolerance events such as hospital-acquired infections and rehospitalizations. Effective partnerships among health care providers are vital for the protection of patients and the facility.

S-4 F322, F329, and F333 Medication Tags: Push the Cart But Mind the Speed Bumps

Leader: Linda Jennings, director of clinical services, Tennessee Health Care Association, Nashville, Tenn.
With government interest in medication issues and the elderly, it is likely that CMS’ emphasis on these particular tags will only increase. This session is designed to help providers evaluate and minimize their risk by identifying potential opportunities for errors in the medication pass process and developing systematic strategies to reduce their occurrence.

Measuring Person-Centered Care: Origins and Emerging Developments

Leaders: Mary Tellis-Nayak, vice president, quality initiatives, My InnerView, Chicago, and Michael Lepore, PhD, research associate, Brown University, and director of quality research and evaluation, Planetree, Derby, Conn.
Creating a home-centered environment is a goal of many providers, and this session discusses the strategy for implementing culture change methods. Planetree, My InnerView, Brown University, and the IDEAS Institute have partnered to establish criteria and measures for identifying the achievement of person-centered excellence in long term care. Participants will learn how the tool works, how they can apply it in their own facilities, and how to market their communities based on their culture change initiatives.

Quality Improvement Through Staff Stability and Engagement: What You do Matters

Leaders: David Farrell, director of organizational development, SNF Management, West Hollywood, Calif.; Barbara Frank, co-founder, B&F Consulting, Warren, R.I.; and Cathis Brady, co-founder, B&F Consulting, Canterbury, Conn.
This session presents a new approach to leadership that offers proven, practical strategies participants can immediately implement to achieve sustained stability, engage their staff, improve care, and achieve high performance. Leaders will explore how specific management practices generate positive staff, resident, and organizational outcomes.

What is an ACO? A Bundle? A Medical Home? How Does Post-acute Care Fit
Into The New Models?

Leaders: John Richter, CPA, executive principal, principal-in-charge, LarsonAllen, Charlotte, N.C.; Jill Mendlen, chief executive officer (CEO), LightBridge Hospice, San Diego, Calif.; and Nancy Rehkamp, principal, health care, LarsonAllen, Minneapolis
The future involves innovative post-acute and long term care payment reform and care models and involves partnering with hospitals and other post-acute providers. This session will help providers understand the new concepts and, most importantly, help them
to react to changes and develop vital strategies.

Making Data Work For You: Practical Strategies For Applied Business Intelligence

Leaders: Mark Pavlovich, director operations analysis, SavaSeniorCare Administrative Services, Atlanta, and Steven Littlehale, executive vice president, healthcare and chief clinical officer, PointRight, Lexington, Mass.
This session was designed for the person who is drowning in data, understands the importance of it, but needs strategies for maximizing what the data say and turning them into actionable goals.
This presentation will provide practical strategies for implementing Business Intelligence into the everyday workplace and demonstrate how fact-based decision making turns data into action.

Maximizing the Impact Of Environmental Staff

Leaders: Susan Gilster, PhD, executive director, and Jennifer Dalessandro, assistant administrator, Alois Alzheimer Center, Cincinnati
The success of an organization is dependent upon all employees—on every shift and in every department. To think otherwise is to doom the organization to mediocrity and prevent staff from achieving high levels of performance in the future.
This session will discuss the impact and roles of environmental staff in long term care and share a means of integrating them into the organization, breaking down silos, and facilitating true teamwork. Cost-effective, sustainable programs will be shared.

Administrator And Physician: A Partnership That Must Happen

Leader: Keith Krein, MD, chief medical officer, Kindred Healthcare, Louisville, Ky.
A successful relationship with physicians is critical to maintaining census and generating desired clinical outcomes.
Understanding is the first step in building relationships and impacting both strategic business opportunities and clinical practice at the facility.
It is critical for nursing facility administrators to act strategically and take the lead on understanding physician concerns and how this will impact the quality of care and referral patterns in the marketplace. The session will offer a variety of different physician engagement models and tips for working well with doctors.