The 67th Annual Convention & Expo of the American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) is coming to Nashville, Tenn., Oct. 16–19.
Here are just a handful of the more than 70 CEU-credited symposia over four days, beginning Oct. 16.

Double The IMPACT With Nursing And Rehab

The IMPACT Act of 2014 requires standardized patient assessment data that will enable data element uniformity, quality care and improved outcomes, comparison of quality and data across post-acute care settings, improved discharge planning, and exchangeability of data and coordinated care.

Data collection for skilled nursing care centers will begin in October 2016. This course will explore methods for collaborating with rehabilitation teams for data uniformity, including collection of information in the Minimum Data Set Section GG and how this data collection will likely influence future payment reform in post-acute care.

Session Leaders:
Shawn Halcsik, DPT, MEd, OCS, RAC-CT, CPC, CHC, vice president of compliance and clinical services, and Renee Kinder, MS CCC-SLP RAC-CT, clinical specialist, Evergreen Rehabilitation, Louisville, Ky.

Independent Owners: Remaining Relevant, Connected, And Cost-Effective

With the adoption of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Bel Vista Healthcare Administrator Kelly Conk recognized the importance of partnering acute and post-acute providers in order to ensure the highest quality of care for the patient, while reducing unnecessary readmission to hospitals. As an independent, Bel Vista Healthcare Center has found the implementation of new programs laborious yet successful, leading to a positive impact on the bottom line.

Conk will share her experiences, and detail how her center met the requirements of the ACA, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) cost-savings programs, federal demonstration programs (dual-eligibility beneficiaries), and the increase in the market share of managed care without compromising quality care.

Session Leader:
Kelly Conk, NHA, administrator, Bel Vista Healthcare Center, Long Beach, Calif.

My RN Is Smarter Than Your RN

Clinical competency is fundamental to operating successfully within a value-based purchasing (VBP) reimbursement structure. Long term care companies need to demonstrate the clinical strength of their registered nurses (RNs) to be competitive with Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs), Managed Care Organizations, and their local hospitals.
This session will discuss how board certification in gerontological nursing through the American Nurses Credentialing Center can set providers apart from their competition and how the Gero Nurse Prep course can help RNs get ready for this gold standard exam.

Session Leaders:
Heidi Keeler, PhD, RN, assistant professor, Omaha Division, nurse planner, Continuing Nursing Education, University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Nursing, AHCA/NCAL Gero Nurse Prep, Omaha, Neb.; Angie Szumlinski, BS, RN-BC, LNHA, RAC-CT, director, Evolucent, Ann Arbor, Mich.; Anna Fisher, PhD, CDP, director of quality and education, Hillcrest Health Services, Bellevue, Neb.; David Kyllo, vice president of insurance and member programs, AHCA/NCAL, Washington, D.C.

Understanding Five-Star: The Survey Impact And New Quality Measures

In April 2016 CMS added six new Quality Measures (QMs) to Nursing Home Compare, of which five were added in July to the Five-Star Quality Rating System. Despite the fact that there are three domains (Survey, Staffing, and Quality) considered in the overall rating, 71 percent of Five-Star is determined by the center’s Survey score. This session will examine the current and future Five-Star methodology and the new QMs and offer strategies for Quality Assurance and Performance Improvement integration.

Session Leader:
Cheryl Field, MSN, RN, CRRN, CHCP, vice president healthcare and privacy officer, PointRight, Cambridge, Mass.

2016 Employment Law Trends: What Does It Mean For LTC Providers?

While federal legislation is unlikely to be enacted in 2016, employers can expect federal agencies to continue to implement significant changes through rule-making and increased compliance activity. A significant number of states, counties, and city governments nationwide are currently considering $15/hour minimum wage rates. The U.S. Department of Labor has updated regulations defining “white collar” and exempt employees that may result in overtime pay for some currently exempt employees. Employers also may be subject to joint employment liabilities with contractors.

Finally, providers that contract with the government may have to pay significantly higher wages to those individuals that care for residents. Labor attorney Thomas Keim will discuss wage/hour, equal employment opportunity, and other trends.

Session Leader:
Thomas Keim Jr., JD, partner, FordHarrison, Spartanburg, S.C.

Chronic Disease Management In Assisted Living

Demographic data show that the average resident living in assisted living today is an 87-year-old woman who needs help with Activities of Daily Living and has chronic conditions such as heart failure, diabetes, or arthritis, to name a few. She likely takes a combination of nine or more prescription medications, over-the-counter medications, and supplements. She has likely outlived her husband and wants to stay living in her apartment, near her friends who likely are facing similar challenges.

What are the keys to managing chronic disease? What are the considerations for program development and staffing? During this session, attendees will explore a framework based on community health nursing principles for chronic disease management, including screening programs, risk-reduction interventions, environmental modifications, health education, and promotion of physical activity. Heart failure will be used as an example, and attendees will explore best practices in resident engagement, exercise management, medication management, nutrition counseling, and goal setting.

Session Leader: Liz Jensen, RN, MSN, RN-BC, clinical director, Direct Supply, Cedarburg, Wis.

A Good Night Of Healthy, Uninterrupted Sleep

The necessity of a good night’s sleep is imperative to everyone but plays an even more poignant role in the lives of people with dementia. CMS and long term care providers haven’t until now considered sleep as an integral part of the plan of care and services provided for the resident. Nursing centers have come to the forefront in recognizing that a good night’s sleep is one of the most important gifts providers can give their residents. This session will provide participants with credible research, ideas, and interventions to make a good night of uninterrupted sleep possible for their residents.

Session Leader: Sue Ann Guildermann, RN, BA, MA, director of education, Empira, Eden Prairie, Minn.

Understanding New Medicaid Managed Care Regulations And The Impact On Long Term Services And Supports (LTSS) Providers

The Medicaid managed care final rule marks the most significant change in CMS Medicaid managed care policy in nearly two decades. With most states operating, implementing, or contemplating Medicaid managed care for LTSS, states, and health plans, providers will need to address a wide variety of new requirements in areas such as payment, network adequacy, care coordination, and quality measurement. This session will offer insights on the final rule, as well as potential provider impacts.

Session Leaders: Cindy Mann, JD, partner, Manatt Phelps & Phillips, Washington, D.C.; Kathleen Collins Pagels, MSW, executive director, Arizona Health Care Association, Phoenix; Blake Gillman, NHA, executive director, Symphony Post Acute Care Network, Mesa, Ariz.; Cindy Baddeloo, PhD, MPA, RN, SR, VP/COO, Iowa Health Care Association, West Des Moines, Iowa

Supporting The Development Of The Next Generation Of Leaders

This interactive session is geared toward persons interested in the important issue of developing emerging administrative professionals in long term care. The session is built on the reality that such development opportunities provide crucial learning experiences for the next generation of leaders. It will focus on people who have or could have a role in building and sustaining successful administrator-in-training or practicum experiences.

The panel comprises an emerging professional, an administrator serving as a preceptor, a human resources talent development specialist, and a person with overall operations responsibility. The panel members and the session moderator will highlight the importance of cultivating good partnerships and utilizing both existing and new resources.

Session Moderator: Doug Olson, PhD, professor, University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire, Eau Claire, Wis.
Session Panelists: Allan Barr, senior administrator - Wisconsin, Sava Senior Care, Menomonee Falls, Wis.; Keri Oviedo, vice president human resources, Golden Living Centers, Plano, Texas; Vani Barry, administrator, Good Samaritan Society, Ottumwa, Iowa; Glenn Van Ekeren, president and chief executive officer, Vetter Health Services, Elkhorn, Neb.

Winning The Millennial Market: How To Attract And Engage Millennials In Senior Care

The millennial generation is the largest generation in U.S. history and currently makes up 40 percent of the nation’s workforce. In an increasingly competitive talent market challenged by caregiver shortages, high turnover, and an aging population with more sophisticated care needs, senior care leaders must get things right with the millennial population. That means evolving recruiting, engagement, and retention strategies to find and develop talent. Attend this session to find out how candidates are impacted by job descriptions, brand representation, and mobile optimization during the job search process.

Gain a distinct advantage by utilizing the latest technology trends to improve recruitment efforts and better connect with millennial job seekers. Learn how to strengthen communications, implement consistent feedback practices, and focus on employee preferences to stop talent from leaving.

Session Leaders: Peter Corless, BA, MBA, executive vice president, enterprise development, OnShift, Cleveland, Ohio; Irene Fleshner, RN, MHA, FACHE, senior vice president, strategic nursing initiatives, Genesis HealthCare, Sarasota, Fla.

Is Managing Minutes To Be Extinct? Operational Considerations For SNF In-House And Contract Therapy Services To Improve Outcomes In A Post-IMPACT Act Era

The Medicare Part A skilled nursing facility (SNF) Prospective Payment System (PPS) is a fee-for-service per-diem payment policy in existence since FY 1998, and has been repeatedly criticized for incentivizing volume over value.

Policymakers, integrity investigators, and the press suggest that policy based on the minutes of therapy furnished, particularly at the highest 720-minute threshold per week, encourages unnecessary care and requires replacement.
CMS is developing a condition-based SNF PPS model. The presenters in this session will update participants on recent payment and quality policy activities that require SNF operators to redesign rehabilitation programs to be successful in a post-IMPACT Act era.

The presenters will also discuss operational considerations to realign contracting and SNF operations in ACO payment demonstration models, the recently implemented CMS Comprehensive Care for Joint Replacement bundling demonstration, and other value-based models where the overall effectiveness of the therapist’s time in producing positive outcomes impacts payment more than the volume of minutes of direct care time furnished.

Session Leaders: Daniel Ciolek, PT, MS, PMP, associate vice president of therapy advocacy, AHCA, Washington, D.C.; Nanci Wilson, RPT, DPT, CWS, FACCWS, CCI, HHA, vice president of research and development, Plum Healthcare Group, San Marcos, Calif.

Communication When Words Don’t Work

Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia are challenging conditions for both persons with the disease and their caregivers. Even in early stages of the disease, communication between caregivers and the people they support is difficult, as the person’s brain changes in areas of memory, language comprehension, language production, judgment, and impulse control. Broken communication affects all aspects of life, and in the case of dementia, it’s always changing. This class can help caregivers better understand why communication changes with dementia, and it offers new strategies to improve interactions with patients and families.

Attendees experience real stories about struggling with communication throughout the disease progression and get new ideas to improve interactions when communication is a challenge.

Session Leader: Heather McKay, MS, OT/L, manager, Partnerships for Health, Hillsborough, N.C.

Integrated Care Delivery For Dual-Eligibles: Current Landscape And Future Outlook For LTSS

Due to the complex nature of payment and care delivery for dual-eligibles, individuals eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid services, these beneficiaries have historically been excluded from mainstream managed care and efforts to coordinate service delivery.

Historically, reform efforts have been impeded by fragmentation of program responsibility and administration, as well as misalignment of payment incentives. However, CMS is increasingly encouraging the integration of medical care and long term services and supports via the Financial Alignment Initiative, Medicare Advantage Special Needs Plans, and other models. This session will provide a snapshot of current efforts to integrate care delivery for dual-eligibles and will highlight the challenges and opportunities associated with various care delivery models.

Session Leaders:
Michelle Herman Soper, director of integrated care at the Center for Health Care Strategies, Washington, D.C.; Fay Gordon, JD, staff attorney, Justice in Aging, Oakland, Calif.

10 Minutes From Normal: PR Crises In A 24-Hour News Cycle

In today’s world of 24-hour cable news, stories on the skilled nursing profession can quickly spin out of control unless they’re properly understood, mitigated, and controlled.

This session will first help the attendee understand the new media dynamic, what has changed,  and what has remained the same. Leaders will equip participants with the tools they can use in their everyday jobs to anticipate and leverage potential news stories into opportunities to tell their story.

Finally, attendees will learn some practical tips on how to conduct a media interview should they ever find the need to respond to requests.

Session Leaders: Mark Dickerson, EdD, senior director of communications, The Evangelical Lutheran Good Samaritan Society, Sioux Falls, S.D.; Greg Crist, senior vice president, public affairs, AHCA, Washington, D.C.

Palliation And Chronic Disease Management In The Post-Acute/ Long Term Care (LT/PAC) Setting

Proficiency in knowing when and how to introduce and deliver supportive care to patients, residents, and their loved ones is as critical as competence in managing the increasing acuity and complexity of the LT/PAC population.

The panel of experts will explore the role of palliation and supportive care in chronic disease management and the importance of having conversations around advance care planning. The team at Signature HealthCARE at the Courtyard in Marianna, Fla., will share their successful best practices around integrating palliative care services into the fabric of facility operations.

Session Moderator: Kathy Owens, RN, MSN, C-NE, RAC-CT, senior vice president, clinical services, Sava Senior Care, Atlanta
Session Panelists: Cari Levy, MD, PhD, CMD, director of palliative medicine, Veterans Affairs, Denver; Cathy Lipton, MD, CMD, senior medical director, Optum, Norcross, Ga.; and Brad Nobles, NHA, Ketha Hunter, RN, director of nursing services, and William Mayo, chaplain, Signature HealthCARE at the Courtyard, Marianna, Fla.

Hot Topics And Trends In Assited Living: Increased Liability

Make no mistake about it: Assisted living community lawsuits are on the rise, and Illinois is no exception. Plaintiff attorneys have focused their attention on assisted living as the next lawsuit boom. On July 31, 2013, a landmark broadcast of a Frontline exposé, “Life and Death in Assisted Living,” added fuel to plaintiff cases, showing a very dire depiction of assisted living today.

Understanding the current liability climate in assisted living today is important for everyday operation and long-term viability.

Session Leader: Neville Bilimoria, JD, partner, Duane Morris, Chicago

Does CMS Measurement And Rating Of Hospitals And Physicians Impact SNFs And ALs?

This session will explore how measures and rating systems currently used for hospitals and physician payment impact business and care delivery models in SNFs and assisted living (ALs). As the CMS outcome measures for hospitals and physicians, including Hospital VBP Payment programs and Physician Quality Reporting, continue to evolve, they will eventually converge with post-acute metrics, forming a continuum of measurement and ratings.

Continuum data will fundamentally change the way insurance plans pay SNFs and ALs. It will also impact and create novel referral patterns and care delivery systems in ways that are difficult to comprehend using currently reported information. The new continuum will also allow consumers extraordinary and unprecedented insight to make informed care choices. Prepare for these changes now in order to keep a competitive advantage.

Session Leader: Joanne Mizii Wisely, MA CCC/SLP, vice president of legislative advocacy, Genesis HealthCare Corp., Wayne, Pa.