AHCA/NCAL National Quality Awards 2021 Recipients<p>The American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living is pleased to present the companies that have earned AHCA/NCAL National Quality Awards in the Gold—Excellence in Quality, Silver—Achievement in Quality, and Bronze—Commitment to Quality categories. </p><p><strong style="color&#58;#cc9900;"><span style="color&#58;#cc9900;">GOLD</span></strong><br>Gold recipients demonstrate through their approach, deployment, and consistency of results that they are achieving high levels of performance in health care, customer satisfaction, market, workforce, process, and leadership outcomes. At the Gold level, applicants must address the Health Care Criteria of the Baldrige Performance Excellence Program in its entirety.</p><p><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-2-3">SILVER</strong><br>Applicants that receive the Silver award provide an extensive assessment of their systematic approaches, performance measures, and sustainable organizational and process results that are linked to the key customer requirements, success factors, and challenges the applicants previously identified in earning the Bronze award. </p><p><strong style="color&#58;#996633;"><span style="color&#58;#996633;">BRONZE</span></strong><br>Applicants that receive the Bronze award are able to describe their vision and mission, outline plans to improve processes within their communities, identify key challenges, and recognize the relationship of these factors with their ability to achieve performance improvement.</p>Click to see <a href="/Monthly-Issue/2021/October/Documents/2021_QualityAward.pdf" target="_blank">complete list</a>.<p>​</p>2021-10-01T04:00:00Z<img alt="" src="/Topics/Special-Features/PublishingImages/2021/1021/1021_QA.jpg" style="BORDER&#58;0px solid;" />Quality AwardsCompanies that have earned AHCA/NCAL National Quality Awards in the Gold, Silver, and Bronze.
AHCA/NCAL Gold Quality Award Achievers Talk Strategy, Sacrifice<p>​A quartet of providers has received the preeminent Gold National Quality Award designation from the American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) for 2020 and was honored for their achievement during the association’s annual convention, which ran on a virtual basis through the month of October.</p><h2>Starting With Bronze</h2><p><img src="/Monthly-Issue/2020/December/PublishingImages/Treutlen.jpg" alt="Treutlen Health and Rehabilitation" class="ms-rtePosition-1" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;232px;height&#58;303px;" />Jane Martin, RN, director of nursing, Treutlen Health and Rehabilitation, Soperton, Ga., says for her 50-bed facility in rural Georgia, the latest attempt to achieve Gold started five years back when the organization earned Bronze from AHCA/NCAL, then Silver in 2017.<br></p><p>“That is when we decided to go for the Gold,” she says. “We [earned] a site visit last year, and then this year got the Gold award.”<br></p><p>Going for the top honor and going for the Bronze or Silver are worlds apart, Martin notes. “The Gold is so much different, and you really need to dedicate time to it.” This work includes copious writing down to report quality-based outcomes for residents, since getting positive results is what the award process is all about, she says.<br></p><p>“Probably the most difficult things is collecting the data. Everything has a different measurement time frame, so I really rely on LTC Trend Tracker [from AHCA/NCAL], NursingHome Compare… You need to know all of these data today on a regular basis.”<br></p><p>Once all the hard work resulted in the Gold, Martin says sharing the good news, in a COVID-sensitive manner, was a great feeling for staff and residents alike.<br></p><p>“We were in a huge open area when we told them, and it was a lot of yelling through masks,” she says. “It was kind of sad that we could not hug or have family there, but we did our best.”<br></p><p>As for what she would tell fellow providers about the award program, Martin says facilities should do it; even though it is not easy, it is well worth it. “We all learned so much through the process, and there were so many little things along the way, it has changed the way we live and work here.”</p><h2>Driven by Necessity</h2><p><img src="/Monthly-Issue/2020/December/PublishingImages/Burgess.jpg" alt="Burgess Square Healthcare and Rehab Centre" class="ms-rtePosition-2" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;414px;height&#58;308px;" />Kristin Thrun, administrator, Burgess Square Healthcare and Rehab Centre, Westmont, Ill., says her nursing home got into the quality award world because back in 2012 when accountable care organizations and other value-based care entities emerged in her area, it became imperative for her facility to set itself apart.<br></p><p>“The focus became even more pronounced on overall performance outcomes and quality measures, and becoming part of the AHCA/NCAL award process helped us to do this in a systematic way,” she says.<br></p><p>After receiving some local awards for their work with residents, the facility earned Bronze from AHCA/NCAL in 2017 and then eyed going for Gold after that.<br></p><p>“I think the biggest challenge is continuing to push forward in terms of meeting the criteria and putting our programs in place and sustaining them despite the external challenges brought on by things like changes in payment models [Patient-Driven Payment Model] and keeping pace with those,” Thrun says.<br></p><p>An example she gives is the challenge it was to make the systemic change on medication reconciliation when a resident moved from the hospital to the nursing home. <br></p><p>“We worked with the hospital to change the process and reduce errors tied to these transitions of care and created a pharmacy position that just does admission reviews for new patients coming in,” she says.</p><h2>New Skills Help Staff Adapt</h2><p><img src="/Monthly-Issue/2020/December/PublishingImages/Applewood_cupcakes.jpg" alt="Applewood Center" class="ms-rtePosition-1" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;262px;height&#58;383px;" />The third achieving group says its journey to Gold began 18 years ago, according to Gail Cushing, RN, executive director, Applewood Center, Winchester, N.H.<br></p><p>“It has been a long journey for sure, but we continued to forge on throughout the time, but it did not prevent us from getting to where we wanted to go,” she says.<br></p><p>The greatest thing about the Gold process, Cushing says, is that it gave Applewood Center and its staff new skill sets to be able to adapt to new demands. “We can take new problems and adapt very quickly. An example is with COVID-19; I have said handling the pandemic was made more manageable because we went through a dress rehearsal with the Gold awards.”<br></p><p>For her, the award application has taught her and her people to communicate better, get feedback, educate, teach, and fix pitfalls. One example is that during the pandemic, her staff came up with a way to clean their goggles when there was no water source in an area where people were working.<br></p><p>“The whole Gold process is a concept really that provides a facility&#160;with new means to achieve success, and the more you practice, the better you become and the more ingrained it all becomes,” Cushing says.</p><h2>Pride for the Gold</h2><p><img src="/Monthly-Issue/2020/December/PublishingImages/Heritage_EuniTami.jpg" alt="Heritage of Bel-Air" class="ms-rtePosition-2" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;351px;height&#58;237px;" />Katie Frederick, administrator, Heritage of Bel-Air, Norfolk, Neb., started out talking about the end game of achieving Gold, which was the joy she, her 160-strong staff, and residents felt at accomplishing so much. Even though the pandemic has made a true celebration difficult, she says the pride all in the community feel about making Gold is real.<br></p><p>For her, making changes to be more efficient and better at evaluating results and outcomes is the lasting impact going through the award process will have.<br></p><p>“Evaluating and learning are what this has all been about. And, really getting better at communicating, listening to each other, and putting ideas into practice. That has all worked for us,” Frederick says. <br></p>2020-12-01T05:00:00Z<img alt="" src="/Monthly-Issue/2020/December/PublishingImages/1220_gold.jpg" style="BORDER&#58;0px solid;" />Quality AwardsPatrick Connole​A quartet of providers has received the preeminent Gold National Quality Award designation from AHCA/NCAL for 2020.
The Road to Gold<div>​</div> <div> </div> <div><img src="/Monthly-Issue/2019/October/PublishingImages/AndreaAston.jpg" alt="Andrea Aston" class="ms-rtePosition-1" style="margin&#58;5px 10px;" />Like athletes making their way up to the top spots on the medal stand, the leadership and staff at the George E. Wahlen Ogden Veterans Home, a skilled nursing facility (SNF) in Ogden, Utah, have worked their way up the ladder to reach the pinnacle in attaining the Gold level of the National Quality Award for 2019 from the American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL).</div> <div> </div> <div><br></div> <div> </div> <div>Andrea Aston, director of social services at Ogden, tells <em>Provider</em> that over the past five years the facility that cares for mostly men who have served in the U.S. military has charted a steady course in quality achievement. First, the community received the bronze quality award in 2015, then silver in 2016, and now gold in 2019.</div> <div><br></div> <div> </div> <div>“We really loved the idea of the AHCA/NCAL National Quality Award program, and so we started our journey with the bronze award and thought, ‘this is a cool award to be recognized for,’ and from there we looked into improving our processes even more,” she says. “That really is when we started looking at the big picture and decided this was a journey we wanted to take.”</div> <div> </div> <div><br></div> <div> Ogden and its 225-strong staff care for 120 residents with an average age of 75. As a veterans home, all of the residents save for 11 are men. The criteria to get in are to be a veteran, a spouse of a veteran, or a Gold Star parent, Aston says.</div> <h2 class="ms-rteElement-H2">Get on the Train </h2> <div>In explaining how the facility worked its way to gold, she emphasizes the importance of getting more than just the top echelon of management on board. “This is not a one-person job. You have to have the buy-in of everyone,” she says.</div> <div><br></div> <div>“When we got the silver, even then we knew there were many things to improve on. We actually took a year off from the awards program after the silver as we knew we were not ready yet to be recognized as a gold facility.”</div> <div><br></div> <div>During that year off in 2018, Aston says she and others charged with getting even more staff involved in the quest for gold really “hit the floor running” in seeking to make improvements from the 2016 silver performance. <br></div> <div><br></div> <div>“It was eye-opening for the whole staff. We really had to change our frame of mind, and we did that by opening up a dialogue for everybody to have a chance to jump on board. We really just tried to make it fun,” Aston says. </div> <h2 class="ms-rteElement-H2">Making the Grade</h2> <div>In striving to make the journey to better quality fun, Ogden and its employees, from the line cooks to upper management, focused on shaping their work to meet the Malcolm Baldrige Performance Excellence criteria, which AHCA/NCAL uses as the foundation for its Quality Award program. <br></div> <div><br></div> <div>These standards cover areas like leadership, strategic planning, and customer service. Communicating what Baldrige is all about to Ogden’s employees was all part of the process, Aston says. <br></div> <div><br></div> <div>“We asked who wants to be a part of this, and then we broke it down into category meetings. We made Baldrige standards part of our all-staff meetings, too, really for everyone to get a chance to be involved,” she says.</div> <h2 class="ms-rteElement-H2">Putting Theory into Practice</h2> <div>The quest for gold was not a matter of reading off lists of standards, but instead a series of practical steps to improve processes and thus make residents’ lives and care better, Aston says. <br></div> <div><br></div> <div>“There are so many things we did to make these improvements,” she says. <br></div> <div><br></div> <div>One example came in how staff managed behavioral issues and the use of medications to calm individuals. Using the quality goals established by AHCA/NCAL, the facility decided to focus more attention on innovative nonpharmacological methods to improve behaviors.</div> <div><br></div> <div>“One thing we did was to create a Namaste culture as we wanted to honor the spirit within Namaste, and we also added staff trained in this area,” she says.</div> <div><br></div> <div>“We trained our whole staff as well so when a resident is having a bad day, instead of medications and interventions, we turn to things like aroma therapy, healing touch massage, reflexology, herbal medicine, increased presence of nature, light therapy, and music therapy,” Aston says.</div> <h2 class="ms-rteElement-H2">Satisfaction Reaches New Highs</h2> <div>A spillover effect of the gold award status, and the years it took to get there, is that job satisfaction has never been higher. “We know the residents love the one-on-one attention they receive, but it is also the staff. Satisfaction has shown improvement from being able to provide more individualized care to residents,” she says.</div> <div><br></div> <div>There is also something larger at play, in working for a skilled nursing center and giving great care at a time the general public may not get the message of what long term and post-acute care is all about.</div> <div>“I talk about that all the time, the perception of the public on what we do. It is not in the news that we achieved this quality standard but there is news when there is neglect or abuse [in a facility somewhere in the country],” Aston says.</div> <div><br></div> <div>“Honestly, I have worked in multiple SNFs [skilled nursing facilities], and I feel there is a huge misunderstanding out there, because everywhere I have worked has been awesome at caring for residents. There are a lot of good people trying to do good things,” she says. <br></div> <div><br></div> <div>That optimism about being at the forefront of providing excellent care and the corresponding honor of reaching gold status has left everyone at Ogden excited for what they achieved and what comes next, Aston says. <br></div> <div><br></div> <div>“It really is a journey, and any organization should get excited about getting into the mindset of making improvements,” she says. </div> <h2 class="ms-rteElement-H2">Five Named Gold Recipients</h2> <div>Including Ogden, there are a total of five providers that earned the 2019 Gold – Excellence in Quality Award through the AHCA/NCAL National Quality Award Program.</div> <div><br></div> <div>The four facilities that joined Ogden are&#58; Christian Health Center, a SNF and assisted living community in Wyckoff, N.J.; Parker at Stonegate, an assisted living community in Highland Park, N.J.; The Villages Rehabilitation and Nursing Center, a SNF in Lady Lake, Fla.; and Vista Pacifica Convalescent, a SNF in Riverside, Calif.</div> <div><br></div> <div>“The Gold Quality Award is the highest honor a facility can receive that recognizes its quality of care,” said Mark Parkinson, president and chief executive officer of AHCA/NCAL. “These recipients are role models for our sector, and because of their years of hard work, dedication, and passion, they are improving and will continue to improve lives every day. This recognition is more than well deserved.” </div> <div>&#160;</div>2019-10-01T04:00:00Z<img alt="" src="/Monthly-Issue/2019/October/PublishingImages/gold_t.jpg" style="BORDER&#58;0px solid;" />Quality;Quality AwardsPatrick ConnoleThe leadership and staff at the George E. Wahlen Ogden Veterans Home have worked their way up the ladder to reach the pinnacle in attaining the Gold level of the National Quality Award for 2019 from AHCA/NCAL.
2019 AHCA ⁄ NCAL Annual Awards<div>​</div> <div>The American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) pay tribute to the best and brightest in long term and post-acute care. Individuals and groups honored with awards will be recognized during the 70th AHCA/NCAL Convention &amp; Expo this month in Orlando, Fla.</div> <div><br></div> <div class="ms-rteForeColor-10 ms-rteFontSize-4">Richard Cole</div> <div>Adult Volunteer of the Year<br></div> <div><br></div> <div><img src="/Monthly-Issue/2019/October/PublishingImages/RichardCole.jpg" alt="Richard Cole" class="ms-rtePosition-1" style="margin&#58;5px 10px;" />The first time <strong>Richard Cole </strong>walked into LACOBA Homes’ facility in Monett, Mo., he felt he had a calling to serve. <br></div> <div><br></div> <div>Although not a clergyman, Cole provides spiritual counsel to residents, even sensing when some are nearing the end of life. <br></div> <div><br></div> <div>Cole also provides gifts at Christmastime, distributes quilts with personal messages, and buys and delivers candy on all holidays and celebrations to residents. Even when residents have been discharged from the <br></div> <div>facility, some request that Cole visit them in their home, and he happily accepts. <br></div> <div><br></div> <div>Staff at LACOBA have remarked that even when they feel discouraged or emotionally drained, Cole’s support helps them regain the strength to keep going, and every interaction with him lightens their hearts and lifts their spirits.<br></div> <div><br></div> <div>In addition to volunteering at LACOBA Homes, he has developed a volunteer program that includes three other long term care facilities and has more than 15 volunteers to provide ongoing extra activities for the residents of these facilities as well.</div> <div><div><hr class="ms-rteElement-Hr" /> &#160;</div> <div><span class="ms-rteForeColor-10 ms-rteFontSize-4">Good Samaritan Society - Ambassador</span><br>Not for Profit Program of the Year<br></div> <div><br>The Adopt an Elder program is an intergenerational craft-exchange activity that connects elders who live at <strong>Good Samaritan Society (GSS) - Ambassador</strong> and children at Bright Beginnings Learning Center, a daycare center in Maple Grove, Minn. It is the culmination of resident-expressed interest, high-quality patient care, interdisciplinary brainstorming, and collaboration with locally owned businesses in the community. <br></div> <div><br></div> <div>Since the fall of 2017, on alternating weeks, the two groups take turns creating small crafts for the other that is then hand-delivered by GSS - Ambassador’s director of social services.<br></div> <div><br></div> <div>The intent of this program is not simply to provide residents with busy work, but rather to create a program that provides a sense of purpose and nurtures feelings of accomplishment in the participating elders.&#160;</div> <div><br></div> <div>When asked their thoughts about the Adopt an Elder program, some of the residents shared that every time they work on these projects, they smile, and that the children are their sunshine.<br></div> <div><br></div> <div>The most astonishing impact is the measurable decrease in self-identified depression symptoms among the participating elders, with a 38 percent decrease in self-identified feelings of little interest or pleasure in doing things they enjoy; a 13 percent decrease in self-identified feelings of being down, depressed, or hopeless; and an 8 percent decrease in cumulative Minimum Data Set PHQ-9 mood assessment scores.<br></div> <div><br></div> <div>The success of the program is built on the supportive staff who not only listen to the residents but put their ideas into action.</div> <div><br></div> <div><div><hr class="ms-rteElement-Hr" /> &#160;</div> <div><br></div> <div><span class="ms-rteFontSize-4 ms-rteForeColor-10">Railey Conner</span><br>Young Adult Volunteer of the Year</div> <div><br></div> <div><img src="/Monthly-Issue/2019/October/PublishingImages/RaileyConner.jpg" alt="Railey Conner" class="ms-rtePosition-1" style="margin&#58;5px 10px;" />At just age 11, <strong>Railey Conner</strong> found her passion for volunteering in long term care. She wanted to bring joy to residents by providing Christmas gifts. What began eight years ago as an act of kindness developed into continuous acts of love and lasting relationships with more than 200 residents across five Crestview Health &amp; Rehabilitation centers in Crestview, Fla.<br></div> <div><br></div> <div>To coincide with her December birthday, Railey started her Annual Birthday Project/Remembering Our Elderly in Nursing Homes. She takes time to get to know the residents’ hobbies, interests, and life stories so that she can pick out special gifts tailored to what they like. She’s able to do this by raising money from local churches and other organizations. <br></div> <div><br></div> <div>After learning that one resident spoke Spanish, Railey enlisted her high school Spanish teacher to begin visiting this resident so that she could speak her native language, further demonstrating her willingness to <br></div> <div>go that extra mile for residents.</div> <div><br></div> <div><br></div> <hr class="ms-rteElement-Hr" /></div> <div> <p class="ms-rteElement-P"><span class="ms-rteFontSize-4 ms-rteForeColor-10">Dave Gessel</span><br>Not for Profit Trustee</p> <p class="ms-rteElement-P"><img src="/Monthly-Issue/2019/October/PublishingImages/DaveGessel.jpg" alt="Dave Gessel" class="ms-rtePosition-1" style="margin&#58;5px 10px;" /><strong>Dave Gessel</strong> has served on the West Valley City, Utah-based Mission Health Services (MHS) board for the past 15 years. During his tenure, MHS has received the Best of State Award for Skilled Nursing five of the last eight years, approved charitable care for more than $30 million to the elderly and vulnerable adults throughout Utah and Wyoming, and received many other awards and recognitions.&#160;</p> Gessel is committed to replacing an institutional culture with surroundings that foster warm, personal relationships and help attain autonomy. He has a genuine responsibility to serve beyond MHS’ care communities and has advised MHS to seek social accountability, opportunities, and measures to identify and exercise leadership in meeting local needs.&#160;</div> <div><br> <p class="ms-rteElement-P">Through his leadership, MHS has opened its care communities to other nonprofit organizations by sharing their strategies of positive achievement.</p> <p class="ms-rteElement-P"><br></p> <hr class="ms-rteElement-Hr" /> <div><span class="ms-rteForeColor-10 ms-rteFontSize-4">Barbara Smith</span><br>ID/DD Hero of the Year<br></div> <div><br></div> <div><img src="/Monthly-Issue/2019/October/PublishingImages/BarbaraSmith.jpg" alt="Barbara Smith" class="ms-rtePosition-1" style="margin&#58;5px 10px;" /><strong>Barbara Smith</strong> embodies and executes Valley Village’s mission to protect, foster, develop, and advance the rights and interests of individuals with developmental disabilities, and strongly represents Valley Village with skill, expertise, compassion, and fortitude.&#160;</div> <div><br>She has been part of Valley Village in Winnetka, Calif., for 25 years, and since 2008, she has served as residential program director. In 2001, Smith provided oversight for a pilot program to establish a new intermediate care facility type for residents with developmental disabilities with continuous nursing needs.</div> <div><br>More recently, Smith opened and designed the program for a five-bed adult residential facility for persons with special health care needs for individuals who were transitioned from closures of California developmental centers.</div> <div><br>Smith has collaborated with the California Association of Health Facilities to provide educational opportunities for providers of services to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities <br>(ID/DD) for federal compliance standards. She is an advocate for residents and their families by providing a greater understanding of services, supports, programs, consents, and protection of rights and freedoms, assuring them that they have someone in their corner.</div> <div><br></div> <div><div><hr class="ms-rteElement-Hr" /> &#160;</div> <div><span class="ms-rteFontSize-4 ms-rteForeColor-10">Stone Hearth Estates</span><br>National Assisted Living Week® Program of the Year</div> <div><br></div> <div>The staff members of <strong>Stone Hearth Estates</strong> in Gothenburg, Neb., put together an engaging National Assisted Living Week (NALW) program for its residents in September 2018. The community embodied last year’s theme, “Capture the Moment,” by offering a photo booth with local celebrities, a caricature artist who drew residents’ portraits, and an exhibit of American photos from the Library of Congress.</div> <div><br>Stone Hearth Estates also helped residents reminisce as hundreds of community pictures from over the years were hung in one of the building’s hallways.&#160;</div> <div><br>One of the major projects the rural Nebraska community executed was dubbed Grandma on a Stick. Prior to NALW, residents’ family members were sent a picture of their loved one held up by a stick and then asked to take a photograph in an everyday setting.&#160;</div> <div><br>On the first day of NALW and National Grandparents’ Day, each resident was surprised with a package of printed photos their family members had taken with their image.</div> <div><br></div> <div><hr class="ms-rteElement-Hr" /> &#160;</div> <div><span class="ms-rteForeColor-10 ms-rteFontSize-4">Elizabeth Blankenship</span><br>Jan Thayer Pioneer Award</div> <div><br></div> <div><img src="/Monthly-Issue/2019/October/PublishingImages/ElizabethBlankenship.jpg" class="ms-rtePosition-1" alt="Elizabeth Blankenship" style="margin&#58;5px 10px;" />During her more than 40-year career in senior living, <strong>Elizabeth Blankenship, RN,</strong> former owner and operator of assisted living communities in Arkansas, has championed common-sense state regulation, quality measurement and improvement, and a positive workplace environment.&#160;</div> <div><br>“As a nurse who worked her way up to soon run her own long term care communities, Liz is an inspiration to the profession,” said Scott Tittle, NCAL executive director. “Her story is remarkable, but it was her involvement at the state and national levels that make her worthy of this award. After finding effective ways to improve the lives of her residents and employees, Liz committed to sharing that success with her fellow providers to lift up the entire sector.”</div> <div><br>Now retired, Blankenship previously owned and operated Southridge Village Assisted Living, a company consisting of four assisted living and continuing care retirement communities throughout Arkansas.</div> <div><br>She designed and built some of the first private apartments for assisted living residents in the state, dubbed Homestyle Cottages, that maximized independence in a homelike environment.&#160;</div> <div><br>When the Arkansas Legislature established the licensure of assisted living in 2001, Blankenship served on the committee that helped draft the regulations for the sector. She continued to serve the state on numerous committees, task forces, and boards.&#160;</div> <div><br>At the national level, Blankenship was one of the first NCAL State Leaders representing Arkansas. Additionally, she served on the NCAL Quality Committee, and her clinical expertise and workforce innovations made her a sought-out speaker at multiple national conferences.&#160;</div> <div><br>Blankenship earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of Texas at Arlington. She later became certified as a geriatric nurse through the American Nurses Credentialing Center.&#160;</div> <div><br>The Jan Thayer Pioneer Award recognizes individuals who have moved the senior care profession forward, positively affecting the lives of those served and those who serve. Recipients must demonstrate dedication, leadership, and considerable contributions to the profession.</div> <div><br></div> <div><hr class="ms-rteElement-Hr" /> &#160;</div> <div><span class="ms-rteFontSize-4 ms-rteForeColor-10">Shirley Perdue</span><br>NCAL Noble Caregiver of the Year</div> <div><br></div> <div><strong>Shirley Perdue</strong> has served the residents of Richland Place Senior Living in Portland, Tenn., for the past nine years as a resident aide. However, her co-workers credit her with assisting wherever help is needed, whether in housekeeping, maintenance, dietary, activities, or administration.</div> <div><br>At 73 years old, Perdue is known for her amazing energy and perfect attendance, serving as a role model to the entire staff. When inclement weather is in the forecast, she is known to bring a sleeping bag to work and prepares to spend as many nights as necessary to ensure residents are cared for and safe.&#160;</div> <div><br>Perdue’s leadership skills are evident as she provides orientation to all new second-shift employees and helped Richland Place implement a community integration plan. Beyond her daily tasks, Perdue often spends her personal time and money buying residents items they need, as well as holiday gifts.</div> <div><br></div> <div><div><hr class="ms-rteElement-Hr" /> <span class="ms-rteFontSize-4 ms-rteForeColor-10"> </span>&#160;</div> <div><span class="ms-rteFontSize-4 ms-rteForeColor-10">Jaclyn O’Keefe</span><br>NCAL Administrator of the Year</div> <div><br></div> <div><img src="/Monthly-Issue/2019/October/PublishingImages/JaclynOKeefe.jpg" alt="Jaclyn O'Keefe" class="ms-rtePosition-1" style="margin&#58;5px 10px;" />During her nearly four years as administrator of Heritage Woods of Rockford, in Rockford, Ill., <strong>Jaclyn O’Keefe</strong> has helped the assisted living community measurably improve in several areas, including staff retention, annual surveys, and resident satisfaction. These efforts, among others, helped the community earn the Bronze - Commitment to Quality Award through the AHCA/NCAL National Quality Award program in 2019.</div> <div><br>O’Keefe is known as a strong leader, constantly empowering her employees to seek professional development while fostering a teamwork atmosphere. The residents of Heritage Woods regularly give back to the larger Rockford community through book drives, holiday donations, and fundraisers for veterans and students, frequently organized by O’Keefe.</div> <div><br>She is a tireless advocate for residents and the profession; she recently led an effort in which hundreds of residents, families, and staff wrote letters to their state legislators encouraging appropriate Medicaid funding.&#160;</div> <div><br></div> <div><hr class="ms-rteElement-Hr" /> &#160;</div> <div><span class="ms-rteFontSize-4 ms-rteForeColor-10">Friends of G</span><span class="ms-rteFontSize-4 ms-rteForeColor-10">ood Samaritan Society - Scotland</span><br>Group Volunteer of the Year</div> <div><br></div> <div><img src="/Monthly-Issue/2019/October/PublishingImages/GoodSamScotland.jpg" alt="Good Samaritan Society" class="ms-rtePosition-1" style="margin&#58;5px 10px;" />For the past 13 years, members of <strong>Friends of Good Samaritan Society - Scotland</strong> in Scotland, S.D., interact with residents on a daily basis in a variety of ways. They range from helping with resident activities, reading personal mail for residents who are unable to do so, to sitting and being with someone nearing the end of life.</div> <div><br>With “fun” identified as part of the group’s mission, they organize and host events to raise funds in order to take residents on field trips, purchase and wrap individual Christmas gifts for each resident, bring a flower and card on residents’ birthdays, and help host various events and activities at the facility.&#160;</div> <div><br>However, their work is not just about sharing sweet treats, but rather about building relationships, excitement, and joy. As members of their small town, the group speaks at various community events and places articles in the local paper and church bulletins to promote involvement with their group.&#160;</div> <div><br></div> <div><hr class="ms-rteElement-Hr" /> &#160;</div> <div><span class="ms-rteFontSize-4 ms-rteForeColor-10">Janet Snipes</span><br>Mary K. Ousley Champion of Quality Award</div> <div><br></div> <div><img src="/Monthly-Issue/2019/October/PublishingImages/JanetSnipes.jpg" class="ms-rtePosition-1" alt="" style="margin&#58;5px 10px;" /><strong>Janet Snipes,</strong> executive director of Holly Heights Nursing Center, in Denver, is the 2019 recipient of the Mary K. Ousley Champion of Quality Award. Snipes is recognized for her outstanding contributions to quality in long term and post-acute care.</div> <div><br>“Janet’s work with federal regulators, payers, and providers to improve quality outcomes in this profession has made a national impact,” says Mary Ousley, AHCA Quality Cabinet co-chair and namesake of the award. “This award recognizes individuals who embrace quality as a central focus of their work, and Janet does just that. It’s an honor to recognize her for her commitment and dedication.” <br></div> <div><br></div> <div>For more than 30 years, Snipes’ entire career has been devoted to driving quality improvements and reshaping federal policy to improve national quality outcomes. Snipes was an early champion of the pursuit of quality outcomes and is known statewide for mentoring others to do the same. In 2018, under Snipes’ leadership, Holly Heights earned the Gold – Excellence in Quality Award through the AHCA/NCAL National Quality Award&#160; program. <br></div> <div><br></div> <div>As chair of the Colorado Health Care Association Board of Directors, Snipes was a pivotal part of creating a Pay for Performance model, which incentivizes providers to lean toward quality outcomes to meet and exceed national quality goals. Sharing the success of the Colorado model nationally helped encourage other states to adopt similar structures.</div> <div><br></div> <div>Her national commitment to quality has shown through her contribution of time, serving as a member of the AHCA Survey Regulatory Reform Workgroup, chair of the AHCA Survey &amp; Regulatory Committee, chair of the Quality Improvement Committee, co-chair of the Quality Cabinet, and a member of the AHCA Board of Governors.</div> <div><br></div> <div>Each year, AHCA/NCAL presents the Mary K. Ousley Champion of Quality Award to an individual who has made significant national contributions to advancing quality performance in long term and post-acute care. Recipients display leadership in the development, promotion, and implementation of quality improvement initiatives that have resulted in measurable outcomes.<br></div> <div><hr class="ms-rteElement-Hr" /> &#160;</div> <div><span class="ms-rteFontSize-4 ms-rteForeColor-10">John Walters</span><br>NCAL Assisted Living Nurse of the Year</div> <div><br></div> <div>As a nurse supervisor, <strong>John Walters </strong>oversees the clinical needs of the 65 residents at Dominican Village in Amityville, N.Y. The center is a 2019 recipient of the Silver – Achievement in Quality Award through the AHCA/NCAL National Quality Award program.</div> <div><br></div> <div>Walters seeks to improve the quality of care residents receive at this Long Island assisted living community by working closely with case managers to develop care plans, setting goals for his Wellness Department team, and serving as a strong team leader. He is known for going above and beyond the call of duty, often working overtime or checking in on residents, especially those on hospice.</div> <div><br></div> <div>His knowledge of and passion for quality end-of-life care means he is frequently consulted and readily offers additional education and support. Additionally, Walters facilitates a support group for families and caregivers, discussing ways to handle stress, among other topics. <br>&#160;</div></div> <div>&#160;</div></div></div></div>2019-10-01T04:00:00Z<img alt="" src="/Monthly-Issue/2019/October/PublishingImages/awards_t.jpg" style="BORDER&#58;0px solid;" />Quality;Quality AwardsRachel Reeves, Natalie Visnick, and Cristina CrawfordAHCA/NCAL pay tribute to the best and brightest in long term and post-acute care. Individuals and groups honored with awards will be recognized during the 70th AHCA/NCAL Convention & Expo in Orlando, Fla.