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Where Innovation Meets Data<p>​“The core advantage of data is that it tells you something about the world that you didn’t know before,” said Hilary Mason, a data scientist. <br><br>The American Health Care Association (AHCA)/National Center for Assisted Living (NCAL) is changing the way the long term and post-acute world gathers, analyzes, and shares data through the Long Term Care Data Cooperative. <br></p><p><img src="/Monthly-Issue/2022/NovDec/PublishingImages/LTC%20DataCoop.jpg" class="ms-rtePosition-1" alt="" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;200px;height&#58;121px;" />The Cooperative is the first of its kind in the world. Formed in partnership by AHCA/NCAL and Brown University and funded by the National Institute on Aging, the Cooperative is an effort to improve the quality of care within skilled nursing care centers through a new—and collaborative—approach to gathering and sharing patient data. Both the scale and the methods for aggregating data give the Cooperative its innovative edge. This large-scale effort involves any long term or post-acute care center across the nation that chooses to enroll, and the data are being gathered from multiple electronic medical record (EMR) software vendors into a single repository of information.<br></p><p>“This project was born out of a real need for better data during the pandemic,” said Dr. David Gifford, MD, MPH, chief medical officer and director of the Center for Health Policy Evaluation in Long Term Care at AHCA/NCAL. “It started with an idea of gathering data to truly understand how infection prevention methods were working within centers across the country and to gain better insights into the effectiveness of the vaccines. It grew from there into a look at the effectiveness of practices and the research required to make critical decisions about patient care.”</p><h3>Determining Effectiveness of Treatments</h3><p>In the long term care sector, the vast majority of treatments, medications, and practices that are adopted for use within nursing homes are often developed outside of the nursing home environment, explained Gifford. Their effectiveness for this population is unknown. Gaining access to long term care patients and data is complex, and researchers often use settings or younger populations more conducive to testing and data gathering.<br></p><p><img src="/Monthly-Issue/2022/NovDec/PublishingImages/DavidGifford.jpg" alt="David Gifford" class="ms-rtePosition-1" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;108px;height&#58;135px;" />“The challenge then is determining what is truly effective and—equally as important—what is not effective specifically in a long term care environment,” said Gifford. “The Co­operative is helping to change this by providing access to real patient data for verified research opportunities.”<br></p><p>Through the Cooperative, vetted federally funded researchers would have access to data in a way that’s never been available before. Nearly 1,000 centers have signed up to participate in the Cooperative completely free of charge. As enrolled providers, these centers will feed real-time data from their EMRs to the Cooperative, where it will be translated into a shared data platform. As more centers participate, more data become available, offering better and more realistic insights into the effectiveness of treatments than have ever before been provided. </p><h3>Providers Led the Effort</h3><p>The benefits to researchers are numerous, but all research will be guided by the decisions of providers. Researchers will need to move through an extensive approval process to gain access to the Long Term Care Data Cooperative, which will include input from participating providers, who will have the opportunity to review each application and decide on appropriate uses of data. <br></p><p><img src="/Monthly-Issue/2022/NovDec/PublishingImages/LonnitaMyles.jpg" alt="Lonnita Myles" class="ms-rtePosition-2" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;108px;height&#58;135px;" />“This is, above all, a provider-led effort,” said Lonnita Myles, project director of the Long Term Care Data Cooperative. “We are involving providers every step of the way through town halls, one-to-one interaction, and large-scale feedback reports.” <br></p><p>All participating centers in the Cooperative receive feedback reports, which can greatly influence patient outcomes, explained Myles. The comprehensive collection of data is an ongoing process that will continue for years to come, enabling centers to gain more insights with every new report.<br></p><p>“These feedback reports are a repository of all collected data, and it is an extremely effective roadmap to help providers decide what to do next. They will have the information they need to make important decisions within their own care centers,” said Myles. “The real impact of the Cooperative is the ability to see the effect of decisions as measured through data, thus allowing providers to take informed and educated next-steps in initiatives, procedures, and more.”</p><h3>Connecting EMR Data to CMS Claims</h3><p>In addition to feedback reports, centers are able to view linkage of available EMR data to Medicare claims. The Cooperative’s data-streaming process, which has been pioneered by data science expert Exponent Inc., will merge EMR data with CMS claims data to give centers rapid access to information about critical measures of quality care, such as rehospitalization rates. <br></p><p>Finally, participating centers have direct access to AHCA/NCAL leadership involved in the Cooperative as well as to experts in the industry who are connected to the Cooperative. The barrier to entry is low for centers who are interested in enrolling. In less than 30 minutes, most centers can complete the registration process. Additional introductory calls and information gathering will be coordinated by AHCA/NCAL. The process is completely free for all centers, and centers do not need to be active AHCA/NCAL members to participate. <br></p><p>“The existence of this program means it’s already a success,” said Gifford. “More than a thousand centers have enrolled, we’re receiving applications for research, and word is spreading. This is something that’s never been done before—and we’re proud to be behind it.”<br></p><p>For more information on the Long Term Care Data Cooperative or to enroll, visit <a href="https&#58;//www.ahcancal.org/Data-and-Research/Pages/LTC-Data-Cooperative.aspx" target="_blank">https&#58;//www.ahcancal.org/Data-and-Research/Pages/LTC-Data-Cooperative.aspx</a> or contact <a href="mailto&#58;LTCDataCooperative@AHCA.org" target="_blank">LTCDataCooperative@AHCA.org</a>​​. <br><br><em>Claire Krawsczyn is a freelance writer and creative consultant serving industries such as long term and post-acute care. She can be reached at <a href="mailto&#58;claire@goverano.com" target="_blank">claire@goverano.com</a>. </em></p>2022-11-01T04:00:00Z<img alt="" src="/Monthly-Issue/2022/NovDec/PublishingImages/LTC-DC.jpg" style="BORDER&#58;0px solid;" />ManagementClaire KrawsczynAHCA/NCAL is changing the way the long term and post-acute world gathers, analyzes, and shares data through the Long Term Care Data Cooperative.
Insurance Corner<p><img src="/Monthly-Issue/2022/NovDec/PublishingImages/Compass_Cianci.jpg" class="ms-rtePosition-2" alt="" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;108px;height&#58;135px;" />​There are many misconceptions surrounding the Employee Retention Credit (ERC) because of the iterations and legislative changes during the pandemic. Here are several of the most common misconceptions we hear. </p><p><strong>We are considered an essential business and do not qualify.</strong> <span class="ms-rteForeColor-2">False.</span> An essential business can qualify for the ERC because gross receipts declined by 20 percent year-over-year in comparable quarters or because its operations are fully or partially suspended because of a government order.</p><p><strong>We used the Paycheck Protection Program and do not qualify.</strong> <span><span class="ms-rteForeColor-2">False.</span></span> The stimulus package passed in December 2020 amended the original legislation and now allows for companies who received PPP funds to also take the ERC.</p><p><strong>We didn't experience a year-over-year decline in sales by 20 percent </strong><span><strong>and do not qualify</strong></span><strong>. </strong><span><span class="ms-rteForeColor-2">False.</span></span> Your company had to see either a 20 percent decline in gross receipts OR suspension in operations, not both. Almost every facility has been impacted in some way by a governmental order.<br></p><p><strong>We have been profitable thrrough the pandemic </strong><span><strong>and do not qualify</strong></span><strong>.</strong> <span><span class="ms-rteForeColor-2">False.</span></span> We have seen many companies that were profitable receive hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars in credits. </p><p><strong>We do not pay taxes because we are a nonprofit and do not qualify.</strong> <span><span class="ms-rteForeColor-2">False.</span></span> This tax credit applies to tax-exempt organizations if the business operations have been fully or partially suspended due to governmental orders related to COVID-19. </p><p><strong>Our business stayed open the whole time and does not qualify.</strong> <span><span class="ms-rteForeColor-2">False.</span></span> If your business had to change in any way due to governmental orders OR if gross receipts declined by 20 percent when you compare to the same quarter in 2019, you can still qualify.</p><p>To discuss your company’s specific situation, contact Nick Cianci, owner of Compass Total Benefit Solutions, at <a href="mailto&#58;nick@compasstbs.com">nick@compasstbs.com</a>.<br></p>2022-11-01T04:00:00Z<img alt="" src="/SiteCollectionImages/logos/CompassTB.jpg" style="BORDER&#58;0px solid;" />Caregiving​There are many misconceptions surrounding the ERC because of the iterations and legislative changes during the pandemic.
At Many Seniors Homes, Every Day Celebrates Veterans<p>Every day is Veterans Day in our world,” said Kelly Odegaard, vice president of Operations and Veterans Services, Westcare Healthcare Management, Salem, Ore., who operates two senior care centers in his state.</p><p>“Veterans Day is a holiday vacation day off in a lot of places, but not here,” he joked.<br></p><p><img src="/Monthly-Issue/2022/NovDec/PublishingImages/veterans2.jpg" class="ms-rtePosition-1" alt="" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;200px;height&#58;133px;" />His team and residents are excitedly preparing for upcoming events, including a parade nearby in Albany, Ore., that is known to be the largest held west of the Mississippi River. This year’s celebration is the 25th annual and will be the first held in-person since the pandemic.<br></p><p>Odegaard brings his community’s 14-passenger van and a string of classic collectible cars to ride in the parade, including a Harley-Davidson honor bike that is decorated fully in support of Veterans.<br></p><p>The parade route is typically lined five- to 10-people deep along the road, said Odegaard, who live-streams the event back to his communities (one in Lebanon, Ore., and one in The Dalles, Ore.) so that those who can’t attend can still enjoy it.<br></p><p>At the Lebanon center, there’s a hefty lineup of activities. Gnomenuts Hot Donuts will be providing free donuts and coffee for Veterans. The decorated Harley-Davidson motorcycle will take a few more laps in a post-parade “drive by.” The Oregon State University ROTC joins the center for a special medals ceremony and then stays for an ROTC Happy Hour by the fire pit with live music.<br></p><p>At The Dalles location, there’s a Klickitat Veterans Celebration, with a luncheon and festivities focused on Vets from that tribe, which is based in Washington state. It features live music, special refreshments, games, and prizes.<br></p><p>Local schools provide handmade thank-you cards that are presented to all the Veterans. Veterans’ banners are displayed downtown that highlight the Oregon Veterans Homes.<br></p><p>Additionally, a special meal from the food and nutrition department will be served—this year it will provide steaks.<br></p><p>Odegaard’s Veterans Homes are larger than the average U.S. Veterans homes that house about 80 Veterans. The capacity at The Dalles center is 151 with 96 occupants. The capacity at the Albany center is 154 with 134 occupants.</p><h3>Maine Veterans’ Homes to Print 40th Annual Resident Calendar</h3><p>Maine Veterans’ Homes (MVH) has its eyes on Vets year-round, culminating in its production of an annual calendar that highlights its great residents.<br></p><p>MVH is a gold quality award level provider with roughly 625 residents in its six homes located throughout Maine, in Augusta, Bangor, Caribou, Machias, Scarborough, and South Paris.<br></p><p><img src="/Monthly-Issue/2022/NovDec/PublishingImages/veterans1.jpg" class="ms-rtePosition-2" alt="" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;200px;height&#58;300px;" />Each year, in time for the Veterans Day holiday, it produces a full-color, full-year calendar that features the life stories of 12 of its residents (two Veterans are chosen from each center).<br></p><p>This year represents the 40th anniversary of the calendar, and it again plans a print run of 10,000. Copies are provided to all residents and their families as well as Veterans services groups and the public.<br></p><p>“It’s so popular that we start getting requests for it in September,” said Christine M. Henson, Communications Manager, MVH. MVH also produces a digital copy available on its website at <a href="https&#58;//mainevets.org/calendar/" target="_blank">https&#58;//mainevets.org/calendar/</a>.<br></p><p>On Veterans Day, MVH hosts a service where prayers are recited, and Vets and their families gather for a celebration with music and a local color guard. Many also participate in civic parades as the home is located along the parade route. Residents also enjoy gift cards and baked goods, decorated in a Veterans Day motif.<br></p><p>“The entire day is very heartwarming,” Henson said. “The residents really look forward to it.”</p><h3>Massachusetts’ Elder Services</h3><p>Frank Romano is a Vietnam Veteran and owner of Massachusetts-based Elder Services.<br>He served in 1968-69 and knows first-hand how important Veterans Day is to anyone who served in the military. <br></p><p>“These are the people we have to respect, but it’s easier said than done,” Romano said. “Veterans Day, in my opinion, has too much become another retail holiday; but it means so much to the Vets.”<br></p><p>Romano said his centers “go all out” to honor them, including inviting members of Congress to his facilities. To ensure the guests can attend, Romano typically schedules his celebrations the Tuesday before Veterans Day to better fit into the Congress members’ busy schedules. Romano sets up tents outside and invites a variety of other speakers to address his enthusiastic crowds. <br><br><em>Paul Bergeron is a freelance writer based in Herndon, Va.&#160; ​</em></p>2022-11-01T04:00:00Z<img alt="" src="/Monthly-Issue/2022/NovDec/PublishingImages/veterans.jpg" style="BORDER&#58;0px solid;" />CaregivingPaul BergeronThe national holiday shines a brighter spotlight on those who served.
Insurance Corner <p><span class="ms-rteForeColor-2" style="">ADVERTORIAL</span></p><p>“When you take over a family business, there is a lot to think about. What was important to me was that Senior Housing Managers carried on the knowledge and legacy of smart decisions that was started by Chris Mason, our founder. <br></p><p>One area we needed to make new smart decisions was in managing our staffing challenges. We currently have 510 employees serving 600 beds. But several years ago, despite our best efforts, our turnover numbers were high, and we needed help.<br></p><p>After meeting Nick at the AHCA/NCAL Convention, we decided to partner with Compass Total Benefit Solutions. Our goal was to improve our employee retention rates. But, as many in our industry—including Nick—understand, it can be difficult to design a benefits package that is robust enough to retain employees without being burdensome for the employer.<br></p><p>Nick helped us through everything. He worked with our needs and helped us create a benefits solution that has truly helped Senior Housing Managers to improve our turnover numbers. On top of that, Nick identified several employer retention credits during the pandemic that will result in nearly $3 million dollars being returned to our business in cash.<br></p><p>I would recommend Nick and his team 100%. They go above and beyond the specific needs, and our partnership has exceeded our expectations for three years in a row.”<br></p><p><img src="/Monthly-Issue/2022/SeptOct/PublishingImages/Compass_CarlMason.jpg" alt="Carl Mason" class="ms-rtePosition-1" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;125px;height&#58;156px;" /><strong>Carl Mason</strong><br>Chief Operating Officer<br>Senior Housing Managers, LLC <br><a href="mailto&#58;carl.mason.shm@gmail.com" target="_blank">carl.mason.shm@gmail.com</a> <br></p>2022-09-01T04:00:00Z<img alt="" src="/SiteCollectionImages/logos/CompassTB.jpg" style="BORDER&#58;0px solid;" />QualityIt can be difficult to design a benefits package that is robust enough to retain employees without being burdensome for the employer.