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Insurance Corner <p><strong class="ms-rteForeColor-2">ADVERTORIAL</strong></p><p><img src="/SiteCollectionImages/logos/CompassTB.jpg" class="ms-rtePosition-2" alt="" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;150px;height&#58;150px;" />​&quot;One of the things that has worked well for us is Compass Total Benefit Solutions’ ability to manage change and transitions seamlessly. About 15 months ago, Altamonte Care of Texas changed payroll platforms. Compass was highly engaged in our strategic process of choosing a new platform for our company.<br></p><p>“Nick, our partner at Compass, was familiar with our business. We built trust together over time, as Nick had helped our business create a strong benefits package and manage benefits during a period of growth and acquisition. <br></p><p>“Compass’ recommendation to use Employee Navigator for benefits enrollment allowed us to seamlessly integrate the new payroll platform and human resources information system. Employees can access the platform from their own device and see their payroll information, benefits details and other helpful information, like ongoing education and training requirements. At the same time, our operations and departments are streamlined, and we’re poised for easier growth.<br></p><p><span><img src="/Topics/Special-Features/PublishingImages/2022/LoganSaxton_Compass.jpg" class="ms-rtePosition-1" alt="" style="margin&#58;5px;" /></span>“Compass is really the leading expert in creating insurance and benefits programs that truly work for your business. Culturally, our company aims to always be compassionate. We want to make the right decisions when it comes to our employees’ wellness, whether that’s their emotional, physical or financial health, and I trust Compass to help us live out that mission in every aspect.”<br></p><p>Logan Sexton, Managing Principal<br>Altamonte Management Advisors, LLC <br><a href="mailto&#58;logan.sexton@altamontecare.com" target="_blank">logan.sexton@altamontecare.com</a></p><p><br></p><p>To learn more about Compass, visit <a href="http&#58;//compasstbs.com/" target="_blank">compasstbs.com</a> or contact Nick Cianci at <a href="mailto&#58;nick@compasstbs.com" target="_blank">nick@compasstbs.com</a>.<br> </p>2022-06-01T04:00:00Z<img alt="" src="/SiteCollectionImages/logos/CompassTB.jpg" style="BORDER&#58;0px solid;" />Management​"One of the things that has worked well for us is Compass Total Benefit Solutions’ ability to manage change and transitions seamlessly."
A View from the Field<p><img src="/Topics/Special-Features/PublishingImages/2022/State%20Execs/MatthewBarrett.jpg" alt="Matthew Barrett" class="ms-rtePosition-1" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;125px;height&#58;143px;" /><span class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-4">​“COVID-19 relief dollars provided by both federal and state government have been nothing short of a lifeline for our Connecticut nursing homes hit hard by the pandemic and now on a pathway toward recovery, but a longer bridge or recovery period of support to the other side of the pandemic is needed beyond what was initially forecasted. Occupancy recovery is now the main issue in the elongated pandemic, and how staffing shortages are hindering occupancy recovery is the same issue at both the federal and state level.”</span><br><span class="ms-rteFontSize-1">—&#7;Matthew V. Barrett, J.D., M.P.A., President and CEO, Connecticut Association of Health Care Facilities and Connecticut Center for Assisted Living</span></p><p><br></p><p><img src="/Topics/Special-Features/PublishingImages/2022/State%20Execs/RobertVandeMerwe.jpg" class="ms-rtePosition-2" alt="Robert Vande Merwe" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;125px;height&#58;125px;" /><span class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-9-4">“I believe the greatest challenge both in Idaho and nationally is the workforce crisis. We always knew that there would not be enough workers to support the Baby Boomers after 2030, but the pandemic has brought that crisis eight years earlier as millions have left the workforce.”</span><span class="ms-rteFontSize-1"><br></span></p><p style="text-align&#58;right;"><span class="ms-rteFontSize-1">—&#7;Robert Vande Merwe, Executive Director, Idaho Health Care Association</span></p><p><br></p><p><img src="/Topics/Special-Features/PublishingImages/2022/State%20Execs/BrendanWilliams.jpg" alt="Brendan Williams" class="ms-rtePosition-1" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;125px;height&#58;143px;" /><span class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-7-4">“The predations of national staffing agencies threaten to destroy long term care in New Hampshire and nationally. Having a staffing agency in your building is like inviting in a vampire.”</span><br></p><p><span class="ms-rteFontSize-1">&#160;—&#7;Brendan W. Williams, M.A., J.D., President and CEO, New Hampshire Health Care Association</span></p><p><br></p><p><br></p><p><img src="/Topics/Special-Features/PublishingImages/2022/State%20Execs/CherylHeiks.jpg" class="ms-rtePosition-2" alt="" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;125px;height&#58;125px;" /><span class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-10-3">“The pandemic represents the greatest threat to the industry in its history. But with every threat, there exists the chance for opportunities. The crisis should be the clarion call to stakeholders beyond the industry who were already painfully aware of staffing shortages. The lack of supply of health care professionals in the country because of increased competition, the aging of the existing workforce, and traditionally lower wages and health benefits in the long term care industry will add to the challenge.”</span></p><p style="text-align&#58;right;"><span class="ms-rteFontSize-1">—&#7;Cheryl Heiks, Executive Director, Delaware Health Care Facilities Association</span></p><p><br></p><p><img src="/Topics/Special-Features/PublishingImages/2022/State%20Execs/KevinWarren.jpg" alt="Kevin Warren" class="ms-rtePosition-1" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;125px;height&#58;143px;" /><span class="ms-rteForeColor-6">“I believe nationally, the greatest issue facing long term care is a true lack of understanding of the economic and societal role the nursing home profession serves in communities (urban and rural) across the country. They are the support for a disappearing safety net as the population over 65 grows faster and the availability of family caregivers declines. In communities across the country, nursing homes are among the top employers, nationally generating billions of dollars in labor income, state and local tax revenues.</span><br class="ms-rteForeColor-6"></p><p><span class="ms-rteForeColor-6">“The biggest short-term issue facing long term care in Texas is the inevitable expiration of the federal public health emergency and the end of Medicaid add-on in place that has served as a lifeline for long term care. Long term, the biggest issue in Texas is the lack of a predictable Medicaid policy that pays for actual costs of care, adjusts to the growing acuity needs, and ensures the availability of resources to provide the highest quality of care our residents/</span><br class="ms-rteForeColor-6"><span class="ms-rteForeColor-6">patients deserve.”</span><br></p><p><span class="ms-rteFontSize-1">—&#7;Kevin Warren, President and CEO, Texas Health Care Association<br></span></p><p><br><span class="ms-rteFontSize-1"></span></p><p><img src="/Topics/Special-Features/PublishingImages/2022/State%20Execs/PattiCullen2.jpg" alt="Patti Cullen" class="ms-rtePosition-2" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;125px;height&#58;143px;" /><span class="ms-rteForeColor-1">“Workforce availability is the biggest issue—it has always been a small concern, but current labor market competition, suppressed wages, and a decreasing number of eligible workers have created a workforce crisis that is not easily resolved. Simply legislating or regulating workforce standards does not solve this problem; rather, significantly increasing wages and benefits to entice workers to join and stay in the long term care profession as a valued career is essential to avoid collapse of this sector.”</span><br></p><p style="text-align&#58;right;"><span class="ms-rteFontSize-1">—&#7;Patti Cullen, CAE, President and CEO, Care Providers of Minnesota</span></p><p><br></p><p><img src="/Topics/Special-Features/PublishingImages/2022/State%20Execs/RachelBunch.jpg" alt="Rachel Bunch" class="ms-rtePosition-1" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;125px;height&#58;125px;" /><span class="ms-rteForeColor-9">“The biggest issue facing our sector nationally is funding, which affects all areas of a quality delivery service, especially access to care in rural America. The biggest issue facing our state is workforce, in particular the shortage of nurses.”</span><br></p><p><span class="ms-rteFontSize-1">—&#7;Rachel Bunch, Executive Director, Arkansas Health Care Association and Arkansas Assisted Living Association</span></p><p><br></p><p><img src="/Topics/Special-Features/PublishingImages/2022/State%20Execs/RickAbrams.jpg" alt="Rick Abrams" class="ms-rtePosition-2" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;125px;height&#58;143px;" /><span style="color&#58;#ff9900;">“No question that in Wisconsin and nationally the biggest issue is workforce. Our members are continually challenged to maintain adequate staff coverage in all operational areas so that they can continue to deliver the high quality care that our seniors and folks living with disabilities expect and, indeed, deserve.” </span><br></p><p style="text-align&#58;right;"><span class="ms-rteFontSize-1">—&#7;Rick Abrams, CEO, Wisconsin Health Care Association/Wisconsin Center for Assisted Living</span></p><p><br></p><p><img src="/Topics/Special-Features/PublishingImages/2022/State%20Execs/ZachShamberg.jpg" class="ms-rtePosition-1" alt="Zach Shamberg" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;125px;height&#58;143px;" /><span style="color&#58;#0099ff;">“At both the state and federal level, the biggest issue facing the long term and post-acute care sector will be securing a seat at the table for policy, regulatory, and legislative discussions. As we continue to see new reform after new reform introduced by CMS and state legislatures throughout the country, we’ll need to ensure long term care providers can share their expertise and experience to help shape policy. Otherwise, the future of our industry will be dictated by those who never spent a single day on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic and who couldn’t possibly understand the challenges we face.”</span><br></p><p><span class="ms-rteFontSize-1">—&#7;Zach Shamberg, President and CEO, Pennsylvania Health Care Association</span><br></p>2022-06-01T04:00:00Z<img alt="" src="/Topics/Special-Features/PublishingImages/2022/State%20Execs/RobertVandeMerwe.jpg" style="BORDER&#58;0px solid;" />Caregiving;ManagementAHCA/NCAL State Executives and leaders weigh in on what they see as the sector’s biggest challenges and what issues they are facing head-on in their local communities.
Safeguard Against Supply Chain Issues that Jeopardize Safety and Operations<p><strong class="ms-rteForeColor-2">ADVERTORIAL</strong></p><h3>Safety First </h3><p>For health care organizations, especially those in aging services, the supply chain is indicative of how we steward our resources, how prepared we are for emergencies, and our ability to keep patients, residents, and staff as safe as possible. <br></p><p>Before the COVID-19 pandemic took root, supply chain had challenges, but the pandemic put the supply chain under a microscope, exposing existing vulnerabilities that were amplified by the pandemic. These amplified vulnerabilities resulted from increased demands for multiple product lines; lack of transparency about sourcing of raw materials; a dependence on a variety of foreign sources; and lean inventory models that depended on just-in-time delivery. <br></p><p>The shift called attention to a care-critical truth&#58; the supply chain is intrinsically tied to, and supportive of, patient, resident, and staff safety.<br></p><p>Case in point regarding safety&#58; a George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health study of 1,200 health care workers asked about challenges faced during the COVID-19 pandemic, and found a wide-ranging list of concerns including infection control, employee and patient safety, and high stress. Some 87 percent of nurses reported needing to reuse single-use PPE multiple times, while 53 percent reported feeling unsafe due to being forced to reuse and decontaminate single-use PPE. <br></p><p>This study helped to demonstrate the direct connection of supply chain to patient and staff safety, and highlighted our challenge&#58; to do better by our patients, residents, and our staff on the frontline of care. Additionally, even prior to COVID, staff burnout was a significant concern, and increased cases of burnout are considered pandemic collateral damage. The pandemic has now forced a reckoning with health care workers’ mental health needs. In fact, ECRI named international supply chain disruptions number eight on its list of 2022 Top Ten Patient Safety concerns. </p><h3>Supply Chain Resiliency</h3><p>Supply chain resilience, a term we now hear frequently, includes creating an unfiltered view into the many moving parts of your supply chain. Health care organizations must develop a robust program to address daily operational supply chain needs, integrated with the ability to anticipate and prepare for the next big emergency, be it a health care crisis, a global manufacturing slowdown, a strained budget, or other challenge that can ultimately impact care and safety. <br></p><p>Creating an unfiltered supply chain view helps your organization to diversify your field of suppliers to increase purchasing flexibility; decrease potential and impact of disruptions, and identify possible vulnerabilities in a supplier’s supply chain. These steps will allow you to have greater input and engagement when trying to compensate for unavailable products and strengthen your negotiating power.</p><h3>Operations and Stewardship</h3><p>Economic pressures on skilled nursing facility provider organizations are great, with key drivers creating operating margin challenges. Slow post-pandemic recovery has resulted in occupancy rates ranging from 76 percent to 81 percent, and operating margins from -3 percent to -8 percent. Stewardship of resources plays an important role in provider survival. Strengthening of procurement functions and supply chain resilience can help provider organizations improve operating margins and use savings for other care-critical functions, such as workforce challenges. </p><h3>Functional Equivalents </h3><p>Shortages of health care supplies such as drugs, PPE, intravenous fluids, as well as durable medical equipment, including wheelchairs and beds, can disrupt routine resident care—threatening care quality and patient safety. A key strategy that helped many organizations survive the worst of the pandemic was learning to identify and procure functionally equivalent products. By vetting and documenting suppliers, and the quality and availability of supplies during the height of the pandemic, ECRI served as a resource and trusted source for health care organizations seeking to procure functional equivalents. </p><h3>Action Recommendations to Promote Supply Chain Resilience</h3><p>With manufacturers still having difficulty accessing raw materials needed to produce health care products and ongoing delivery disruptions and logistical challenges, it is vital that health care organizations reach beyond their usual partners and identify collaborators among peer institutions, suppliers, government agencies, manufacturers, and others to promote a resilient supply chain. ECRI recommends that such preparation be twofold&#58; prepare to address current supply chain issues, and prepare for future emergencies. <br><br>ECRI recommends seven areas where health care organizations can take steps to prepare for supply chain issues that can impact patient and staff safety as well as care. With planning, preparation, communication, flexibility, and cooperation with outside collaborators, your organization can improve its ability to safely navigating supply chain disruptions.<br>1.&#160;&#160; &#160;Identify supplies and drugs critical to your organization and identify domestic and international alternatives for each. <br>2.&#160;&#160; &#160;Monitor drug shortages using information from the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), wholesalers, manufacturers, and other health care organizations.<br>3.&#160;&#160; &#160;Demand transparency from distributors and manufacturers regarding minimum inventory levels, product and raw materials country of origin, and surge capacity plans.<br>4.&#160;&#160; &#160;Maintain communication with local, state, and federal government agencies to determine available stockpiles.<br>5.&#160;&#160; &#160;Re-examine sole-source, dual-source, and multisource agreements. If there are supply disruption related to these agreements, reassess the partnership, insist on specific improvements, and terminate relationships, if necessary.<br>6.&#160;&#160; &#160;Follow the recommendations in <a href="https&#58;//4751140.fs1.hubspotusercontent-na1.net/hubfs/4751140/ECRI%20Self-Assessment%20Vetting%20Nontraditional%20Suppliers.pdf" target="_blank">Self-Assessment&#58; Vetting Nontraditional Suppliers.</a><br>7.&#160;&#160; &#160;Establish initial and routine quality control protocols for products from nontraditional suppliers.<br></p><p>Health care organizations also need to support clinician resilience and be available to staff; use transparent, two-way communication channels; and support practitioner wellness effectively. These recommendations can be read in full detail by accessing ECRI’s 2022 Top 10 Safety Concerns at <a href="http&#58;//www.ecri.org/" target="_blank">www.ecri.org</a>. </p><h3>Collaborating to Improve Safety Across the Care Continuum</h3><p>Approximately 3,000 U.S. hospitals and health systems are members of ECRI’s strategic sourcing and supply chain programs. ECRI has analyzed nearly $50 billion in supply and capital spend and has provided guidance on COVID-19-related personal protective equipment. <br></p><p>ECRI invites your organization to get to know the depth and breadth of our experts, our medical technology databases that enable us to benchmark pricing on nearly 2 million supplies and more than 100,000 capital equipment items, our exclusive content, membership resources, and tailored-to-you consulting services.&#160; ECRI's experts are ready to help you protect safety with a better supply chain and are reachable at <a href="mailto&#58;clientservices@ecri.og" target="_blank">clientservices@ecri.og</a>.<br></p>2022-05-20T04:00:00Z<img alt="" src="/Topics/Special-Features/PublishingImages/2022/ECRI.jpg" style="BORDER&#58;0px solid;" />ManagementBefore the COVID-19 pandemic took root, supply chain had challenges, but the pandemic put the supply chain under a microscope, exposing existing vulnerabilities that were amplified by the pandemic.
AHCA/NCAL Highlights Growing Nursing Home Closures<p>The American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) released a new&#160;<a href="http&#58;//links.ahca.org/u/click?_t=3abc5280edfa42b5905fbea7c0fff5c2&amp;_m=72f86f1cf85343bbaf655561ff82595d&amp;_e=CR2MmBSPcgZoBH6XmtCso3eChp7RSqlViRQtyEXR_6kmsRZ6CHsqrbSX0FyJLrEuuydjE9EKuCLpBFucxFGs844Azadq-kPoqejcPeonxz7qZ6gsM2fYss5_giaQFFqUJfNS9rBpoS2pc0FY47UKTzgY0ePrIDh6yXlVvxZqCkyropXMvBhOTjr1vP_BSpSvlf0OsrLjFruyl3Fk6x5K6zZopZudOWTRjTwT0xajQopKNbYGVMw4iFcxbL6AeNWuTe7Q71LGGVZi8lKrn7v1WT0VFr0PQ0dydUujTLHmILovkCXCIcIVL7mxGy_TuqwhAbrHJTNMGgDUvh3kuukvofGrJzVQ9n92v1_UyXE0Afs%3D" target="_blank">report</a>&#160;today highlighting data that shows the growing number of nursing home closures since 2015, as well as projected closings in the months ahead. The report reinforces urgent calls for solutions to address the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and a historic workforce crisis.&#160;</p><p>Key findings from the report include&#58;</p><ul><li><p>More than&#160;1,000 nursing homes&#160;have closed since 2015, including&#160;776 closures before the pandemic&#160;and&#160;327 closures during the pandemic.</p></li><li><p>Since 2015, nearly&#160;45,000 nursing home residents&#160;have been displaced due to closures.</p></li><li><p>More than&#160;400 nursing homes&#160;are projected to close in 2022 based on current financials.</p></li></ul><p>Analyzing federal data, the AHCA/NCAL report found nursing homes that close tend to be smaller facilities in urban settings where the majority of residents&#160;rely on Medicaid. During the pandemic, nearly&#160;half of nursing homes&#160;that closed&#160;received 4 or 5-Star ratings&#160;from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), more than&#160;one-quarter were in rural communities, and an increasing proportion were&#160;not-for-profit.</p><p>Federal policymakers are considering potential cuts to nursing homes in 2022, such as a reduction to Medicare payments and ending the public health emergency (PHE), which offers enhanced Medicaid funding. The report also includes highlights from a recent&#160;<a href="http&#58;//links.ahca.org/u/click?_t=3abc5280edfa42b5905fbea7c0fff5c2&amp;_m=72f86f1cf85343bbaf655561ff82595d&amp;_e=CR2MmBSPcgZoBH6XmtCso3eChp7RSqlViRQtyEXR_6kmsRZ6CHsqrbSX0FyJLrEuuydjE9EKuCLpBFucxFGs844Azadq-kPoqejcPeonxz5ibPyeCqNUhpdeMPT2KyLcpQeezg9ZWyigH9bpS-MLreZxSaUrsomWHBGomK69_Pxxn1-8303wr0TPKYvQ3pJYpr7GHnyp069yQLMIAvkMkQ75mEGp9PyAVi6cawsg65rcCjxi8EJVXtAFLcHR0v8QOPLJJ1p_o5mz0MNJYVyqzsI-7VSsQrNKaZWqlQGeRQU4wVMIeCDzsRyMgKk4PzLbyY06Y111E4XW9-8mUVM_oDmwJilyiMLdXDHKGgsxR0r9dk185Uq32LfoolHl57OdExt-zYcei3Q0WI8O8Za3fA%3D%3D" target="_blank">financial study</a>&#160;conducted by CLA (CliftonLarsenAllen), which forecasts what these cuts would mean for nursing homes, their residents, and their communities.&#160;</p><p>CLA projects that if Medicare is cut by five percent and Medicaid PHE funding ends in 2022&#58;</p><ul><li><p>33-38 percent&#160;of nursing homes&#160;would be considered at financial risk.</p></li><li><p>32-40 percent&#160;of residents&#160;(as many as 417,000 residents) would be living in nursing homes considered at financial risk.</p></li><li><p>68 percent&#160;of U.S. counties&#160;would be home to nursing homes considered at financial risk.&#160;</p></li></ul><p>The pandemic has exacerbated longstanding financial and workforce challenges facing the long term care industry, pushing many facilities to the brink of closure. Nursing homes will continue to struggle and close for good unless policymakers prioritize long term care for meaningful resources and support.&#160;</p><p>“Every closure is like a family being broken apart, with the lives of residents, staff and their families impacted in the process,” said Mark Parkinson, president and CEO of AHCA/NCAL. “With hundreds of nursing home closures looming now and thousands more anticipated if government funding is cut, state and federal policymakers need to step up to support our social safety net. We need to do better than just keep nursing home doors open—we need to make significant investments to better support our frontline caregivers and transform facilities for a growing elderly population.”</p><p>The full Nursing Home Closures report is available&#160;<a href="http&#58;//links.ahca.org/u/click?_t=3abc5280edfa42b5905fbea7c0fff5c2&amp;_m=72f86f1cf85343bbaf655561ff82595d&amp;_e=CR2MmBSPcgZoBH6XmtCso3eChp7RSqlViRQtyEXR_6kmsRZ6CHsqrbSX0FyJLrEuuydjE9EKuCLpBFucxFGs844Azadq-kPoqejcPeonxz7qZ6gsM2fYss5_giaQFFqUJfNS9rBpoS2pc0FY47UKT7AhSIuVPz92C17hKJy5pkKDFo9A0BVyStYALRZnvwwFksOVim4DLS-AXIo6v27mTN5tta377x1Oq7QjJohf6F1B1hdXWw-QHapDqus7dJ6h6AJW1CI1y8zUcGQKVAS1BI9lCJqOfWh37LHXe701qd20Rbayrhs4DyMeQqiaemXdmlJNWwGVTtsNioZtVtIwTqkmcPD0Rn-CxvvRikahR8Y%3D" target="_blank">HERE</a>.</p><p><br></p><p style="text-align&#58;center;"><a href="http&#58;//ahcancal.org/" target="_blank"><img src="/SiteCollectionImages/logos/ahca_ncal_cobrand.jpg" alt="" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;250px;height&#58;33px;" /></a><br></p>2022-04-22T04:00:00Z<img alt="" src="/Breaking-News/PublishingImages/740%20x%20740/housing_2.jpg" style="BORDER&#58;0px solid;" />ManagementAHCA/NCAL StaffThe report reinforces urgent calls for solutions to address the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and a historic workforce crisis.