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Deadline Approaching for National Quality Award Applications<p style="text-align&#58;center;"><strong><img src="/Breaking-News/PublishingImages/QualityAward1_logos.jpg" alt="" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;526px;height&#58;423px;" /><br><br></strong></p><p style="text-align&#58;center;"><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-9-0"><a href="https&#58;//www.ahcancal.org/Quality/National-Quality-Award-Program/Pages/default.aspx" target="_blank">​​​Application Deadline&#58; Thursday, January 27, 2022</a></strong></p><div>The National Quality Award application deadline is quickly approaching. If applicants have not done so already, Quality Award staff encourage providers to download and review the following essential resources to help submit an application before the deadline on Thursday, January 27, 2022, by 8 p.m. Eastern.&#160;​</div><div><br></div><h2 style="text-align&#58;center;"><a href="https&#58;//www.ahcancal.org/Quality/National-Quality-Award-Program/Pages/default.aspx" target="_blank"><strong class="ms-rteForeColor-2" style="font-size&#58;20pt;">APPLY TODAY!</strong></a></h2><p><br></p><p>The following resources are available on the <a href="https&#58;//www.ahcancal.org/Quality/National-Quality-Award-Program/Pages/default.aspx" target="_blank">National Quality Award website</a>.</p><ul><li><strong>Month-by-Month Action Plan &amp; Key Dates</strong> - Bronze, Silver, Gold</li></ul><p><em>A month-by-month break d​o​wn of where applicants should be in the application process. </em><br></p><ul><li><strong>Criteria Video Series</strong> - Bronze, Silver, Gold</li></ul><p><em>Short videos, each covering an individual question or category in the Criteria to help applicants work through the application. ​</em></p><p></p><ul><li><strong>Quality Award Survey Requirements</strong></li></ul><p><em>These survey requirements provide SNF applicants information on whether they currently meet the survey requirements to receive a Quality Award. A full description of the survey requirements at each level is available in the application packet.</em></p><p></p><ul><li><strong>Silver and Gold Scoring Calibration Guidelines </strong></li></ul><p><em>Only for Silver and Gold applicants, the scoring guidelines are tools that Examiners utilize to score the applications. Applicants can use these to understand the demands of the various scoring ranges. </em><br></p>2022-01-07T05:00:00Z<img alt="" src="/Breaking-News/PublishingImages/740%20x%20740/QualityAward_logos.jpg" style="BORDER&#58;0px solid;" />Quality AwardsQuality Award deadline is Thursday, Jan. 27, 2022. Review the resources to help submit an application before the deadline.
AHCA/NCAL National Quality Awards 2020, 2021<p>​T​he American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) honored six long term care providers for earning the coveted National Gold Quality Award at the association’s annual convention in October.&#160;</p><p>Providers that achieve the Gold award represent the best in the nation. In the history of the association’s Quality Awards program, only 49 long term care facilities have received the distinction. The three-level process aims to evaluate long term care organizations’ capabilities against nationally recognized standards for excellence known as the Malcolm Baldrige criteria.&#160;</p><p>Two of the six facilities celebrated were recognized for earning the Gold award in 2021.</p><h3>​​Magnolia Manor of Marion County</h3><p>Angela Watkins, RN, administrator of <a href="https&#58;//www.magnoliamanor.com/buena-vista/" target="_blank">Magnolia Manor of Marion County</a> in Buena Vista, Ga., says for her 70-bed facility in rural Georgia the latest attempt to achieve Gold has been a long and hard battle.&#160;</p><p><img src="/Monthly-Issue/2021/December/PublishingImages/Magnolia-Manor-Marion-County_Nurse_2021.jpg" class="ms-rtePosition-1" alt="" style="margin&#58;5px;" />“One of the challenges along the way was understanding the Malcolm Baldrige criteria and learning how to apply what we do on a daily basis into answers that met the criteria,” she says. “A lot of time went into this effort.”</p><p>But the time spent on writing the application was a good thing, notes Watkins. “What we didn’t realize at first was that we were also becoming a more unified team. Because of this unity, we were better prepared to fight the pandemic.”</p><p>When asked what kept them going after applying unsuccessfully for the Gold once before, Watkins said, “The more you work on the application, the more you understand how all the pieces of the puzzle fit together. Each time we tried, we were becoming more award-worthy.”</p><h3>​​Why Keep Going</h3><p>Watkins’ advice for providers who are debating on continuing with the program&#58; “You are in this business because you care about [the] residents. If you care about them at all, you can’t give up. You’ve got to keep working on anything that makes their quality of care and quality of life better. Keep going for it.”</p><p>What stands out the most about reaching this milestone, Watkins says, is “when you are able to make a change that you can see that cannot only make a difference in the lives of the residents, but then you can sustain that change; to me that’s powerful. If you invest in the right efforts in improving your processes, success will follow.”</p><h3>​​Maine Veterans' Home - Bangor</h3><p>For Administrator Greg Urban of <a href="https&#58;//mainevets.org/" target="_blank">Maine Veterans’ Home - Bangor</a> in Bangor, Maine, a 150-bed facility that cares for&#160;residents who have served in the U.S. military, achieving Gold took “hard work, perseverance, and a tremendous amount of support.”&#160;<br></p><p style="text-align&#58;center;"><img src="/Monthly-Issue/2021/December/PublishingImages/MVH-Bangor.jpg" class="ms-rtePosition-4" alt="" style="margin&#58;5px;" />&#160;</p><p style="text-align&#58;left;"><span style="text-align&#58;left;">Urban says that Maine Veterans' Homes (MVH) leadership has supported their quality journey since the beginning. MVH - Bangor is the latest MVH to earn Gold. In 2018, MVH - Machias reached Gold, as did MVH - Scarborough in 2016.</span><br></p><p>“I don’t think I could have easily gone as far without their support,” Urban says. Their advice led Urban to go to conventions, join AHCA’s Life Safety Committee, and volunteer as an examiner for the Quality Awards program.&#160;</p><p>“I became an examiner to better understand the quality program,” Urban says. Examiners for the program review applications at the Silver and Gold levels.</p><h3>​The Road to Gold</h3><p>The journey to reach Gold started in 2010 when MVH - Bangor earned Bronze, the first level of the program. “As a facility we felt we were a good team,” says Urban, “but we wanted to be the best we could be.</p><p>“These past 11 years were not easy,” he adds. “We applied twice for the Silver and twice for the Gold.”</p><p>The value in sticking with the program became clear when he realized the application process was unifying his team even more. “Each step of the way brought our team closer together as we focused in on excellence at all levels,” he says.</p><p><img src="/Monthly-Issue/2021/December/PublishingImages/MVH-Bangor7.jpg" class="ms-rtePosition-2" alt="" style="margin&#58;5px;" />Throughout the experience, staff have improved their service to the residents with new, innovative approaches. For example, Urban says, “Since it is difficult to take large numbers of residents to community events, we now bring many community events to their home, like car shows, parades, and motorcycle shows where residents can take a ride in a sidecar and feel the wind in their hair.”</p><p>Urban admits that when he first learned about the Quality Awards program, he was a little skeptical. But after researching more and experiencing firsthand the work involved, his opinion shifted.&#160;</p><p>“It’s very difficult and very valid, and it’s based on something that was created outside our profession. I certainly believe in it now.”</p><p>Now that the Quality Awards program has shown them a clear pathway toward excellence, Urban says, MVH - Bangor will continue the journey.</p><p>For more information about the Baldrige-based AHCA/NCAL Quality Awards program, find it on <a href="http&#58;//www.ahcancal.org/" target="_blank">www.ahcancal.org</a>. The deadline to apply for the 2022 program year is Jan. 27, 2022. <br></p><p><em>Andrea Todd is director of public affairs at the American Health Care Association.​</em><br></p><p><br></p>2021-12-01T05:00:00Z<img alt="" src="/Monthly-Issue/2021/December/PublishingImages/Gold.jpg" style="BORDER&#58;0px solid;" />Quality AwardsAndrea ToddTwo Gold Award earners tell how they persevered to get there and what it has done for their facilities.
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.