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AHCA/NCAL's Parkinson Named "Most Influential" <p>Mark Parkinson, president and chief executive officer of American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) is one of Modern Healthcare’s <a href="https&#58;//www.modernhealthcare.com/awards/2021-most-influential-healthcare-mark-parkinson" data-feathr-click-track="true" target="_blank">“100 Most Influential People in Healthcare”​</a> for 2021. This is Parkinson’s second consecutive year on the list.</p><p>Parkinson was recognized for his efforts leading the charge to “fund and protect the 14,000 skilled-nursing facilities and assisted-living centers his organization represents during the pandemic.”</p><p>A quote from Parkinson was featured in the piece&#58;</p><blockquote><p><span class="ms-rteStyle-Emphasis"><span class="ms-rteFontSize-2">“The key is for leadership to not panic. Instead, we need to assess the real damage, what can be done to repair it and develop a plan to move forward. Leaders who articulate that plan, work it and stay steady while reassuring their team that there is a way out will shine during a crisis.”</span></span></p></blockquote><p>Parkinson was previously the governor of Kansas as well as owner/operator of multiple long term care facilities. He also appeared on the list in 2015.</p>2022-01-10T05:00:00Z<img alt="" src="/Breaking-News/PublishingImages/740%20x%20740/MPark_convention.jpg" style="BORDER&#58;0px solid;" />QualityParkinson named to top list for 2021.
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.
Customizing Screening for Accuracy and Convenience<p>​​<img src="/Topics/Special-Features/PublishingImages/2021/1121/NateSchema.jpg" alt="Nate Schema" class="ms-rtePosition-1" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;210px;height&#58;210px;" />​​​​​​When the COVID-19 pandemic hit in early 2020, providers needed all hands on deck, all the time. When the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued new requirements on visitor restrictions, The Evangelical Lutheran Good Samaritan Society—the largest not-for-profit provider of senior housing and services in the United States—was ready with a customized solution that has helped streamline visitor screenings and saved staff time.&#160;</p><p>Nate Schema, vice president of operations at Good Samaritan Society, oversees 300 locations across 22 states. “When the pandemic broke out, we realized quickly that we would have to hardwire a system for visitation,” he says. “So we custom-built a platform to integrate with our system.”</p><h2>​​Reasons For Change</h2><p>A key reason for the change was Schema and his team wanted to have automated information to share with CMS and with surveyors.&#160;</p><p>“We didn’t want to be reliant on bundles and reams of paper and have to go through that when checking information at all our sites,” he says. “We are able to flag any symptoms that people might be having and then integrate that into how we communicate our results to CMS. We wanted to broadly hardwire all we were doing.”&#160;</p><p>For example, if a surveyor were to come in and ask for a record of those who have checked into the facility, Schema and his team wanted to have information ready to share on demand. “We would have all kinds of automated background that we could run reports on and demonstrate all that we were doing to keep our residents safe,” he says.</p><h2>How The Program Developed<br></h2><p>To start, Schema and his team purchased a number of iPads, and then the company’s developers wrote a new program. “We incorporated all of the screening questions that we were required to ask of visitors and employees upon coming into our locations, and then we deployed that to all 300 sites,” he says. “So whether you were going to one of our senior living communities or to one of our skilled nursing facilities, we have that iPad technology in place when people come in our doors.”</p><p>The new screening process was launched in April 2020, at all 300 locations. “We wanted to make sure we had visibility of this process of all our locations,” says Schema.&#160;​</p><h2>​​How It Works&#160;<br></h2><p>Walking into the front entrance at a Good Samaritan facility, a visitor or employee will arrive to a kiosk that includes an iPad. The visitor selects their options on the touch screen and will have their temperature taken, most often by an automated temperature screening hung on the wall next to the iPad. If any symptoms are detected, the visitor is asked to leave. Repeat visitors have information on file. “We prepopulated our employee data, and the visitor information accumulates over time,” Schema says.&#160;</p><p>If anything is flagged or if people are having symptoms,&#160;an email notification is automatically sent to that facility’s site leader. That individual then communicates the issue to family members and staff as appropriate. “While we built some communication templates out, we encourage all of our leaders to put their personal touch and style on the message, because no one knows their family members like they do,” says Schema.​<br></p><h2>​​Adoption Among Staff</h2><p>Every week Schema and his team take two actions to help keep everyone aligned. The first is a weekly 500-person teleconference with all of Good Samaritan’s department leaders, location leaders, and executive team. The second is every Thursday the team sends out a leader link message that includes updates of the screening program and what the team has observed in terms of adoption. “Right now we have conducted over 3.5 million check-ins between family members and employees,” says Schema. “Those are screenings we’ve done through this automated process. So we know it’s working, and it continues to be a vital resource for our people so they can focus on what they do best, and that’s taking care of the residents.”</p><h2>​Regular Updates</h2><p>Updates occur periodically with questions that are asked on the kiosk. Early on during the pandemic, everything had to be actively screened. “So, regardless of the technology being right there, we [employees] actively had to ask people questions and take their temperature,” Schema says.</p><p>“Now where states allow, we are able to move toward a passive process. A family member or visitor comes in, they type in their own info, and in many locations their temperature is taken by the automated system.”</p><p>The technology, which has brought multiple benefits to Good Samaritan Society, is here to stay, says Schema. “This technology has allowed us to communicate with not only our employees at a different level but also with our family members,” he says.&#160;</p><p>As a result, Schema and his staff are proud to be more visible and more transparent in real time. “What we learned early on in the pandemic is that we wanted to make sure that all of​ our family members are reassured on a daily and a weekly basis that they knew what was happening in our buildings,” he says. “Whether we have one positive case or one person with symptoms, we wanted to be able to share that.”</p><h2>​​Future Plans&#160;<br></h2><p>A recent update includes a visitor check-in reservation process. While it has not received the same kind of adoption as the screening process, Schema sees potential. “I really envision that as we continue to move forward, we will see more people schedule times to come visit,” he says. “We can’t have 50 family members in our buildings like we once could. We need to know who’s coming to our building at all times because of the nature of this virus.”</p><p>Capacity tracking, which would be unique site to site, is something that the team will continue to monitor as a future enhancement.</p><p>The best advice from Schema to fellow providers is to leverage technology and not be afraid to dive in. “Whether you are a stand-alone operation or a member of a multifacility chain, we need to continue to leverage technology in new and creative ways if we are going to truly be able to meet the demand that’s out there,” he says.</p><p>“There’s no question that we are working through some unprecedented shortfalls with staff. So saving even a couple of minutes—whether it’s screening in or scheduling visitation—those all add up. I would encourage all providers to jump in feet first on this one.”&#160;<br></p><p>​</p>2021-11-01T04:00:00Z<img alt="" src="/Topics/Special-Features/PublishingImages/2021/1121/CF1.jpg" style="BORDER&#58;0px solid;" />Management;QualityAmy MendozaGood Samaritan keeps everyone in the loop with weekly updates to each of its 300 skilled nursing and senior living centers.