Conversations with Ginny
"It always seems impossible until it's done." Nelson Mandela
There's been a lot of buzz about the fingerprint background check program that is being rolled out by the Georgia Department of Community Health (DCH)and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation on October 1st. Here's a synopsis of what you need to know: Fingerprint background checks will be required for owners, applicants for employment and direct access employees in adult day centers, assisted living communities, home health agencies, hospices, intermediate care facilities, nursing homes, personal care homes and private home care providers. There will be two phases to the roll-out. Starting October 1st, NEW owners, directors, on-site managers, administrators and direct care workers must submit a records check application. Nurses licensed by the Georgia Board of Nursing are exempt but you must ensure their license is current. Phase two which requires fingerprint background checks of existing owners, staff, etc. will start on January 1, 2021. We will be partnering with DCH to provide training for you as soon as they get their rules approved by the DCH board which is slated for early July. In the mean-time take a look at the article Details of the Georgia Long-term Care Background Check Program in the newsletter.
We commonly hear that one of the biggest challenges in our HUD communities is unmet behavioral health needs of residents. This past year we learned that the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) piloted a behavioral health coach initiative with great success for the Atlanta Housing Authority. So we reached out to ARC and asked if they could bring their programs to our HUD communities and we piloted the initiative in two communities, one in Cobb County and one in Gwinnett County. With this initiative, the community identifies the residents in need of behavioral health assistance, a coach meets with the resident, builds a relationship and then helps the resident obtain the care and resources that are needed. The ARC found in their pilot project that the coaching program decreased evictions by 99%. The two HUD communities who tried the program reported great success so we worked with the ARC and submitted a request to be considered by the Coalition of Advocates for Georgia's Elderly (COAGE) to advocate for funding to expand the pilot project in several regions of the state. We could use your help to advocate for the funding so please see the article Enabling Older Adults to Maintain Their Affordable Housing and Independence.
National is launching a member survey this week to help capture the true picture of who our members are, what services you are providing and other information. Please make sure that your organization participates in the survey. We will be using this information for important policy work.
Please make sure to see the Mark Your Calendar section of the newsletter. It includes the dates for some great programs coming up including the Dementia Action Alliance Conference and a one-day intensive with a LeadingAge favorite, Al Power, MD in June. In July, a third annual Workforce Summit will be held and there are two Eden workshops coming up in August and September. Also, there will be a special symposium on September 5th addressing the concern of persons with dementia living alone.
We are in the "homework phase" of preparing for development of our strategic plan for 2020-2023 and our 2020 legislative platform. If you have ideas you want to share regarding our direction please send an email to me at ghelms@LeadingAgeGa.org or call me at 404-694-4200. Alternatively, I would love to visit your community/organization and learn how we can better serve you so please reach out to me.
Finally, we're rolling out new logos for the Georgia Institute on Aging and Center for Positive Aging to better align with national and other state affiliates. Let us know if you like them and let us know any ideas you have for updating our website – that's in the works too.
Thank you for all you do to bring joy to older adults.
Proposed HUD Rule Could Force Older Adults out of Affordable Housing
by Linda Couch
On May 10, 2019, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) issued a proposed rule that would end the practice of having "mixed status" families in federally assisted housing. Mixed-status families are households that include both members who are eligible and ineligible for housing assistance based on their immigration status. Both statute and regulation allow families to live together in subsidized housing even if one family member is ineligible so long as the housing subsidy is decreased to exclude the ineligible person from the assistance.
The proposed rule would also require noncitizens who are 62 years old and older, who currently are only required to provide a signed declaration of eligible immigration status and a proof of age document, to submit immigration documentation. HUD's impact analysis of the proposed rule estimates that 108,000 people would be affected, at least 70% of whom are eligible for HUD assistance.
National Member Survey Coming Your Way in June
LeadingAge will be launching a biennial survey of members across the nation on June 6. The surveys will come in the mail so please be on the lookout for the survey and make sure your organization responds. This survey is important because as Katie Sloan, our president says "LeadingAge wants to understand our members so we can serve them better." Additionally, important baseline information will help provide data that can be used for a myriad of uses including driving policy issues.
For more information about the survey click HERE.
Call for Presentations
You are invited to submit an application to present at the 2019-2020 LeadingAge Georgia & South Carolina Conference. This year we want to put an emphasis on members learning from members. Please submit in order to share your great innovations.
Our Annual Conference, with over 200 attendees, is recognized as a premier source for education for aging services providers in the southeast to include professional development and leadership programs, a forum for policy discussions and advocacy, and a prime source of information on new research findings on aging.
NOTE: The Deadline for submissions to be considered for the 2020 Annual Conference is August 1, 2019.
Click here for brochure. Click here to submit a proposal.
Dementia Action Alliance 2019 Reimagining Dementia Care Conference
Join us for the Dementia Action Alliance conference coming up on June 20-22 at the Westin in Buckhead. There will be an interactive full-day pre-conference intensive with Allen Power, MD., author of Dementia Beyond Drugs. Click here for information on the intensive.
Conference speakers include Pia Kontos, PhD who is senior scientist with Toronto Rehabilitation Institute and Kate Swaffer, MS presenting via Zoom. Kate is an activist, speaker & author who is living with dementia and is the chair of the Dementia Alliance International. There will be an arts festival -- a true celebration of the creative talents individuals continue to have while living with dementia. There will also be a living well tech expo.
13.5 hours of CEU's will be provided for LTC administrators, nurses, social workers, and certified members of the National Council of Certified Dementia Practitioners. $1000 scholarships are available to staff in nursing homes including in Life Plan Communities. Click here to learn more about the scholarships.
Click here to learn more about the conference and to register.
Details of the Georgia Long-term Care Background Check Program
The Georgia Department of Community Health is in the final stages of developing the regulations for the implementation of the new Georgia Long-term Care Background check program. The rules will be presented to the Board of Community Health for initial adoption on June 13th, and then there will be a public comment hearing on July 9th. The deadline to submit written comments will be on July 12th and the rules will be presented to the Department of Community Health board for final adoption on August 8th. We will make the rules available to you as they are made available. We will be submitting comments to encourage DCH to keep the cost as reasonable as possible and to make fingerprint background check locations as convenient as possible for our members.
DCH and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation provided training for representatives of LeadingAge Georgia and three other associations as a kick off for the implementation of the new background check program. At the end of the training session, we asked Elaine Wright, director of state licensure programs for DCH to provide training for LeadingAge members in either a webinar or in person format. Elaine agreed to provide in-person training the last week of July or the first week in August. We are working on planning the training now and will send out an announcement when details are available.
Here is information for you if you care to know about the program now:
The Georgia Long-term Care Background Check Program requires fingerprint background checks of owners, applicants for employment and direct access employees at: adult day centers, assisted living communities, home health agencies, hospices, intermediate care facilities, nursing homes and private home care providers.
The program will be rolled out in two phases.
Effective October 1, 2019 NEW owners, directors, on-site managers, administrators and direct access employees must submit a records check application. "Direct access" means having or expecting to have routine personal contact with a resident including housekeepers, maintenance personnel, dieticians and any volunteer with direct access. Note: healthcare providers licensed by the Georgia Composite Medical Board including the Georgia Board of Nursing are exempt but you must ensure their license is current.
Effective January 1, 2021 EXISTING owners, directors, onsite managers, administrators and direct access employees must submit a records check. Same exemption for nurses board certified by the Georgia Board of Nursing.
Note: Volunteers who meet with residents as a group do not need fingerprint background checks but any volunteers who spend time one-on-one will need to have fingerprint background checks. No background checks are needed for volunteers under the age of 17.
Employees of companies coming into the building (for example pest control) do not have to have fingerprint background checks unless they have direct access to residents (for example they go into their rooms unescorted by staff).
There are 2 steps to the background check.
Your HR designee(s) will sign up and get a user name and password from DCH/Office of the Inspector General (OIG) to use GCHEXS, which is an initial screen to ensure that applicants are not listed on either the Certified Nurse Aide, Sex Offender and Office of Inspector General (OIG) Exclusion list. The GXHEXS system will be activated on October 1, 2019. The system will generate a letter immediately to confirm if a person is cleared or not cleared on the registries.
Your HR designee(s) will sign up on Gemalto for managing the fingerprint background check initiative for your organization. You may want more than one designee to ensure timeliness in case your main HR designee is out of the office. The background checks currently cost $49.25. The fee is typically paid by the organization, not the applicant and can be paid by credit card. You will be charged after the fingerprint background check has been completed. The Gemalto website is www.aps.gemalto.com. Nursing homes funded by Medicaid can be reimbursed for the expense.
The fingerprint background check will check both the FBI and GBI databases for the specific crimes included in Senate Bill 406 of the 2017-2018 session. The look back period is 10 years. The list of crimes that will prevent you from hiring a person will change on October 1st from the crimes that currently prevent a hire so you may want to review the new list. For example, you will be able to hire a person convicted of a misdemeanor for possession of a small amount of marijuana. See the list below of the new disqualifying crimes.
The fingerprint background check typically takes one day. Your HR designee will receive an email notifying you of the results of the background check. It will say only satisfactory or unsatisfactory. If the results are unsatisfactory, Gemalto will send a letter to the applicant explaining their findings. The applicant can appeal which is expected to take about 30 days. Appeals are heard by a judge and the hearing is expected to take about 10 minutes and then the judge has up to 30 days to give his/her decision.
There are civil money penalties for violations for facilities that knew or should have known it employed an individual with a criminal record - $500 for each day of noncompliance from the time the facility knew or should have known until the individual is terminated. The fine is up to $10,000.
Some good news is Gemalto is implementing a RAP BACK program which keeps background checks in the system so that if an applicant has already had the fingerprint background check completed by another employer it will serve as the background check and you will not have to pay for another check. This is contingent upon the person still being in the system. The RAP BACK program will be available January 1, 2020.
The background check system is evergreen in that your HR designee will receive an email if an employee is charged with a crime on the list in the statute subsequent to passing the fingerprint background check.
There are 160 fingerprint sites across Georgia. The "Georgia Applicant Processing Services" sites and hours can be found on the Gemalto website.
You will want to figure out the best way to get people to the background check sites without losing people due to the inconvenience of driving to a fingerprint site. You may want to purchase the system which will cost $5,000 and will have a $600 per year maintenance fee. If you want to purchase the system, contact Mickey Brown at 626-325-9732 or Michaelemail@example.com.
There are areas of the state where Gemalto is looking to have host sites because there are not adequate hosts currently available. The host would receive the equipment at no cost and then allow the public to be fingerprinted at the site and be paid $3 per background check. The cities where hosts are needed include Carrolton, Butler, Cuthbert, McRae, Baxley, Jessup, Washington, Sylvania, Fargo, St. George, Homerville and Millen. If you are in one of these cities and are interested in hosting a fingerprint background site, contact Scott Snyder at 443-327-1977 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Nursing homes funded by Medicaid will be able to be reimbursed for the cost of the fingerprint background checks but all other providers will be paying privately. We are working to ensure that waiver programs can use the same system and not have to have two separate systems of background checks. If you have comments you want to share with us to present to the Board of Community Health please provide them to Ginny Helms at ghelms@LeadingAgeGa.org.
A list of the disqualifying crimes and the code section of the Official Code of Georgia is as follows:
Murder and crimes against the person category:
- Felony attempted murder, 16-4-1
- All felony violations of any offense in Chapter 5 of Title 16
- Misdemeanor violations of cruelty to children, 16-5-70
- Misdemeanor violations of neglect to a disabled adult, elder person or resident, 16-5-101
- Misdemeanor violations of exploitation and intimidation of a disabled adult, elder person or resident, 16-5-102
Sexual offenses category:
- All felony violations of any offense in Chapter 6 of Title 16
- Misdemeanor violations of child molestation, 16-6-4
- Misdemeanor of violations of enticing a child, 16-6-5
- Misdemeanor violations of supervisory sexual assault, 16-6-5.1
Damage to property category:
- Felony violations of smash and grab burglary, 16-7-2
Theft and related crimes category:
- All felon violations of any offense in Chapter 8 of Title 16
Forgery and related crimes category:
- All felony violations of any offense in Chapter 9 of Title 16
Controlled substances category:
- All felony violations of any offense in Chapter 13 of Title 16
Failure to report abuse category:
- Misdemeanor and felony violations of 30-5-8
- Equivalent offenses from other states
Direct Care Workforce Solutions Forum July 22nd– 9:30 -11:30 AM
Ritz Reynolds, Lake Oconee
(prior to Georgia Gerontology Society Conference Opening Session)
There is a crisis facing the direct care workforce. These critical jobs are the frontline in caring for older Georgians. As more and more Americans age, the need for qualified caregivers continues to grow.
Join funders, legislators, providers, and job trainers for this solutions-oriented forum to position Georgia to become a leader by strengthening the direct care workforce pipeline.
You are invited to join the conversation as providers in home and community-based agencies, nursing home and personal care homes administration, staff, students, GGS members, and others interested in learning more about strategies to strengthen the pipeline of qualified workers in long-term care.
Speakers include leaders from state and local government, funders, and local companies.
- State Representative Jesse Petrea
- Caylee Noggle, Georgia Student Finance Commission
- Catherine Ivey, Georgia Department of Community Health
- Dr. Jennifer Craft Morgan, Gerontology Institute at Georgia State University
- John Helton, Atlanta CareerRise
- Pam Clayton, Georgia Health Care Association
- Mary Helton, A.G. Rhodes Health & Rehab
- Sue Burgess, Atlanta Regional Commission Area Agency on Aging
Hosted by Thanks Mom & Dad Fund, in partnership with Georgia Gerontology Society, AARP-Georgia, Alzheimer's Association-Georgia Chapter, Atlanta Regional Commission AAA, Georgia Council on Aging, Georgia Health Care Association, Gerontology Institute at Georgia State University, and LeadingAge Georgia
Click HERE to register.
Enabling Older Adults to Maintain Their Affordable Housing and Independence The Georgia Council on Aging convenes the Coalition of Advocates for Georgia's Elderly (COAGE) -- which works to improve the lives of older adults by advocating in the Georgia legislature for legislative and budget requests. Each year, advocates submit initiatives to be considered by the coalition and in July of every year, a meeting is held for individuals to learn about the issues. Then, COAGE members vote over the next couple of months and typically three legislative issues and two budget items are chosen. The coalition has a standing agreement that one of the two budget items is always funding for Home and Community Based Care so there is really only one new budget item chosen.
LeadingAge Georgia and the Atlanta Regional Commission joined together and submitted a budget issue -- $750,000 - $1.5 million to expand a pilot project and provide behavioral health coaches in HUD communities. If our issue is chosen, a workgroup will be assembled to work out the details of the budget request.
Here's the background on our budget request: Safe, affordable housing is critically important to the independence of older adults. For individuals with limited incomes, senior living communities, including those operated by non-profits and subsidized by HUD, provide a sense of community with other residents, transportation, activities, and wellness programs.
While most residents thrive in these communities, a few residents have behavioral health issues that make community living difficult for themselves or other residents. With affordable housing being so important to maintain the independence of these individuals, it's important to address the behavioral health needs of those residents who need help. Staff work diligently to resolve the issues and try to avoid evictions because they know that a resident evicted from a HUD community is not allowed to move into another HUD community, and other affordable, safe housing options are extremely limited. Without access to other options, some of these individuals move into higher levels of care unnecessarily (such as personal care homes or nursing homes) and some become homeless.
A successful model exists to meet the behavioral health needs of individuals in affordable community housing developments in metro Atlanta. However, there is no dedicated state or federal funding available for these services, so it is extremely limited in scope. The model: Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC)'s Area Agency on Aging partnered with a housing provider to pilot a project to provide behavioral health coaches for residents with behavioral health needs. With this project, the staff of the housing developments identified and referred residents with behavioral health needs. An ARC behavioral health coach met face-to-face with the residents, built relationships, and then assisted in getting the resident to clinicians for treatment. With the coach's support, residents made and kept clinical appointments and had other service needs (including transportation and nutrition) met.
Evidence of success: Under ARC's pilot, 99% of the residents were able to avoid eviction. Later, LeadingAge Georgia requested that ARC extend the project to other affordable senior living communities. ARC has provided a behavioral health coach to two more HUD-funded communities for older adults and the initiative has had similar great success in these additional settings.
With state funding, this service could expand to meet the behavioral health needs of older adults living in additional affordable housing sites in multiple locations. We recommend further pilots of this model in rural, suburban, and urban locations.
We ask that you consider advocating for this issue to be chosen by COAGE. If you are not a member of COAGE, you can join online at: https://www.gcoa.org/coage. If you are interested in working on the workgroup or have input on the issue please contact Ginny Helms at ghelms@LeadingAgeGa.org.
Hold the Date for Great Insights on Serving Persons with Dementia who Live Alone
Mike Splaine, one of the greatest minds in policy both nationally and internationally will be coming to Atlanta for a one day workshop on serving persons living with dementia. Mike has helped shape policy for years in this arena steering the U.S. and other countries on dementia-related policy initiatives. King's Bridge Retirement Community and LeadingAge Georgia will be hosting the event on September 5th. This workshop will be beneficial to anyone who is setting policies for how to help individuals thrive when living alone with dementia.
Mental Health First Aid Coming Up on July 9
When you think about it, just as adolescence can bring challenges, so can aging. Helping older adults thrive can sometimes include helping them address mental health. Staff in our member communities and organizations come into contact with older adults daily and are often the first to recognize when a resident isn't his or her normal self. By investing in training – Mental Health First Aid, LeadingAge members can be better prepared to assess the situation, listen non-judgmentally, give reassurance and information and encourage appropriate professional help as well as self-help and other support strategies. We are very fortunate that an organization as excellent as Alliant Health Solutions is partnering with us to provide Mental Health First Aid training on July 9th. Over a million Americans have taken this class and we invite you to fill the room with staff who want to increase their skills and be prepared to give mental health first aid.
Click here to register
Congratulations to Ned Morgens and his team for opening Skylark Adult Day Center of Buckhead/Midtown! Pictured along with Ned are Fran Weigard and Kathleen Mannelley.
Congratulations to A.G. Rhodes Health & Rehab, Brasfield & Gorrie, and Mauldin & Jenkins for making the AJC 2019 list of Top Workplaces in Atlanta!
Occupied Renovations delivers the total turnkey interior renovation solution
Did you know…there are many steps to consider when renovating a space and keeping your renovation project within budget?
Below is a list of items to consider when renovating your common areas:
- Site analysis and layout – how will you still move people through the space during construction?
- Setting expectations with residents and staff
- Defining who are the decision makers during the design process; how will decisions be made throughout the project?
- Budgeting – has a budget been set? Is it realistic? What is / is not included? What about furnishings, artwork, ancillary items?
- Will your project be phased? If so, have you thought about what to do when / if materials get dropped discontinued during your project? How will you handle the question why the 8th floor carpet is different than the 3rd floor?
- Design services:
- Select a design team that can and will specify the right products for your application AND budget
- Confirm the deliverables the design team will be responsible for; request hard copies AND digital files of all drawings; digital files should also be in a format where they can be manipulated in the future
- The design team should create documents outlining a complete scope of work so all bidders are pricing the same thing
- Set your design team up for success; if you know your budget, share it with them so they can design the project accordingly; otherwise, have the design team provide options for good, better, best
- Organized facilitation of the project should include items such as:
- Detailed scheduling
- On-site supervision
- Moisture testing to ensure compatibility with existing flooring conditions with new flooring specified
- Protection of existing finishes
- Accessibility – allowing for constant access to each room throughout the entire renovation
- Building code and regulation compliance
- Bonded and insured installation crews
- Manage comfort, safety, and well-being of the project from start to finish
- Managing ALL component tasks
- Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) for all materials ordered and used on the job
- Product warranties for all items specified
- Use of Zero VOC paint
- Managing dust control and being OSHA compliant
- Regulating smells and noise
- Dust management plan / air quality control (silica dust)
- Smooth transitions and prevention of trip hazards
- Minimizing downtime
- Schedules being coordinated with the entire community prior to commencement
- Phasing of renovation
- Planning and execution of no bare floors – aligning old floors with new
- On call contacts – after hours and on weekends
- Protecting and maintaining your investment after the renovation is complete
- Custom maintenance program for floor care
- Did you know you can void the warranty on your flooring if you do not maintain it per manufacturer's written instructions?
- Don't forget to order additional stock of materials for future use (carpet, wallcovering, paint, etc.)! Order and include those when the project kicks off.
That's an overwhelming "to do" list, huh? Don't worry . . . Occupied Renovations does it all!!
Occupied Renovations merges the typical services required for not just commercial renovations but for senior living communities as well. Occupied Renovations knows that senior living communities must join durability and safety requirements with an appropriate ambiance. Whether a project calls for creating a senior community, continuing care community, or assisted living community, Occupied Renovations will design a solution that will meet the unique requirements of any renovation.
Allow us the opportunity to check all the renovation items off your list and stay within your allocated budget!
Before and after photos of a recently renovated senior living community.
Click HERE to learn more about Occupied Renovations, our services and view some completed projects.
We Design. We Restore. We Paint. We Install. We Maintain. We are Occupied Renovations!
Submitted by Lauren Lockhart, Occupied Renovations