Conversations with Ginny
"There is immense power when a group of people with similar interests gets together to work toward the same goals." ― Idowu Koyenikan
There are so many important issues for LeadingAge members to be working on together right now!
As you may know, Georgia provided income tax cuts last year that resulted in significant budget cuts in state agency budgets. With more income tax cuts and more budget cuts planned, we expect the legislature to have a very conservative approach to new budget requests. Yet, we are persevering with our budget request to provide funding for pilot projects for behavioral health coaches in HUD communities. We partnered with the Coalition of Advocates for Georgia's Elderly on the ask and we just learned that Senator Jack Hill, Chair of Appropriations for the Senate listed funding for the behavioral health coaches as one of the five most important areas deserving of funding in a newsletter he published titled "If the State Had Money, Where Should It Go?" The Georgia legislative session starts today and we will be reaching out for your support on this issue as we move forward. Click here to see Senator Hill's newsletter.
CMS has proposed a new rule aimed at ensuring that states bear their fair share of the Medicaid burden for nursing homes and the federal government ends paying a share that they feel is unfair. The proposed rule – Medicaid Fiscal Accountability Regulation could cause nursing homes within life plan communities to lose their waivers of the Medicaid bed tax resulting in a $17.10 per day bed tax for nursing home beds that are private pay. LeadingAge Georgia has great respect for the Medicaid program and the individuals who depend on Medicaid funding for their nursing home care and we are committed to preserving funding for nursing homes. However, an erroneous tax on life plan community residents with no benefit from the tax is not a fair way to fortify Medicaid funding. Therefore, we have efforts underway working together with LeadingAge national to ensure that life plan communities remain exempt from the tax which brings no benefit to residents of life plan communities. We have sent out an alert asking for all life plan communities to engage in this effort. See Life Plan Alert article for more details. Also, LeadingAge national is hosting a Call-In on January 16th at 3 pm regarding the proposed rule. Click here to register.
The Georgia Department of Community Health proposed new regulations for personal care homes and assisted living communities. The changes are aimed at a few things, consumer access to surveys, implementation of the fingerprint background checks and details regarding the administration of liquid morphine by med techs in assisted living communities. We submitted comments. Click here to read our comments.
For more information see the article later in the newsletter titled "Weigh in on Proposed Personal Care Home and Assisted Living Regulations". A hearing is on January 14th so you'll need to weigh in quickly if interested. We will also be weighing in as the session progresses and assisted living bills are introduced in response to the issues raised by recent AJC articles. In case you missed it, the AJC published an editorial on the front of today's paper calling on legislators to help improve the quality of care in assisted living homes. We reached out to the AJC today and asked them to provide coverage of assisted living homes and direct care workers who provide great care so as to provide a balanced approach and awareness that great care in assisted living exists. Click here to read the AJC editorial.
We had some great traction on funding for HUD housing thanks to the efforts nationwide led by LeadingAge national. Please read the policy report prepared by Barbara Gay to learn of the details for the funding and then please contact me and let me know of initiatives we should advocate for to fortify HUD funding in 2020.
There will not be a housing rally in DC this year because it is held every other year but we will work to have effective meetings with legislators when we go to DC in April so please, if your budget allows, plan to join us. The Leadership Conference will be April 20-22 and the Hill visits will be on April 22nd.
When Alliant Health Solutions, Inc., the QIO for our state held a kick-off meeting several years ago to reduce the use of antipsychotic medications in nursing homes, nurses at the meeting identified resisting care at bath time as the number one reason residents were put on antipsychotics. Our members at AG Rhodes have worked to improve bath time – creating a holistic way to reduce antipsychotics and we'll feature their great work at our annual conference in Greenville. Make sure the conference is on your calendar! It will be held March 23-25.
We have two very important opportunities that I hope you will take advantage of including the board governance training that Larry Minnix will be leading for us. The training kicks off on January 27th. Click here for details.
Our Walter O. Coffey Leadership Academy is a phenomenal opportunity for helping individuals with potential grow professionally. Registration is open through January 31st so please register now! Click here for the application.
I would like to thank Terry Barcroft our public policy chair and Tom Bauer for their great work on behalf of LeadingAge Georgia members. They have been working hard because of all of the initiatives in the works and their insights are stellar. You might shoot them an email and extend your thanks as well.
LeadingAge Georgia dues invoices have been mailed out and we ask that you submit your dues by the end of the month.
Finally, thank you to all of our members for your wonderful work and your commitment to LeadingAge Georgia!
LeadingAge National Policy Update
The latest LeadingAge Policy Update is a must read! It is chock full of great information on topics that pertain to all of our members. It tells of all of the great work LeadingAge is doing on the national level and outcomes with the legislature, CMS and HUD. Included is information on the $793 million for HUD's Section 202 Housing in the spending bill signed by the President. Also included is information on legislation in the pipeline for improving Hospice care and efforts underway with CMS around nursing home regulations, Medicare observation legislation and other important topics.
Click HERE to read the update.
2020 Leadership Academy Registration Now Open
The LeadingAge Georgia Walter O. Coffey Leadership Academy 2020 offers LeadingAge Georgia members a challenging and engaging year-long learning experience. It is designed to engage and support aging services professionals at any level in their organization. The environment is created for an enriched experience of shared learning with colleagues, guest coaches and the facilitators.
The vision of LeadingAge Georgia is to create a generation of authentic, open-minded and transformational leaders who will collaboratively and innovatively create the future of aging services in America. Successful organizations want strong leaders thriving throughout their organizations. We especially encourage the identification and application of minority staff who are emerging leaders in organizations.
The 2020 class begins in February, and is limited to 30 participants.
Click HERE for application.
2020 Annual Conference
Let's all come "TOGETHER" for the LeadingAge GA/SC Annual Conference, March 23-March 25 in Greenville, SC. Join us as Jan McInnis kicks off our annual conference at 10:00 am on "Finding the Funny in Change." She will definitely have you laughing and prepared for dealing with change in your organization. Whether you are looking for information regarding palliative care, using robots for cognitive support or facing construction in your occupied community, there is an educational session for everyone. On Wednesday, Larry Minnix will close our conference with a session titled, "What's your REAL job?" We look forward to seeing you in Greenville March 23-25. Be sure to register early and save.
Click HERE for the Attendee Registration Brochure
Click HERE for the Sponsor/Exhibitor Prosepectus
Hyatt Regency Greenville
220 North Main Street
Greenville, SC 29601
1-888-421-1442 OR 864-235-1234
Group Name & Rates: LeadingAge GA/SC Conference
$165 (Single/Double) and $175 (Triple/Quad)
Rates only available until the room block is full or February 17, 2020 (whichever comes 1st). Important: Association staff will not be able to assist with hotel reservations after this date.
Click HERE to book your group rate for LeadingAge SC & GA
Assisted Living in the News By Ginny Helms
If you have read the series regarding assisted living care in the AJC, you've read about the shortcomings of care in assisted living communities across the state. The articles have focused on inadequate staffing, inadequate survey information available to consumers, less requirements for administrators than in other states and other issues that impact the quality of care.
As the articles have been published, I have reached out to a number of our members and asked what they're doing on issues like staffing and nurse oversight. I am very pleased with the commitment to quality care that I am hearing in their answers!
The LeadingAge Georgia position on the issues raised by the AJC is that we want to be part of the solution for improving care in assisted living in Georgia. We're reaching out to our members for input, working with our national office for guidance and we're weighing in with the legislature on areas for improvement.
A big thank you to King's Bridge Retirement Community for hosting Representative Sharon Cooper, Chair of the Health and Human Services Committee. It's important that we engage with legislators and share your commitment to quality care! Thank you also to Presbyterian Village for being interviewed by the AJC. We hope they will soon feature PV as an example of quality care associated with appropriate staffing level. We have specifically asked the AJC to feature assisted living communities and direct care workers who are providing great care.
If you have insights you want to share please send them to me at ghelms@LeadingAgeGa.org. If you want to read our Op-Ed in the AJC click here.
Georgia House Study Committee on Innovative Financial Options for Senior Housing Representative John LaHood chaired a House Study Committee aimed at identifying options for making affordable living options and resources available to Georgia's older adults with limited incomes.
LeadingAge Georgia testified at the hearings and provided written testimony. Our public policy chair Terry Barcroft testified at a hearing as well.
We suggested the state statute be amended to allow the expenditure of Medicaid funds in assisted living communities for home and community based services; remove the 25 bed cap on Medicaid funded personal care homes; review and refine the levels of care in assisted living and ensure that these changes do not impact Medicaid funding for nursing homes.
Click here to read our recommendations. Click here to read the final report including recommendations provided by the study committee.
LeadingAge National Is Hosting a Member Call-In Regarding the Proposed CMS Bed Tax Rule
LeadingAge National is hosting a Member Call-In on January 16 at 3 pm. Click HERE to register.
There is also a short page on the LeadingAge national website with more information. Click HERE.
MFAR web page: Please visit www.leadingage.org/MFAR a new LeadingAge national web page that has all resources for the proposed MFAR. The web page will be routinely updated as more resources become available.
Georgia DCH Launches GaMap2Care Site Melanie Simon from DCH contacted us to let us know they launched the GaMap2Care site. Take a look at the site so you will know what consumers will be viewing about your community. Click HERE to see the site.
Here are the instructions Melanie provided:
• select Facility Finder (top right in blue)
• select Find a Licensed Facility
• select the facility type on the left side
• it will take a minute to generate the list
• it will give you options for excel/copy/pdf/print
Melanie indicated the site contains all of the DCH inspection reports for the past 3 years and it works best in Google Chrome.
Ziegler's Report on Life Plan Community Monthly Fee Increases In case you missed it, here is a report that Ziegler published in the 4th quarter of 2019 regarding the trends in monthly fee increases.
Click here to read the report.
Webinar: Ask the Advisors: PDPM Post-Implementation
Presented by BKD CPAs & Advisors
After the Patient-Driven Payment Model (PDPM) implementation on October 1, long-term care and senior living providers are in a state of change. Join BKD trusted advisors as they address your PDPM post-implementation questions.
Click HERE to register.
Whom Would You Like to Visit from LeadingAge National?
LeadingAge national offers us two visits from LeadingAge staff at no cost to us each year. We would like to know whom you would like to visit. Katie Sloan will be visiting us for our conference. Who else would you like to visit? Please send an email to Ginny Helms at ghelms@LeadingAgega.org to indicate your preference.