Issue: October 12, 2015

Published on October 12, 2015

Articles in this issue:

TAKE ACTION NOW....Submit Comments on the Requirements of Participation Proposed Rule to CMS by Wednesday, October 14!!


If you haven't already, please submit comments on the Requirements of Participation Proposed Rule to CMS by COB Wednesday, October 14th!!

Act Now

On July 16, 2015, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) published the proposed rule titled Medicare and Medicaid Programs: Reform of Requirements for Long-Term Care Facilities: Proposed Rule in the Federal Register.

CMS extended the comment period for the Requirements of Participation proposed rule to October 14th. The more than 5,000 comments that have been submitted so far are helping CMS realize this is a very important issue that has a significant effect on our profession. You are having an impact! We must ensure that CMS continues to hear us - we can't stop now.

It is CRITICAL that member nursing centers continue to submit additional comments this week and drive home the message that this proposed rule will put access to care at risk and take scarce dollars away from caregiving.

PHCA/CALM will also be commenting on our members' behalf, but your comments are essential to help us maximize the impact on CMS.

How to Submit Comments

PHCA developed a sample letter that outlines the most concerning issues. Members can use this sample letter as a basis for their comment letter.

Submitting a letter is easy, and your comments do not need to be very long. A meaningful paragraph about how the proposed rule will affect the nursing center and the residents served will have a significant impact. Comments can be submitted electronically or by regular mail.

To submit electronically go to the CMS website.

If you would prefer to submit your comment via regular mail, send it to:

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
Department of Health and Human Services
Attention: CMS-3260-P
P.O. Box 8010
Baltimore, MD 21244

AHCA's webpage is a good resource for members. The page contains suggested comment topics, sample comments, instructions for filing a comment and a link to the filing site. To access the AHCA webpage CLICK HERE.

A few guidelines to keep in mind as you prepare your comment letter:

If you have any questions or need assistance please contact Gail Weidman, Director of Policy & Regulatory Affairs at or Dawn Murr-Davidson, Director of Quality Initiatives at


To better inform members of the provisions contained in the proposed rule PHCA hosted a webinar earlier this month titled "CMS Proposed SNF Regulations to Cost $726 Million in Year One, $47,000 Per Facility: What You Can Do Now!". The webinar was presented by Paula G. Sanders, Esq. with Post & Schell, PC. The webinar has been recorded and can be found on PHCA's website. The power point presentation for the webinar can also be found on the PHCA website.

Thank you for your support! Together, we can make a difference for quality care.

PHCA Launches Quality Marketing Campaign


Digital Campaign

Over the past year, Pennsylvania nursing homes have been under attack. From out-of-state predatory law firms running advertisements in newspapers across Pennsylvania targeting skilled nursing facilities to the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General announcing legal action against 14 Golden Living nursing facilities to the Secretary of Health Karen Murphy’s announcement of the formation of a nursing home task force in response to the allegations there has been a steady drumbeat of negative messaging focused on Pennsylvania's skilled nursing facilities.

To help address all the attacks, PHCA launched in July 2015 a social media campaign on Facebook and Twitter. This campaign highlighted positive stories featuring PHCA members, including Pennsylvania’s 19 AHCA 2015 Bronze Award winners and the two AHCA 2015 Silver Quality Award winners and 11op-eds from Stuart H. Shapiro, M.D., PHCA CEO that were published in major newspapers across Pennsylvania, including the Philadelphia Inquirer, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and Harrisburg Patriot News.

On October 1, PHCA launched a month-long paid informational and social media campaign to help the public further understand the quality of care delivered in skilled nursing facilities, assisted living residences and personal care homes.

As part of that campaign PHCA developed a website – – and produced a video to highlight quality care in Pennsylvania. This campaign also features online digital advertising targeting the Baby Boomer demographic who is thinking about care and the future long-term care needs for themselves and their loved ones and promoting and consumer information on how to choose a quality nursing home, personal care home, assisted living residence, etc.

If members have any questions or stories they would like PHCA to highlight as part of this campaign please contact Eric Kiehl, Director of Communications at or 717-221-7935.

Webinar: Discharge to Community Quality Measure


PHCA is offering a free webinar, "Discharge to Community Quality Measure",  on Tuesday, October 20 from 10:00 to 11:00 am.

Man with nurse


Program Summary: The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC), the IMPACT Act and changes to the Five-Star Quality Rating System all call for measuring discharges back to the community. DHS has issued a concept paper on Community HealthChoices — a plan to phase in Medicaid managed long term services and supports — with a key objective to increasing home and community based services.

The discharge to community measure tracks the proportion of patients admitted from a hospital to a skilled nursing center who are discharged back to the community within a defined period of time. Skilled nursing centers and post-acute care facilities are responsible to assist residents in improving functional status and preparing residents to re-enter the community which includes ensuring residents and their families are able to manage care needs after discharge to prevent rehospitalizations.

This webinar will define the importance of incorporating the discharge to community quality measure into performance scorecards/dashboards and its relationship to other performance metrics such as length of stay and rehospitalization. The webinar will discuss the value of including discharge to community measure data during conversations with referral sources and payers and how the measure will tie into the implementation of managed long-term care support services in Pennsylvania.

The webinar will be presented by Dawn Murrr-Davidson, Director of Quality Initiatives, PHCA and Rachel Delavan, Director of Research, PHCA.

To register, CLICK HERE.



The 2015-16 Hospital and Healthcare Compensation Services (HCS) Assisted Living and Personal Care Salary & Benefits Survey is open for participation on the HCS website. Scroll to the bottom of

the page to access either the “single site” or “multiple site” survey.  

Thank you to those of you whose organizations have already committed to participating in this valuable staff recruitment and retention resource.  

PHCA/CALM is offering a free webinar, "Assisted Living and Personal Care Salary & Benefits Survey",  on Thursday, October 15 from 10:00 am to 11:00 am. The webinar will be presented by Rosanne Zabka, Director of Reports, with HCS.

Objectives of the webinar are to:


PHCA/CALM will continue to promote the survey and encourage participation over the next two months via electronic communications and at the PHCA/CALM Annual Convention.



  1. The HCS report is for BOTH assisted living and personal care providers.  
  2. Questionnaires available on the HCS website and mailed to providers on October 1.
  3. Webinar will take place on Thursday, October 15 jointly presented by PHCA and HCS on how to complete the questionnaire and the benefits of the report.
  4. Deadline to complete questionnaires is Monday, November 16.
  5. Report will be published in January 2016.
  6. Cost to purchase the report is $170 if you participate and $150 if you participate and purchase prior to November 16.
  7. If you don’t participate the cost is $250, which is a $75 discount for NCAL members from the regular price of $325.

If you have any questions about the survey, process or the final report please contact Brandon Smeltzer at or 717-221-7939.

Have Fun While Earning Valuable CEUs at the 2015 PHCA/CALM Annual Convention


2015 Annual Convention

Earn Valuable CEUs—and have a fun filled experience you won't soon forget!

Looking for an opportunity to earn your CEUs in 2015? Want to network with over 1,000 attendees in the long term care, post-acute, assisted living and personal care industry? And, do you want it all for the best price of any Association event in Pennsylvania?

If your answer to any of those questions is YES, then don't wait another minute, REGISTER NOW to join us on November 10-12, 2015 for the 2015 PHCA/CALM Annual Convention at the Radisson, Valley Forge Casino Resort.

This year's convention has it all and it's fun too! That's why I want to personally invite you to attend.

Sessions will focus on key topics and enable you to earn the CEUs (up to 16) you'll need to acquire for 2015. Attend the convention to learn valuable information from top notch educators about:

As always, our top priority at convention is providing excellent educational sessions to enhance care, but we know caregivers need down time and fun too!

This year's convention location offers:

Thanks to the overwhelming generosity of our sponsors and exhibitors, we can again offer registration for the entire conference including meals and up to 16 CEUs for only $100 for PHCA and CALM member and $269 for non-members. A one-day rate of $145 is also available for non-members.

CLICK HERE to view the convention brochure.

CLICK HERE to register online.

CLICK HERE to access the registration form that you can snail mail, email or fax to us.


With a record number of attendees scheduled to attend the 2015 PHCA/CALM Annual Convention November 10-12, the Valley Forge Casino (VFC) Resort has sold out of rooms!

However, we still have rooms available at two nearby hotels:

The Hyatt Place, about a quarter mile from the VFC Resort, at 440 American Avenue, King of Prussia, at the rate of $129/night plus applicable taxes. Reservations can be made by calling 484-690-3000, mentioning: PHCA/Corporate Group. Parking is free. Make reservations no later than Saturday, October 31.

Holiday Inn Express, under two miles from the VFC Resort, at 260 N. Gulph Road, King of Prussia, at the rate of $124/night plus applicable taxes. Reservations can be made using the booking link or by calling directly at 855-729-6014 and ask for the PHCA/CALM Convention block. Parking is free. Make reservations no later than Saturday, October 31.

Don't wait any longer to register! Join us and help make the 2015 convention the best yet!

Deadline Extended - Share Your Quality Story


It is not too late to tell us your quality story. We have extended the deadline to Friday, October 16.

Over the past few months, the quality of care in our nursing and rehabilitation centers has come under fire, despite members making great strides to improve the quality of care for our residents.  

That is why your participation in the Sharing Your Quality Story contest is so important, so we have an opportunity to tell a positive story about the high quality care being delivered in Pennsylvania’s nursing and rehabilitation centers.

The PHCA Quality Management Committee would like to invite you, our members, to share quality stories at the PHCA Annual Convention on November 10-12, 2015 at the Valley Forge Casino Resort in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania. 

Sharing Your Quality Story categories include:

Members must complete all sections of the contest application form no later than Friday, October 16, 2015. Please follow instructions for submission as outlined on the application. Completed applications should be submitted to dmurrdavidson@phca.orgNo hand-written applications will be accepted. 

The top four story boards will receive the Best Leadership in Quality Improvement awards and win a $250 VISA gift card to share with their team for a job well-done! Winners will have between 5-7 minutes to present their quality story during the designated session at the PHCA Convention on November 11. 

Your participation in this competition provides an opportunity to demonstrate your commitment to quality improvement. All participants that fully complete and submit the application will be recognized in the PHCA Reporter and on the PHCA website. 

We look forward to learning about the exciting quality stories that are happening at your facility. Please contact Dawn-Murr Davidson at 717-221-7940 or if you have any questions or need additional information.

AHCA/NCAL National Quality Award Program Kicks Off


2016 Quality Awards Program

The American Health Care Association (AHCA) and the National Center for Assisted Living (NCAL) has broadened its Quality Initiative to further improve the quality of care in America’s skilled nursing care centers, assisted living residences and personal care homes. The AHCA/NCAL National Quality Award Program provides a pathway for providers of long term and post-acute care services to journey towards performance excellence.

Skilled nursing care centers, assisted living residences and personal care homes are encouraged to submit an Intent to Apply for the 2016 National Quality Award Program. While this step is not mandatory there are associated benefits:

The deadline for submitting the Intent to Apply is November 19 for Bronze, Silver and Gold Applicants. The fee schedule is:

Bronze Application Fees

Silver Application Fees

Gold Application Fees

The Intent to Apply can be submitted via the AHCA website.

The AHCA/NCAL National Quality Awards Program recognizes member of skilled nursing care centers and assisted living residences and personal care homes for quality care and performance excellence. The program sets high standards based on the Baldrige Performance Excellence criteria. The program has three distinct levels; members must receive an award at each level to progress to the next level.

The demands of the National Quality Award criteria prepare providers for CMS' impending Quality Assurance/Performance Improvement (QAPI) program. Both QAPI and the Baldrige Performance Excellence criteria utilize a systematic approach to organizational performance and focus on leadership, responding to staff and customers and demonstrating results. More information is available on the AHCA/NCAL website or contact Dawn Murr-Davidson, Director of Quality at with questions.

Hold the Date: AHCA/NCAL Bronze National Quality Award Application Workshop on December 8, 2015


On December 8, 2015, PHCA/CALM will host an AHCA/NCAL Bronze National Quality Award Application Workshop at the PHCA/CALM office in Harrisburg. This one day session will assist members to:

At the completion of this Workshop members will have the framework completed for the Bronze National Quality Award. All that will be needed is to format, review and submit the application. Space is limited for this workshop. Contact Dawn Murr-Davidson, Director of Quality Initiatives for more information at

Revalidation Reminder


reminder red 3d realistic paper speech bubble

Affordable Care Act (ACA) Provider Revalidation of All Provider Types Including All Associated Service Locations

Important Reminder: In accordance with the federally mandated changes resulting from the Affordable Care Act, the Department of Human Services (DHS) must revalidate all providers at least every five years; therefore, all providers (including all associated service locations - 13 digits) who enrolled on or before March 25, 2011 must revalidate their enrollment information no later than March 24, 2016. 

This may be accomplished by completing a new enrollment application including all revalidation requirements which may be found on the DHS website.

Members are encouraged to send in your application(s) as soon as possible to ensure they are processed timely with no interruption in your participation with DHS or our partnered managed care plans.

Providers who enrolled after March 25, 2011, will need to revalidate their enrollment information every five (5) years based on their initial date of enrollment and should check their revalidation date by logging into the provider portal for each service location.

Senator Casey Continues to Ask GAO for Five-Star Assessment


Senator Casey

Senator Casey

Sen. Robert Casey (D-PA) continues to call on the government to investigate Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' (CMS) Five-Star Quality Rating System.

In a letter on August 6, Senator Casey asked for the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to conduct an assessment. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) joined Casey's push for closer scrutiny. The Five-Star system is part of the CMS' Nursing Home Compare web tool.

“While we acknowledge recent CMS steps to update the Five-Star ratings and improve nursing home quality on a broader scale, media reports continue to raise questions about the system's integrity,” Casey wrote in a letter to the GAO.

Casey asked for the agency to examine the steps CMS takes to ensure the data used in Five-Star is reliable and timely, whether  there are meaningful differences between star levels and how the number and types of complaints a nursing home receives align with the rating system. He also asked for insights into how people use the Nursing Home Compare tool.

“We owe our families the peace of mind in knowing that the rating system they’re using to make a critical decision about the future of their loved ones is accurate,” Senator Casey said. “The Five Star rating system has the potential to make a substantial difference in the lives of vulnerable seniors but the Administration has to make sure the rating system is working. A GAO review will put the Five Star Rating program on a stronger footing.”

The Five-Star system was rebased earlier this year.

Residents' Rights: How to Become an Advocate for Your Loved One


October is Residents’ Rights Month. Keeping residents and their loved ones informed about their rights can help you build powerful partnerships as you work together to provide quality care. AHCA, through their Caring Conversations website,spoke with Ruta Kadonoff, Vice President of Quality and Regulatory Affairs at the American Health Care Association (AHCA), to discover how family members can best advocate for their loved ones in a skilled nursing care center.

Sponsor Spotlight: Guardian Elder Care


Guardian Elder Care

Welcome to the "Sponsor Spotlight," a profile of a valued PHCA/CALM sponsor that you'll find in each issue of the Reporter.

Our featured sponsor for this issue is Guardian Elder Care, a family of skilled nursing facilities providing the highest quality of care and service to senior citizens across Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio.

A privately owned Healthcare Organization, Guardian is committed to achieving and sustaining the best quality of life for others through caring relationships and superior healthcare services. Since beginning in 1995, Guardian has grown to 32 Healthcare Communities in three states with more than 2,666 skilled nursing, personal care and independent living units. On top of their long-term living facilities, Guardian has established pharmacy, rehabilitation and home health care services to provide support and services to their communities and neighbors in the surrounding areas.

"PHCA/CALM is proud to have Guardian Elder Care as one of our valued platinum plus sponsors," said Stuart H. Shapiro, M.D., CEO of PHCA. "At Guardian facilities, residents know they are getting the highest quality services available from nurse and care staff who always put their best interests above all else."

To learn more about Guardian Elder Care visit

For more information about the services offered by Guardian Elder Care, please contact, Colleen Engler at