AL Industry News

NCAL Board Does Not Regret Seeking Federal Assistance, Despite Potential For Additional Federal Regulation


AHCA/NCAL Staff Member Urvi Patel Elected To National Board

Provider Magazine

 (10/15, Mendoza, 151K) reports, “One of the American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living’s (AHCA/NCAL’s) own will be representing the association’s quality efforts on a national scale.” Urvi Patel, director of quality improvement at AHCA/NCAL, was elected to “the board of the Alliance for Performance Excellence, which serves member programs and other organizations aiming to improve their performance using the Baldrige Excellence Framework.” AHCA vice president of quality and programs Courtney Bishnoi said, “This is deserved recognition of her leadership of the AHCA/NCAL National Quality Award program, which is one of the largest and most successful Baldrige-based programs. … Urvi has already proven adept at building relationships with these programs through sharing information and best practices. She will be a great addition to the board.”

New Pathway Available To Report POC Testing Results

McKnight’s Long Term Care News

 (10/16, Brown) reports, “A new pathway for reporting results from point-of-care coronavirus testing devices is now available for long-term care providers on the National Health care Safety Network.” In a conference call on Wednesday, CDC representatives told nursing home stakeholders “that the pathway would be released Thursday,” and “the CDC will be hosting two training webinars next week on the new pathway.” On Wednesday, AHCA 


 “how providers can register and access the training.”

NCAL Board Does Not Regret Seeking Federal Assistance, Despite Potential For Additional Federal Regulation

McKnight’s Senior Living

 (10/16, Bowers) reports, “It remains to be seen whether the assisted living industry’s successful lobbying for COVID-related financial relief and testing from the federal government will result in more federal regulation.” However, on Thursday, NCAL Executive Director Scott Tittle “said Thursday that he and the organization’s board members do not regret seeking federal assistance.” He told McKnight’s, “I was really proud of our board early on in the pandemic, because we talked to them about what’s to come potentially with the receipt of federal funds. … They really took a stand and believed that we need to do what’s best for the sector now to help people get the resources that they need to fight the battle and help save lives and help protect staff, and that if those questions were to come, then we certainly would be prepared to discuss them at that time.”

Missouri Governor Announces COVID-19 Vaccine Plan


 Quincy, IL (10/15) reports, “Gov. Mike Parson announced Thursday that Missouri has submitted its plan for administering the impending COVID-19 vaccine to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).” According to WGEM, “As vaccine availability expands, vaccination efforts will be aimed at residents most at risk, the elderly, and those with medical conditions placing them at high risk for poor outcomes.” Missouri Health Care Association Executive Director Nikki Strong said, “The asymptomatic nature of this virus makes it difficult to keep it from entering long-term care facilities through these essential staff. We applaud Governor Parson and his team for recognizing this and developing a vaccination plan that puts the staff and residents in Missouri’s long-term care facilities at the highest level of priority once a proven vaccine is available.”


Additional States Skeptical Of Rapid, POC Antigen Tests Provided By Federal Governments

McKnight’s Long Term Care News

 (10/15, Brown) reports, “Several other states are expressing skepticism in the reliability of the rapid, point-of-care antigen tests provided by the federal government following reports that the devices have been producing a lot of false negatives for nursing homes.” State health representatives in Arkansas, Connecticut, “New Jersey, Wisconsin and Minnesota reported that they’re primarily using polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing in long-term care facilities, a report by ABC News revealed.” Meanwhile, other states, like Oregon, “are now re-evaluating its testing guidance regarding antigen tests following reports of false positives nationwide and in the state.”

CMS Announces It Will Penalize Labs, Starting In January, For Failing To Meet Two-Day Turnaround For COVID-19 Tests

Skilled Nursing News

 (10/15, Spanko) reports, “Starting in January, the federal government will base Medicare payments for COVID-19 tests on labs’ ability to meet two-day turnaround times, docking them $25 per test for failure to reach the goal.” CMS announced Thursday that “Medicare will pay labs the current $100-apiece rate for high-throughput tests only if they can complete them within two calendar days of specimen collection,” and “those that take longer will only receive $75 per test.”


Senior Housing Sector Experienced Largest Occupancy Drop On Record, NIC Data Indicate

McKnight’s Senior Living

 (10/15, Bowers) reports, “The senior housing sector – including independent living and assisted living – is experiencing its largest drop in occupancy on record, according to data released today by the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care.” According to the NIC MAP Data Service, “senior housing occupancy fell 2.6 percentage points to 82.1% in the third quarter, from 84.7% in the second quarter, indicating a steady decline since the pandemic began.” This is “the second consecutive quarter in which occupancy fell more than 2.5 percentage points.”

Senior Housing News

 (10/15, Sudo) reports, “The pandemic impacted majority independent living and majority assisted living in near-equal measure.” Specifically, “independent living occupancy fell 2.4 percentage points to 84.9% in Q3, while assisted living occupancy dropped 290 basis points in the quarter to 79.1%.”

Health Care REITs Show Stabilizing Fundamentals Over Past Quarter, Analysis Suggests

McKnight’s Senior Living

 (10/15, Novotney) reports, “Health care real estate investment trusts, many of which have been heavily affected by the coronavirus pandemic, have shown signs of life over the past quarter in terms of stabilizing fundamentals,” according to an analysis on Seeking Alpha. The analysis indicates that “rent collection among health care REITs actually has been among the strongest in the real estate sector, with near-perfect rent collection among triple-net senior housing communities and skilled nursing facilities, offset by depressed rent collection in RIDEA senior housing communities.” The analysis concluded, “The positive long-term outlook for senior housing REITs, in particular, remains intact as the long-awaited boomer-driven demand boom is finally arriving.”

Massachusetts Nursing Homes May Need To Convert All Rooms To Single-, Double-Occupancy By End Of January 2022, According To Proposed State Guidance

Skilled Nursing News

 (10/15, Spanko) reports, “A state hit particularly hard by the coronavirus pandemic may soon mandate the end of triple- and quadruple-occupancy nursing home rooms in less than two years.” According to “new proposed state guidance, nursing homes in Massachusetts would need to convert all of their rooms to single- or double-occupancy by the end of January 2022, the State House News Service reported this week.” This “move from the state’s Department of Public Health would also come with updated square-footage requirements to reflect the reduced occupancy, as well as increased per-patient care requirements.”