From the Administrator’s Desk – September 2017
Summer? Where did it go? Kids are going back to school. Autumn is in the air and winter won’t be that far along. As I find myself in the sixth decade of life, I believe time does go faster the older we get, or at least it feels that way.
Today, I want to take a few minutes to talk about the revised, Nursing Home rules and regulations put out by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) last year (2016). It is the most comprehensive update and re-write of nursing home regulations since OBRA 1987 and they are called the Nursing Home “Final Rule” or “Mega-Rules” and we are being given three years to phase-in the new requirements. We are in Phase II in 2017. The following are some of the items we want you to know about:
- Abuse Policy and Procedure: Now includes the terms, “exploitation,” and “involuntary seclusion” and are to be reported to the administrator not more than 2 hours upon forming a suspicion of any type of abuse, neglect or mistreatment or to the police or state agencies if a crime has occurred.
- Visitation Policy: Essentially allows visitation 24 hours/day, 7 days per week and may include some overnights. However, we do not allow visitors to live in the facility.
- Grievances & Grievance Officer: Any complaints or grievances are to be tracked and responded to in writing within 14 days and information kept on file for several years. We have appointed Tracy Fischer, Social Services Mentor as our facility’s Grievance Officer. I am her back-up.
- Food brought in for residents: Families and friends can now bring in food for residents. All we need to do is label it, date it (if not eaten immediately) and ensure it is stored properly. Remember the old pot-luck dinners? Sounds like we might be able to do that again or take fresh garden produce grown in your home garden. Again, we just need to be informed so that we prepare, re-heat, and/or label, date and store these items properly and safely.
- Resident Refrigerators: While unnecessary, but allowed, residents who have mini-refrigerators in their rooms need to have the temperature of the refrigerator monitored and items placed in the refrigerators monitored for proper labeling, storage, dating, cleanliness, etc. to avoid expired foods or foods past the “Use By” date.
There are many policies that the staff have updated and continue to work on including Emergency/Disaster Planning for which we will be holding some emergency exercises in September and October with the help of volunteers who will act as residents in need of emergency assistance.It has been said that this type of planning has been very useful, practical and saved nursing home resident lives during Hurricane Harvey. Our hope of course is that such plans never have to be utilized, but if it does, we’ll be better prepared.
Recently, we just completed the resident satisfaction surveys. The completed surveys have been mailed back to NRC Health – the company commissioned to provide the surveys, analyze the surveys and provide us a report with the results within the next few weeks. In September we intend to survey families for their level of satisfaction with our services. So, watch for a letter of introduction from me soon. And, in November, we’ll be surveying our employee’s level of satisfaction. We had great results in 2015 and are hoping for the same this year, but we’ll always learn how we can do things better no matter what. As a reminder, if you have a concern, please talk to us now about how we can help you resolve it before completing the satisfaction survey. Lastly, I want to thank those of you that advocated on behalf of nursing homes to receive an increase in reimbursement rates through the Wisconsin Medical Assistance program. We haven’t had an increase in a long time, but it looks like once the legislature passes the budget, we’ll be getting a bit of a bump. Thanks again and enjoy what’s left of summer.
Anthony Manzella, Community Mentor/Administrator