The January 2021 issue of Alliant Quality Cares & Shares: A monthly newsletter highlighting events and resources for those caring for Medicare Beneficiaries Email not displaying correctly?
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CMS-CDC Fundamentals of COVID-19 Prevention for Nursing Home Management
With COVID cases rising, preparing to keep residents and staff safe is critical. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is offering flexible, on-demand infection control training. Live Q&A Sessions are also held twice a month on Thursdays at 4 p.m. ET. Learn More and Register

Targeted COVID-19 Training for Frontline Nursing Home Staff and Management
CMS is also offering targeted trainings to help nursing homes prepare for the winter months of the pandemic. A series of scenario-based trainings are available to help meet the urgent and ongoing needs of nursing home managers and frontline staff. These free learning intensives are hosted on the CMS Quality, Safety & Education Portal (QESP). Learn More

CMS Takes Steps to Ensure Medicare Beneficiaries Have Wide Access to COVID-19 Antibody Treatment: Coverage Available at No Cost
CMS announced that Medicare beneficiaries can receive coverage of monoclonal antibodies to treat coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) with no cost-sharing during the public health emergency (PHE). CMS’ coverage of monoclonal antibody infusions applies to bamlanivimab, which received an emergency use authorization (EUA) from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Learn More

CMS Nursing Home COVID-19 Toolkit
Need guidance on COVID-19 reporting for nursing homes? The Toolkit on State Actions to Mitigate COVID-19 Prevalence in Nursing Homes catalogs the many innovative solutions designed at the state level to protect our nation’s nursing home residents during the COVID-19 pandemic and is updated twice a month. Access Toolkit

Notice: Original Compare Tools Retired December 1
The original Compare Tools were retired on December 1st. They have been streamlined and are available on’s Care Compare. The new tool gives you, patients, and caregivers one user-friendly place to find cost, quality of care, service volume, and other CMS quality data to help make informed health care decisions. Access Now

Flu Vaccine Partner Toolkit
CMS is taking action to protect the health and safety of our nation’s patients from the flu virus in the wake of the 2019 Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. CMS has developed this toolkit to help you stay informed on CMS, CDC, and HHS materials available on the importance of the flu vaccine. Please share these materials, bookmark the page, and check back often for the most up-to-date information. Access Toolkit

Nursing Home Series for Front Line Clinicians and Staff

CMS is airing the first episode in a series of short podcasts for frontline nursing home staff. The series, “CMS Beyond the Policy: Nursing Home Series for Frontline Clinicians and Staff,” is designed to reinforce training and infection control practices in nursing homes to help combat the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Listen Now

COVID-19 Vaccine Updates

Our team is collecting and curating the latest updates and resources about the COVID-19 vaccine on our website, so you can visit one page to find the information you need. We've also included a handful of these resources below -- visit and bookmark these pages today.

  • Alliant Quality COVID-19 Vaccine Resources 
    Curated resources and best practices to support long-term care facilities, clinics, providers, and staff as they navigate vaccine distribution. Alliant Quality COVID-19 Vaccine Resources
  • Information From CMS
    Find the latest information from the Centers from Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) about the COVID-19 vaccine: CMS COVID-19 Vaccine Webpage
  • CDC Vaccine Storage and Handling Toolkit
    The CDC Vaccine Storage and Handling Toolkit has been updated with an addendum to address proper storage, handling, transport, and emergency handling of COVID-19 vaccines. The addendum will be updated as new COVID-19 vaccine products are approved. Bookmark the page and check back regularly for the most current version of the toolkit: CDC Vaccine Storage Webpage
  • Immunization Action Coalition Newsletter
    The Immunization Action Coalition Newsletter is released weekly and will contain the latest news from trusted resources about the vaccine. Subscribe Today
  • 8 Things to Know about the US COVID Vaccination Program
    There are lots of questions about the COVID-19 vaccine, so the CDC put together a list of the eight things you should know. Read More 
  • Toolkit for Long-Term Care Facilities
    The National Health Care Association and the National Center for Assisted Living launched a new campaign to encourage long term care staff and residents to get the COVID-19 vaccine. A communications toolkit with various materials have been created for providers and state affiliates to help communicate about the importance of vaccination as well as highlight progress. The digital toolkit includes a checklist of ideas, template letters to use with stakeholders, sample social media, and media prep material. AHCA/NCAL will continue to update these materials and as new ones as needed, so be sure to check back for the latest resources! Access Toolkit 
  • What Every Clinician Needs to Know About COVID-19 Vaccine
    The CDC Clinician Outreach and Communication Activity (COCA) branch had an emergency presentation on "What Every Clinician Needs to Know about the COVID-19 Vaccine." The recording is posted for on-demand viewing. Access Now ​​​​​​


2020 Year-End Video

We know 2020 has been a challenging year, and there’s still a lot of work ahead. But 2020 has also shown us that when we work together, we can make health care better! Take a look at our year-end recap and some of the ways we can collaborate to improve care. Watch Now

Leadership Lessons ~ Words of advice from leaders on the front lines.

This month’s leadership lesson is from Jeana Partington, MS, BSN, RN, CPHQ, CPPS, Alliant Quality Program Director for Alabama, Florida, and Louisiana

For many of us, 2020 was a year like none other in our lifetime.  In this Leadership Lesson article, I want to take the time to recognize all of you for making every effort to rise to and meet the challenges brought by COVID-19 for your patients, residents, staff, family, friends, neighbors, and loved ones. 

While quite a few of us are saying “goodbye and good riddance” to 2020, there were many good things that happened last year. Read More

Best Practice Corner

Each month Alliant Quality collects exemplar practices from organizations across the seven-state region. Thank you for your leadership, creativity, and perseverance...
  • NHC Lewisburg in Tennessee has achieved a very good COVID recovery rate, which they attribute to twice daily care conferences with the full medical team regarding each of the residents in the isolation unit. These residents have a daily telehealth visit with the NP. The facility also focuses on proactive nutritional management, and they track all of their residents in a case management excel workbook posted to a shared drive so that it is easily accessible by all medical providers and staff. 
Do you have a promising practice to share? Please reply to this email and we will feature you in an upcoming issue.

Community Coalition Leadership & Organizing

Telehealth 101 - A Tip Sheet for Patients
This one-page flyer from Alliant Quality outlines the key tips for patients to help prepare for telehealth visits. Download Tip Sheet

Virtual Meeting Tips & Tricks
Virtual meetings are an effective and efficient way to keep moving ahead on community coalition initiatives when face-to-face meetings are not possible. This document from Alliant Quality summarizes tips about how to establish a virtual meeting forum, plan for the meeting, and a checklist you can use to successfully engage participants virtually.  Download Tool

Community Coalition Assessment Tool
It's recommended that community coalitions complete an assessment at least annually to evaluate effectiveness of interventions and goals and guide the identification of opportunities for further growth and sustainability. Download Tool

Podcast: AHSCAST - Making Health Care Better

Quality health care should be provided to all. Every other Thursday, join Alliant Health Solutions as they interview guests committed to making health care better. If you are a health care consumer, clinician or physician, healthcare insurer, system, provider or consultant, this is the podcast for you. Listen Now

Learning & Action Network Events

January Learning & Action Network Events

  • Nursing Home: Avoiding the Medicare Readmissions Penalty
    ​​​​​Tuesday, January 19 at 2 p.m. ET/1 p.m. CT
    Register Now

  • Community Coalition: Put A Little Love in Your Heart: Strategies for Reducing Heart Failure
    Thursday, January 28 at 12:30 p.m. ET/11:30 a.m. CT
    Register Now


Save the Date! 2021 Learning & Action Network Events

Mark your calendars and pre-register! Each month, Alliant Quality invites experts in the field to discuss top-of-mind topics for Medicare Beneficiaries and the Nursing Homes & Communities that care for them.
Nursing Home Events

*All events are at 2:00 p.m. ET/1:00 p.m. CT and are a half hour in length.*
Community Coalition Events

*All events are at 12:30 p.m. ET/11:30 a.m. CT and are a half hour in length.*

Watch previous LAN Events and Bite-Size Learnings on Alliant Quality's YouTube channel.
  • Gear up for the New Year! Positioning your Organization to Gather, Track, and Use Data in 2021
  • Investigation of an Acute Outbreak in the Long Term Care Setting
  • Preventing and Managing C. difficile
  • Effective Medication Reconciliation Practices Can Reduce Hospital Utilization and Readmissions
  • Tis the Season: Using QAPI for Flu and Pneumonia Vaccination Success
  • High Risk Medication Use and Quality Practices to Prevent ADE
  • Critical Vaccines in a Critical Time: Tools and Tips for Increasing Immunization Rates in Your Community
  • Using SBIRT for Effective Screening and Referral to Treatment
  • How to Create a Trauma Responsive Environment: Covid-19 Protective Factors and Responses
  • This Changes Everything: Grief in the Time of COVID-19
  • COVID-19 in LTCF: Keeping it out & Keeping it Together
  • Telehealth Service in our Communities
  • Providing Telehealth Services in Nursing Homes
  • Alliant Quality Bite Size Learning: Telehealth Implementation - Workflows
  • Alliant Quality Bite Size Learning: C. Diff Reporting and Reduction
  • Alliant Quality Bite Size Learning: Immunization for Staff​​​
  • Alliant Quality Bite Size Learning: Meet My Loved One
  • Assessing and Reducing Opioid Prescribing in Long Term Care
  • Essential Communication Strategies for Cross Continuum Infection Control
  • Aging, the Opioid Epidemic, and Care Considerations
  • QII Webinar: Root Cause Analysis: Creating a Good Project Foundation
  • The Power of Engaging Local Government in Community Coalitions: Chattanooga-Hamilton County COVID-19 Community Task Force Successes and Lessons Learned
  • Self Care for Health Care Providers
  • Million Hearts Initiative 2020
  • Understanding the Quality Measures & Quality Measure STAR Rating
  • Engaging Community-based Organizations
  • Alliant Quality Recruitment Webinar: Getting to know your QIO
Partner Events

Morehouse School of Medicine National COVID-19 Resiliency Network (NCRN)
The goal of the Morehouse School of Medicine National COVID-19 Resiliency Network (NCRN) is to mitigate the negative impact of COVID-19 on racial and ethnic minority and American Indian and Alaska Native communities, rural communities, and others that are disproportionately impacted by the Coronavirus (COVID-19). They are starting by engaging organizations who are on the ground in communities every day, who hear the concerns of their communities first-hand, and who monitor the evolving landscape of COVID-10 in states, territories, and tribes to understand where there is the greatest need. Learn More and Subscribe for Updates

AHRQ ECHO National Nursing Home COVID-19 Action Network

Supported by the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), and in collaboration with the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI), Project ECHO is launching a National Nursing Home COVID-19 Action Network. Nursing homes and training centers around the country are being actively recruited to join this interactive community of practice to collaboratively advance improvements in COVID-19 preparedness, safety, and infection control. Sign Up Now

COVID-19 Clinical Rounds: Jan 5, 12, 19, and 26 at 10 a.m. ET

COVID-19 Clinical Rounds were launched to create peer-to-peer learning networks where clinicians who have more experience treating patients with COVID-19 share their challenges and successes with clinicians across the U.S. and around the world. Each session includes brief presentations from experienced expert clinicians; the presentations have included representatives from Bellevue Hospital in New York City, Emory University, University of Minnesota, University of Washington, and Nebraska Medicine, among others. Representatives from more than 15 relevant national professional organizations round out the panel of expert discussants. The majority of each session is spent in discussion related to Q&A generated by the participants. Register Now

Mental Health in 2020: A Recap
The Household Pulse Survey, run by the Census Bureau to measure how Americans are living during the pandemic, is tracking an uptick in mental health disorders: 
  • In October, 37% of Americans reported feeling hopeless more than half of the time. In 2019, that figure was 21%. 
  • While more people aged 18-29 suffered mental illness symptoms pre-pandemic, the Household Pulse Survey finds that people between the ages of 30-39 are now slightly more anxious than younger adults. 
  • Women are more likely to report mental illness symptoms than men. 
Read more about the state of mental health in America, including how people from various incomes are accessing mental health resources. View Article
Psychological PPE
2020 reinforced the importance of personal protective equipment when it comes to keeping healthcare work force safe. It also exacerbated existing issues with health care professional burnout. The Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) put together recommendations for “psychological PPE” to help protect staff mental health. Read More 

Question, Persuade, Refer (QPR) Training
Although 100% preventable, suicide is still the 10th leading cause of death in the US.  QPR is a 3-step approach that can save lives. Our 90-minute interactive online training is eligible for one continuing education credit (CEU) through the National Board for Certified Counselors, as well as access to materials from the QPR Institute. If you or your organization is interested in requesting a training, email  
Access FREE expert guidance on this topic: Contact Stacy Hull

Shoptalk Shorts
Only have a few minutes? We’re creating 2-3 minute videos with answers to FAQs about getting access to NHSN. New videos will be added periodically -- topics include: 

  • How to change your email address in NHSN
  • How to upgrade to level-3 access in NHSN 
  • I am new and no one at my facility has access to NHSN. How do I get access?
  • How do I add users and rights to our NHSN account?
  • I am leaving the facility. How do I reassign the facility administrator?
  • How do I find my facility NHSN data on the CMS website and check to see if it passed quality assurance?

And more! Watch Shoptalk Shorts Now

NHSN Hygiene: Reminder to Report on Time!
Add users to keep your facility reporting on time and avoid costly fines.

Alliant Quality has many resources to help you navigate NHSN!

  • It's time to join the Alliant Quality NHSN Group! Joining the group and conferring rights to Alliant Quality to view NHSN data allows for seamless support and technical assistance. Click here for a step-by-step guide.  
  • New to your facility? Click here to gain access. Have your 5 digit NHSN OrgID and previous NHSN user’s email to complete the form.
  • Leaving and need to reassign access to your facility? Click here for  instructions. 
  • Data submission for Point of Care Testing began November 20th. Click here for training slides.
  • Click here for instructions on Adding Users to your NHSN account.

Access FREE expert guidance on this topic: Contact Melody Brown

Heart Failure Follow-Up Clinics
Heart failure patients are most likely to return to the hospital within 30 days. Several evidence-based programs using heart failure follow up clinics and pharmacist have proven effective in reducing readmissions of heart failure patients. Read Full Article

CMS Approves Telehealth Cardiac Rehab During COVID-19 Pandemic
The referral to and use of Cardiac Rehabilitation following a heart incident has not been robust in the US, even before the public health emergency. The service has also decreased due to a requirement for in-person visits for billing purposes. As a result, CMS has now included Cardiac Rehab as a billable under the temporary telehealth approved services. The services will be billable through 2021, at the least. Read More from The American College of Cardiology

Access FREE expert guidance on this topic: Contact Libby Massiah

Billing for Transitional Care Management
A new Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Condition of Participation (CoP) will require hospitals to send real-time e-notifications of any admissions, discharges or transfers (ADT) to post-acute care providers with established care relationships who need that information for treatment, care coordination or quality improvement activities. 
This process should improve communications to physicians when heir patients are hospitalized and transferred to post-acute care and support achieving TCM billing requirements. CoPs are the health and safety standards that health care organizations must meet to participate in Medicare and Medicaid. The new CoP goes into effect on May 1, 2021 -- plan now to be ready. Learn More

My Care Transitions Plan
COVID-19 related visitor restrictions have exacerbated the challenges associated with ensuring patients, families, and care partners fully understand current plans of care, as well as the information needed to ensure a safe transition to home or the next level of care. The My Care Transitions Plan is designed to help patients and families document and keep track of questions to ask caregivers before discharge. The tool also helps providers proactively implement care plan interventions in areas that have the potential to raise the risk of readmission. Originally designed as a brochure for printing, the tool is now also available in a full-page format for electronic distribution, and both files are editable PDF forms. View Brochure | View Full-Page Layout

Medication Reconciliation Tool
Medication reconciliation is a known driver of readmissions from post-acute care to hospital.  This interactive Excel sheet allows providers to track and trend medication discrepancies for ongoing quality improvement. Download Tool

Access FREE expert guidance on this topic: Contact Carolyn Kazdan 

Fall and Slip Prevention
Winter weather, debris, clutter and health conditions that impact balance, mobility and strength can pose serious hazards to seniors. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that falls are the leading cause of injury among adults aged 65 years or older, making falls a public health concern among the aging population. Patients and caregivers can play a role in limiting exposure to fall hazards and mitigating risks. 

Access FREE expert guidance on this topic: Contact Pauline Kinney

My Care Transitions Plan
COVID-19 related visitor restrictions have exacerbated the challenges associated with ensuring patients, families, and care partners fully understand current plans of care, as well as the information needed to ensure a safe transition to home or the next level of care. The My Care Transitions Plan is designed to help patients and families document and keep track of questions to ask caregivers before discharge. The tool also helps providers proactively implement care plan interventions in areas that have the potential to raise the risk of readmission. Originally designed as a brochure for printing, the tool is now also available in a full-page format for electronic distribution, and both files are editable PDF forms. View Brochure | View Full-Page Layout

Telehealth Tip Sheet
The BFAC worked with Alliant Quality subject matter experts to develop this one-page flyer outlining the key tips for patients to help prepare for telehealth visits. Download Tip Sheet

Person-Centered Care During a Pandemic: Meet My Loved One
Alliant Quality's Carolyn Kazdan invited Drs. Rodney Tucker & Sylvia Huang from University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) Center for Palliative and Supportive Care to record a bite-size learning on the Meet My Loved One program. The doctors generously shared the Meet My Loved One tool, strategies for implementation, and the positive feedback they have received from providers to help the bedside care team deliver person-centered compassionate care during COVD-19. The BFAC provided guidance for the framing for the customized tool developed by Alliant Quality. Watch Video | Download Instructions for Tool | Download Tool 

When it comes to designing quality care, the experiences and perspectives of patients and families is invaluable. Quality care should be centered on the person -- not just the disease. Members of the Beneficiary & Family Advisory Council are our partners in making healthcare better. To join us in this important work, contact Mel Brown.

Contact members of the BFAC via Melody Brown

For Archived issues: Visit the News & Announcements section of the Alliant Quality website.


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This material was prepared by Alliant Quality, the quality improvement group of Alliant Health Solutions (AHS), the Medicare Quality Innovation Network - Quality Improvement Organization for Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, North Carolina, and Tennessee, under contract with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The contents presented do not necessarily reflect CMS policy. Publication No. 12SOW-AHSQIN-QIO-TO1-20-415
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