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A monthly newsletter highlighting events and resources for Nursing Homes & Community Coalitions

In This Issue:
The Latest News from CMS


COVID-19 Revised Guidance for Nursing Home Visitation  
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a revised memo on nursing home visitation dated 11.12.2021. This memo gives guidance and states that visitation is now allowed for all residents at all times. Read the Full Memo  

CMS Reminds Eligible Consumers They Can Get a COVID-19 Booster Shot at No Cost 
Following the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s authorization of a booster shot of the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines for certain populations and a recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the CMS is reminding eligible consumers that coverage is available under Medicare, Medicaid, Children's Health Insurance Program and in the commercial health insurance market for this critical protection from the virus, including booster shots from all three manufacturers, without cost sharing. Learn More

COVID-19 and Flu Essentials​​

Our team is collecting and curating the essential trainings, events, resources, and vaccine updates about COVID-19 and influenza on our website so you can visit one page to find the information you need. We've also outlined the essentials below.

View All COVID-19 News & Resources

Training & Resources

  • Putting COVID-19 Numbers and Vaccinations into Context – This presentation and video helps explain the risks of COVID-19 relative to other events such as lightning strikes, tornadoes, traffic fatalities, etc. and illustrates the impact that COVID-19 vaccinations have on reducing risks. Get the Presentation and Videos 
  • CMS Targeted COVID-19 Training for Frontline Nursing Home Staff & Management (Free Training) Learn More
  • CMS-CDC Fundamentals of COVID-19 Prevention for Nursing Home Management Learn More & Register | Download Infographic
  • Enjoy Holiday Traditions and Protect Your Loved Ones Download Flyer
  • An Introduction to Motivational Interviewing for Healthcare Professionals. As a trusted source of health information and healing, your approach to a conversation with patients and families who are hesitant about receiving COVID-19 vaccines can influence their willingness to consider vaccination. View Resource 
CDC Tools to Build Confidence in COVID-19 Vaccines
Vaccinate with Confidence is the strategic framework of the CDC to strengthen vaccine confidence and prevent outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases in the United States. Resources include backgrounders, tips for community engagement, assessment guides and recent reports on vaccine confidence and uptake. Visit the Website

COVID-19 Data Tracker 
Find maps and charts tracking cases, deaths and trends of COVID-19 in the United States. View the COVID Data Tracker
Recent updates:
  • The Vaccine Effectiveness tab was updated to display the current data better and add new functionality to filter graphs by age group and vaccine product.
  • A new chart on the Nursing Home Vaccination tab shows case rates among nursing home residents over time by vaccination status (unvaccinated, fully vaccinated only or boosted).
New COVID-Related Videos Encourage Vaccination and Practicing Self-Care 
Alliant recently shared two new COVID-related educational videos on its website. The “What is Your Choice?” video encourages people to choose immunization for COVID-19, and the “How to Prioritize Self-Care” video offers helpful techniques to begin prioritizing self-care. Watch them here: What Is Your Choice Video | How to Prioritize Self-Care Video 

Vaccine Updates

CDC Issues Alert About Increased Seasonal Influenza A Activity 
The CDC issued a Health Alert Network Health Advisory about increased influenza A activity that could mark the beginning of the 2021-2022 influenza season. Read the Health Alert | Additional Resources and information on the 2021-2022 Influenza Season 



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

This month’s leadership lesson is from JoVonn Givens, MPH, Task Order Director at Alliant Health Solutions, the QIN-QIO for Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, North Carolina, and Tennessee.

Alliant Can Help You Make Healthcare Better

“Trust is not built in big, sweeping moments. It’s built in tiny moments every day.” Brené Brown

Since April 2020, Alliant Health Solutions has provided 12,640 technical assistance encounters to nursing homes across our seven states. This includes the National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN), infection control and prevention, vaccination and quality improvement support. We greatly appreciate you reaching out to us for assistance and do not take your trust in us lightly, especially during these difficult times.

As your Quality Innovation Network-Quality Improvement Organization (QIN-QIO), we can provide support in many health care areas, such as patient safety, vaccinations, chronic conditions, readmissions and admissions, adverse drug events, and opioid misuse. Subject matter experts have developed and will continue to develop great virtual programming and downloadable resources that can be found on our website, building on that trust that you have bestowed upon us. Some of the latest tools and recordings that you may be interested in are:

  • “Remote Patient Monitoring: AdventHealth SARS-CoV-2 Response and Outcomes” Learning and Action Network event recording
  • Safe Glucometer Use Tool 
  • "Go to the Hospital or Stay Here? A Decision Guide for Residents, Families, Friends and Caregivers” Bite-Sized Learning, a less than six-minute video that provides an overview of this tool

Alliant Health Solutions is here to support you, so please do not hesitate to reach out to my teammates or me to help you make health care better in those daily quality improvement moments. Best wishes for a healthy and collaborative New Year!

​​​Read on our Website

Best Practice Corner
Each month Alliant Health Solutions collects exemplar practices from organizations across the seven-state region. Thank you for your leadership, creativity, and perseverance. 

COVID-19 Booster Data Now Available on North Carolina Vaccine Data Dashboard
The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services added COVID-19 vaccine administration data on additional and booster doses to its vaccine data dashboard, allowing dashboard users to see the number of doses administered following a recipient’s primary series. Following the CDC’s lead, these doses will be displayed as a state-level total under the "Additional/Booster Doses Administered" heading. The information is displayed on the "Summary Data" tab on the vaccination progress summary section of the dashboard and replaces the "Total Doses Administered" metric. View the Vaccine Data Dashboard

Lexington, Ky. Achieves 72% COVID-19 Vaccination Rate 
Lexington, Ky., is working to safely and effectively distribute vaccinations. Over 72% of all residents have received at least their first dose. Lexington continues to protect its community at a higher rate than the rest of our nation. Read the Article

Healthier Together Awards $500K in Grants to 21 North Carolina Community Organizations
Healthier Together, a public-private partnership between the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services and NC Counts Coalition, awarded $500,000 in the second round of grants to a new cohort of local community groups to support equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines throughout North Carolina. Read the Article 

New PSA Series for People Living with Disabilities and Their Caregivers
Building vaccine confidence in people with disabilities and their caregivers is a critical step in protecting them from COVID-19. The Association of State and Territorial Health Officials created a public service announcement featuring people with disabilities and their caregivers explaining why they chose to get the COVID-19 vaccine. Watch the PSA

Do you have a promising practice to share? Please reply to this email and we will feature you in an upcoming issue.

Podcast: AHSCAST - Making Health Care Better

graphic of AHScast logo and recent episodes Everyone deserves quality health care.
Tune into the Alliant Health Solutions Making Health Care Better podcast every other Thursday as they interview guests committed to making health care better. If you are a health care consumer, provider, insurer, system or consultant, this is the podcast for you. View All Podcast Episodes


Upcoming Learning & Action Network (LAN) Events
  • Combined Community Coalitions and Nursing Homes: Part 1: Applying Evidence-Based Best Practices To Prevent, Mitigate and Manage Delirium Across Care Settings: A Multi-Part Series 
    Thursday, January 27 at 12:30 p.m. ET / 11:30 a.m. CT (30 min.)
    Delirium is a common and potentially preventable complication of illness or injury, especially for those individuals of advanced age or baseline cognitive impairment. Please join us for a series of discussions on delirium prevention, identification, treatment and management. Case examples across the health care continuum will be introduced to facilitate relatability.
    Register Now

Last Month's Learning & Action Network (LAN) Events
  • Combined Community Coalitions and Nursing Homes: Remote Patient Monitoring: AdventHealth’s SARS-CoV-2 Response and Outcomes
    Recorded on December 14, 2021
    In this webinar, one health system shared its experience implementing remote patient monitoring (RPM). This approach helped provide a safe transition of care for patients suspected of having COVID and COVID-positive patients discharged from the emergency department. When properly implemented, remote patient monitoring prevents avoidable readmissions. Learn about the elements of an effective RPM program used during COVID and consider the potential for future RPM use in helping to manage patients with chronic diseases.
    View RecordingView Slides 

We want your feedback

Were You Able to "Use Tomorrow" What You Heard During the LAN Events? 
If Yes, Click Below. 

Nursing Homes LAN Attendees: Click here
Community Coalition LAN Attendees: Click here


Upcoming Infection Prevention Shop Talks
  • January 2022 Shop Talk Call
    Thursday, January 20 at 2 p.m. ET / 1 p.m. CT (60 min.)

    Find out about updates and support for surveillance, tracking and infection prevention in nursing homes using the National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN). This webinar is focused on submitting COVID-19 data but may include other components such as C.diff, UTIs and hand hygiene.
    ​​​​​Register Now
View Previous Shop Talks

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.
View Step-By-Step Guide

Alliant Zone Tools Available 
Did you know there are Zone Tools available on the Alliant website? Alliant’s Zone Tools are great resources for quality improvement projects. Click Here to download, print and use the Zone Tools for free.



Behavioral Health​​​​​​

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: Overdose Prevention Strategy
The Overdose Prevention Strategy expands the scope of the crisis response beyond opioids to include other substances that are often involved in overdoses, including stimulants such as methamphetamine and cocaine. This new strategy promotes groundbreaking research and evidence-informed methods to improve the health and safety of our communities.

The strategy is guided by four principles:

  • Equity
  • Data and evidence
  • Coordination, collaboration and integration
  • Reducing stigma

Strategic priorities include:

  • Primary Prevention
  • Harm Reduction
  • Evidence-Based Treatment
  • Recovery Support

Learn More about the Overdose Prevention Strategy

Access FREE expert guidance on this topic: Contact Tanya Vadala

Using the Communication and Optimal Resolution Process
The Communication and Optimal Resolution (CANDOR) process is a process that health care institutions and practitioners can use to respond in a timely, thorough and just way when unexpected events cause patient harm. Based on expert input and lessons learned, the CANDOR toolkit has been tested and applied in 14 hospitals across three U.S. health systems. The toolkit contains eight different modules containing PowerPoint slides with facilitator notes. Get the Toolkit


Essential Resources to Help You Navigate NHSN
Weekly COVID-19 Vaccination Data Reporting & Training
Effective August 23, report health care personnel and residents who are eligible to receive the COVID-19 booster (additional vaccine).
Training slides (reference slides 9 & 20-23) 

Who is eligible for the booster? Reference the CDC website for current considerations for use of an additional COVID-19 dose.

Watch Our NHSN Shop Talk Shorts Series!​​​
​​​​​We know you're busy. Our new video series answers the most common questions we receive regarding navigating NHSN in a brief way. Available videos cover the following topics:

View NHSN Shop Talk Video Series

Access FREE expert guidance on this topic: Contact Melody Brown

Partnering with Patients to Tackle Therapeutic Inertia 
The start of a new year incites motivation. People across the country activate lifestyle modification apps and wearable tracking devices to start or enhance daily fitness routines, improve dietary habits or promote activities to support mental and emotional wellness. One thing that does not usually make it on most people's "new year, new me" self-improvement list is reviewing their current medication regimen with their health care team. Staying up to date with needed medication changes, shifts in care plans, and promptly becoming aware of alternative treatment options are vital to optimal self-care. This is particularly important in the management of diabetes as the disease progresses, and patients may need more guidance from their health care team to help prevent therapeutic inertia. 

Therapeutic inertia occurs when a patient’s treatment plan is not adjusted on time when their A1C is too high, often for a prolonged period. According to the ADA, the number of patients who achieve their A1C target range goals has been declining over the past 10 years, while the number of patients with an A1C >9% is steadily increasing. In response to these findings, the ADA has embarked on an Overcoming Therapeutic Inertia initiative.

Health care team members can help diabetes patients understand the importance of yearly reviewing their current medications and treatment plan by incorporating critical conversations into every visit. Critical conversations help gauge patients' views of how their diabetes treatment is going and how they feel about their progress reaching individualized glucose monitoring goals. It also enables the exploration of social determinants of health that may present barriers to care and help the team provide solutions to patients. Team members can use the About Diabetes Education Flyer to discuss vital self-care support services with patients. The ADA offers a Patient Engagement Toolkit that includes the Patient Conversation Guide and Self-Assessment Tool for Overcoming Resistance to Therapy Intensification to help health care team members frame the conversation about therapeutic changes and assist patients with assessing their own need for changes in their care plan. The toolkit also features Diabetes Care and Management Plan, a comprehensive guide to self–management and action planning for people living with diabetes.

Find out more about the initiative here.

Access FREE expert guidance on this topic: Contact Ingris Garcia

Health Care Community Coalitions and Emergency Preparedness
The December edition of the EXPRESS newsletter, published by ASPR TRACIE, the Department of Health and Human Services’ healthcare preparedness information gateway, shared findings and recommendations from their Healthcare Coalition Engagement in COVID-19 Assessment, which included:

  • Healthcare Community Coalitions (HCCs) should continue to lead regional healthcare preparedness and response coordination, though some may need modifications to achieve their mission. ​​​​​
  • HCCs are an important building block in the overall healthcare system response. They are a unifier that allows a coordinated scale up from individual facility responses to community and sub-state regional responses to statewide responses to multi-state and national level responses.  
  • Information sharing is an essential role of HCCs, and their situational awareness efforts support resource management decisions and response actions.

Access Report Graphic and Get Link to the Full Report

COVID-Related Resources Available on Alliant Website 
As a strategic partner of the National COVID Resiliency Network (NCRN), Alliant Health Solutions curates and creates resources to help mitigate the effects of COVID-19. Find our COVID-related flyers and other great resources on our NCRN webpage. Get COVID Resources

​​​ Access FREE expert guidance on this topic: Contact Carolyn Kazdan

Safe Glucometer Use Module
​​​​​​The newly released Safe Glucometer module is designed to provide nursing homes with tools to provide and track the education and competency of staff using glucometers. The module contains a pre- and post-test, a link to a brief video training, video transcript, competency tracking and sample action plan for implementation as a Quality Assurance and Performance Improvement (QAPI) project. The module can be used as part of staff orientation, agency competency assessment, as one element of an annual competency assessment or when coaching staff through an individual performance improvement plan. Download Safe Glucometer Module

New Antipsychotic Medication Review Worksheet

Alliant’s new Antipsychotic Medication Review Worksheet tool is designed to assist MDS Coordinators in completing the CMS Minimum Data Set (MDS), Section N, Medications. The worksheet can be used as part of a training program to educate new or contract clinical staff—including MDS coordinators, admissions, social workers, nurse managers and frontline staff—on the multiple considerations associated with antipsychotic medication. This tool can also be used in conjunction with the Alliant Health Solutions Antipsychotic Medication Trigger Tool, the Antipsychotic Medication Rounding Tool and as part of the facility’s overall QAPI program. Get the Antipsychotic Medication Review Worksheet  

Access FREE expert guidance on this topic: Contact Carolyn Kazdan

Members of the Beneficiary & Family Advisory Council are our partners in making health care better. To join us in this important work, contact Mel Brown or submit this referral form.

Browse resources our council has worked on below: 

Loneliness and Social Isolation Linked to Serious Health Conditions
According to a report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, more than one-third of adults aged 45 and older feel lonely, and nearly one-fourth of adults aged 65 and older are considered to be socially isolated. Loneliness and social isolation put them at risk for dementia and other serious medical conditions. Learn More

Chartbook on Person- and Family-Centered Care
A chartbook on person- and family-centered care was developed as part of a family of documents and tools that support the National Healthcare Quality and Disparities Report (QDR). The QDR includes annual reports to Congress mandated in the Healthcare Research and Quality Act of 1999 (P.L. 106-129). The chartbook includes a summary of quality and disparities across measures of person- and family-centered care from the QDR and figures illustrating select measures of person- and family-centered care. A PowerPoint version is also available that users can download for presentations. Get the Chartbook

Contact members of the BFAC via Melody Brown

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This material was prepared by Alliant Health Solutions, 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 (HHS). Views expressed in this document do not necessarily reflect the official views or policy of CMS or HHS, and any reference to a specific product or entity herein does not constitute endorsement or that product or entity by CMS or HHS. 12SOW-AHSQIN-QIO-TO1-NH-TO1-CC-1285-12/30/21
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