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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
  • An Introduction to Motivational Interviewing for Health Care 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 
  • The CDC and the National Indian Health Board (NIHB) developed COVID-19 vaccine education materials to improve immunization rates. The NIHB is leading a national effort to advocate and secure resources for Tribes to respond to COVID-19. NIHB seeks to ensure the Tribes remain informed on COVID 19, and have the resources and assistance needed to respond to the pandemic. Get Resources
Your Guide to Masks
To protect yourself and others from COVID-19, the CDC continues to recommend that you wear the most protective mask you can, that fits well and that you wear it consistently. View the Resource

COVID-19 Booster Dose Messaging and Outreach Tools 
To help everyone ages 12 and older to get a COVID-19 booster dose, the Public Health Communication Collaborative created communication resources—including infographics, talking points and sample social media graphics—regarding COVID-19 vaccines. Access the Toolkit
Place Your Order for Free At-Home COVID-19 Tests
Residential households in the United States can order free at-home tests from There is a limit of one order per residential address. One order includes four individual rapid antigen COVID-19 tests. Orders will ship starting in late January. Order Here 

Updated Strategies to Mitigate Health Care Personnel Staffing 
Due to concerns about increased transmissibility of the SARS-CoV-2 omicron variant, the CDC guidance was updated to enhance protection for health care personnel (HCP), patients and visitors, and to address concerns about potential impacts on the health care system given a surge of SARS-CoV-2 infections. View Strategies

Vaccine Updates

Is if Flu, COVID-19, Allergies or a Cold? 
Determining the cause of an illness can be tricky because many share some symptoms. They can leave you sniffling, coughing and feeling tired. But there are important differences.  Figuring out what’s making you sick can help you recover and prevent spreading sickness to others. Read the Article


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

This month’s leadership lesson is from Carolyn Kazdan, Aim lead of community coalitions and nurshing homes.

Strategies to Transend Languishing

“February is the border between winter and spring.” - Terri Guillemets

Spring is often a time of new energy and hope as we put the cold dreariness of winter behind us. Yet, as we enter the third spring of the pandemic, we find ourselves or those around us languishing. Languishing is a concept that organizational psychologist Adam Grant wrote about last year in a New York Times article that remains relevant as we continue to lead teams struggling with the emotional long-haul of the pandemic and with our collective grieving the loss of normalcy.
Grant recommends several strategies for re-finding flow and forging a path out of the void.  

  • Give yourself some uninterrupted time which means setting boundaries.  Uninterrupted time can significantly improve productivity, increasing our ability to find joy and motivation from experiencing a sense of progress. Grant shares that constantly being on email is one factor that leads us to change tasks an average of every ten minutes, resulting in “time confetti.” While it can be difficult in our current environment to set boundaries, try your own quality improvement Plan-Do-Study-Act cycles to manage your calendar. Think about small tests of change and schedule one block of time, one day of the week to start.  
  • Focus on a small goal. To transcend languishing, try starting with small wins by carving out daily time to focus on a challenge that matters to you—an interesting project, a worthwhile goal, a meaningful conversation. Spending time with someone who you can have a positive impact on can reconnect you to your purpose.

For a deeper dive into the concept of languishing and re-finding your flow, visit Adam Grant’s TED talk, How To Stop Languishing and Start Finding Flow, or the New York Times article, “There’s a Name for the Blah You’re Feeling: It’s Called Languishing.” 

​​​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. 

North Carolina To Distribute Free High-Grade Masks to Essential Workers and Vulnerable Populations   
The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) is making high-grade masks available for adults in places such as long-term care facilities and federally qualified health centers, schools, and in populations like migrant farmworkers, who are at higher risk of exposure or severe illness. These organizations and those who provide essential services can request these masks online here. The mask requests will be prioritized.

Florida Nursing Facility Uses Antibody Level Test To Increase Booster Vaccine Uptake
Commons at Orlando Lutheran Tower, a Florida-based skilled nursing facility, shared a technique they used to increase their COVID-19 booster vaccine uptake among residents and staff. First, a team member who had not yet received the booster vaccine took an antibody level test. Then the team member got their booster shot and, 10 days later, had their antibody levels tested again. The difference in antibody levels (and protection) was huge—approximately 200 before being boosted, and over 2000 10 days post-booster shot. The test results are being shared with staff and residents so they can see the difference in protection the booster can have. 

Georgia Nursing Facility Uses Posters To Share Their Vaccination Stories 
Tifton Health and Rehabilitation Center, a skilled nursing facility in Tifton, Ga., shared their campaign to increase their COVID-19 vaccination rates among staff and residents. The facility distributed “I Got Vaccinated For…” posters that could be individualized and decorated. The decorated posters are then displayed throughout the building.

Tennessee Commission on Aging and Disability Conducts “Care Through Conversations” To Address COVID-19 Hardships 
Volunteers with the Tennessee Commission on Aging and Disability conduct weekly calls with older residents to check in on them. During these calls, volunteers check in on the residents, assess needs and see if there is any way they can offer assistance. Learn More 

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 2: Applying Evidenced-Based Best Practices To Prevent, Mitigate and Manage Delirium Across Care Settings: A Multi-Part Series 
    Thursday, February 24 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. Join us for a series of discussions surrounding the following topics related to delirium prevention, identification, treatment and management. Case examples across the health care continuum will be introduced to facilitate relatability.
    Topics for this session include: 
    •  Delirium etiologies
    • Screening tools to identify delirium
    • Roles of the interprofessional team and family/informal supports in delirium prevention and mitigation 
          Register Now

Register for Upcoming LAN Events

Last Month's 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
    Recorded on January 27, 2022 
    This webinar is part 1 of a series of discussions on delirium prevention, identification, treatment and management. 
    Topics for this session include: 
    • Characteristics of delirium
    • Consequences of delirium
    • Risk factors for delirium (established and modifiable)
    • Proposed pathophysiology of delirium

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
  • February 2022 Shop Talk Call
    Thursday, February 17 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​​​​​​

Celebrate International Boost Self-Esteem Month
Self-esteem can be described as how you feel about yourself. Low self-esteem has been liked with increased anxiety, poor health outcomes and troubled relationships. High self-esteem has been associated with increased confidence and a feeling of value to yourself and your community. Learn More


Access FREE expert guidance on this topic: Contact Tanya Vadala

NHSN Weekly COVID-19 Vaccine Summary: Do Not Report Zeroes
Alliant Health Solutions has created this helpful flyer to remind nursing home staff not to report zeros to NHSN. It also offers tips, such as what to do if there are no changes in data from week to week. Download the Flyer 


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

Don’t Miss A Click on Cardiac Care 
Several resources are available to help support you, your teams and your patients as you focus on promoting cardiovascular health during American Heart Month. The CDC website hosts innumerable amounts of valuable content relevant to cardiovascular health. This brief overview is meant to highlight particular resources featured on the CDC’s Resources for Health Care Professionals and the Million Hearts websites that may be of special interest to you and your team.

​​​​CDC Resources for Health Care Professionals 
The resources featured on the CDC’s Resources for Professional’s page address various aspects of cardiac care. The site offers toolkits to boost health promotion messaging and interactive educational materials to engage in a heart-healthy lifestyle. There are also valuable resources to empower patients and encourage self-efficacy in blood pressure control through self-managed blood pressure (SMBP). Various best practice guides and multiple success stories demonstrate how interdisciplinary collaborations across the health care continuum complemented by strong community partnerships can drive significant improvements in patient care. Check out the list of featured resources below:

  1. Hypertension Control Change Package, Second Edition
  2. Self-Management Support and Education
  3. ​​​Self-Measured Blood Pressure Monitoring With Clinical Support
  4. Best Practices for Cardiovascular Disease Prevention Programs
  5. Integrating Community Health Workers on Clinical Care Teams and in the Community

Million Hearts Campaign
The Million Hearts 2022 website is another hub of resources. Make sure to visit the section about Cardiac Rehabilitation. This is a comprehensive multidisciplinary approach to consider implementing to drive improvements in clinical outcomes, especially among patients at the highest risk for further cardiovascular complications. 
Use the Cardiac Rehabilitation Change Package (CRCP) to help guide your quality improvement initiatives centered on raising awareness, bolstering referrals and promoting the utilization of cardiac rehabilitation within your practice setting, across your networks and community partnerships. CR encompasses 36 one-hour of physical or occupational therapy sessions, medical nutrition therapy and behavioral health services to address the psychosocial factors of chronic disease. Use these strategies to help connect the 90% of eligible patients that are not accessing vital cardiac rehabilitation services due to lack of timely referrals. 
The list below features go-to resources about CR.

  1. Cardiac Rehabilitation and Your Heart
  2. Cardiac Rehabilitation – Saving Lives, Restoring Health, Preventing Disease
  3. Cardiac Rehabilitation Change Package
  4. Cardiac Rehabilitation Focus Area: Referrals
  5. The Million Hearts® Cardiac Rehabilitation Collaborative (CRC)

Access FREE expert guidance on this topic: Contact Ingris Garcia

Family Presence Policy Decision-Making Toolkit 
Planetree International created a Family Presence Policy Decision-Making Toolkit to support organizational decision-makers revisiting or revising visitation and care partner presence policies during pandemic surges. IHI, AHCA, the National Quality Forum and the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses contributed to the toolkit. The toolkit includes an interactive decision-making tool with recommendations based on scored risk levels. Download the Decision-Making Tool | Download the Full Toolkit 

Transitional Care Management Services 
CMS created a booklet that outlines transitional care services during the “30-day period,” which begins when a physician discharges the patient from an inpatient stay and continues for the next 29 days. Medicare may cover these services to help patients transition back to a community setting after staying at certain facilities. The booklet is also an excellent resource for developing the framework of your care transitions programs. The 30-day TCM services start the day of discharge from one of the following inpatient or partial hospitalization settings:

  • Inpatient acute care hospital 
  • Inpatient psychiatric hospital​​​​​
  • Long-term care hospital
  • Skilled nursing facility
  • Inpatient rehabilitation facility
  • Hospital outpatient observation or partial hospitalization
  • Partial hospitalization at a community mental health center

After inpatient discharge, the patient must return to their community setting. These could include the patient’s home, domiciliary, nursing home or assisted living facility. This booklet focuses on covered services, location, who may provide services, supervision, billing services, documenting services and service benefits. Download the Booklet 

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

Five Minute Learning Modules for Frontline Staff 
The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) released three self-paced learning videos on emotional and organization support for those on the front lines of nursing home care, including nursing assistants, housekeeping, dietary, maintenance staff and others.
The three learning modules feature strategies to help nursing home teams recognize and manage stress, work together to tackle common challenges and practice open communication. The module topics are (1) Identifying & Overcoming Anxiety, (2) Tackling Stress is a Team Effort and (3) Supporting Each Other in the Quest to Reduce Stress.
The modules, a Learning Module Guide with tips for incorporating the learning modules into facility training programs, and a flyer to display in employee areas to introduce staff to the learning modules are available on the AHRQ website. Access Resources 

New Delirium Toolkit 
Alliant’s new Comparison of Delirium, Dementia and Depression resource was shared during the first of our four-part webinar series on delirium. Delirium can be a significant predictor of readmissions, and patients and residents with delirium are staff-intensive. Nursing homes and other care settings can use this resource for quick reference, staff education or competency assessment. Download Toolkit | Register for Next Webinar Series 

Guidance for Medical Exemptions to Vaccination 
The AMDA–The Society for Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine released two new forms to support decision-making on the validity of staff COVID-19 vaccination medical exemption requests. The two forms, “Nursing Home Request for Medical Exemption from COVID-19 Vaccination” and “Template for Staff with Vaccination Exemptions,” along with AMDA’s guidance and recommendations, can be downloaded for free from the AMDA website. Get Resources

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: 

Tips for Older Adults to Stay Safe During Winter Months
Older adults are more sensitive to cold (and heat) than younger adults. Body temperature below 95°F, or hypothermia, increases their risk of heart disease and kidney or liver damage, especially if they have a history of low body temperature or have had hypothermia in the past. Learn More

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-1436-01/31/22
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