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

In This Issue:
The Latest News from CMS


CMS Enhances Nursing Home Rating System with Staffing and Turnover Data
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) launched its enhanced Nursing Home Five-Star Quality Rating System, which integrates data nursing homes report on their weekend staffing rates for nurses and information on annual turnover among nurses and administrators. The updated Star Ratings increase transparency in support of the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to improving the quality of nursing homes so nursing home residents receive the reliable, quality care they deserve. Learn More


Upcoming Learning & Action Network (LAN) Events
  • Combined Partnerships for Community Health and Nursing Homes: Move the Needle: Tactics for a Successful Immunization Campaign​​​​
    Thursday, August 25 at 12:30 p.m. ET / 11:30 a.m. CT (30 min.)
    **ANCC Contact Hours Awarded to Participants**
    “Get Back on Track with Routine Vaccines” is the focus of National Immunization Month. Join us as we talk about current guidance and documentation, energizing your teams for a successful campaign, and elevating the importance of vaccination status in patient transfer documentation. You’ll learn the steps to create a successful vaccine campaign, understand best practices for documentation and transfer of vaccine status across care transitions, and learn about this year’s campaign. 
    Register Now 

Register for Upcoming LAN Events

​Last Month's Learning & Action Network (LAN) Events

  • Combined Partnerships for Community Health and Nursing Homes: Live Discussion With a Patient/Caregiver: Lessons Learned, Best Practices and Resources to Reduce Readmissions
    Recorded on July 28
    In this webinar, Peg, a semi-retired nurse and valued Alliant Health Solutions Beneficiary and Family Advisory Council member, shared her experience as a patient and a care partner. Participants learned about our readmission reduction toolkit and obtained resources to engage patients and support safe transitions.
    ​​​​View Slides | Watch Recording

    Watch Previous LAN Events and Bite-Size Learnings

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
Partnership for Community Health LAN Attendees: Click here


Upcoming Infection Prevention Shop Talks
  • August 2022 Shop Talk Call
    Thursday, August 18 at 2 p.m. ET / 1 p.m. CT (60 min.)

    **ANCC Contact Hours Awarded**
    Join the Alliant Health Solutions Patient Safety Team to get updates on the National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN) system and CMS requirements. There will be a live question and answer session to help with your immediate needs. Submitting data accurately into NHSN will help you more confidently plan your risk assessments and quality improvement initiatives. 
    ​​​​Register Now
View Previous Shop Talks

Join the Alliant Health Solutions-LTC NHSN Group!
Joining the group and conferring rights to Alliant Health Solutions-LTC to view NHSN data allows for seamless support and technical assistance.
View Step-By-Step Guide


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

This month’s leadership lesson is from Julie Kueker, Alliant Health Solutions program director for Alabama, Florida and Louisiana. 

Kindness Found Amid the Pandemic: Lessons From the Field

“In a world where you can be anything, be kind.” – Unknown

I see this quote almost daily. It has been posted on a restaurant sign near me for months. For most, it is just a friendly suggestion. Every time I see it, I remember the lessons in kindness I learned from so many health care providers and leaders amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The pandemic and COVID-19 had health care settings scrambling for best practices to provide quality and timely care. As you can imagine, the staff bore the brunt of the stress associated with massive changes to policies and procedures. However, Alliant Health Solutions heard many inspirational stories of kindness and nurturing each other to combat stress, including: 

  • Posting inspirational quotes near the PPE stations for all to see
  • Bringing in mental health professionals
  • Granting mental health PTO days that didn’t count against the staff PTO bank 
  • Going grocery shopping for CNAs
  • Writing thank you notes to the staff for their hard work
  • Listening to the stories and acknowledging the journey 

Since COVID is not done with us yet, it is important to remember that your staff is still under stress. According to the CDC, it is critical that you recognize what stress looks like and take steps to build your resilience. Here are some of the CDC’s tips to cope and enhance resilience:

  • Communicate with your coworkers, supervisors and employees about job stress.
  • Remind yourself that everyone is in an unusual situation with limited resources.
  • Identify and accept the things that you do not have control over.
  • Recognize that you are performing a crucial role in fighting this pandemic and doing the best you can with the available resources.
  • Increase your sense of control by keeping a consistent daily routine when possible.

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. 

Tips for Supporting Children During COVID Vaccination
The University of Kentucky published helpful tips and tricks on how to support children during COVID-19 vaccination. Visit their website to read their advice. Visit Site

Louisiana Department of Health Resumes Long-Term Care Office Hours
The Louisiana Department of Health is resuming its biweekly Zoom office hours every other Friday at 10 a.m. CT. These office hours allow long-term care facilities to ask questions about how to operationalize infection control methods in light of COVID-19 and hear success stories shared by other facilities. Learn More  

North Carolina Providing Free At-Home COVID Tests to Residents
The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) is doubling down on at-home testing for COVID-19. The NCDHHS established community access points in all counties to distribute the free at-home COVID-19 tests. Learn More 

Tennessee Department of Health Collaborates With Project Firstline
​​​​​The Tennessee Department of Health is collaborating with the CDC’s Project Firstline, which provides online infection control training for health care workers. Project Firstline’s content is designed so that—regardless of a health care worker’s previous training or educational background—they can understand and confidently apply the infection control principles and protocols necessary to protect themselves, their facility, their family, and their community from infectious disease threats, such as COVID-19. For more information about the TDH’s collaboration with Project Firstline, email Katherine Witcher at Learn More About Project Firstline

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

Health Equity Corner
Alliant Health Solutions' health equity lead, Rosa Abraha, curated the following health trainings, events and resources related to health equity. Check out the resources listed below. 
  • Video: Utilizing the Social Vulnerability Index to Identify Community Needs. Presented by Bruce Spurlock, MD, president and CEO of Cynosure Health. Watch Recording
  • Study: Does Racism Impact Healthcare Quality? Perspectives of Black and Hispanic/Latino Patients. This study shows that Black and Hispanic/Latino patients who experience racism in health care report worse views on the quality of their care and lower trust in their clinicians. These findings suggest that eliminating racism at the organization and clinician level may improve quality of care for patients of color. Read the Study

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



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

View All COVID-19 News & Resources

Training & Resources

  • Take 5: Visit the Alliant Health Solutions website to find resources on COVID-19. We are currently working on a series of five-minute educational YouTube videos that focus on the most requested topics related to COVID-19 and the COVID-19 vaccine. Visit Website 
    Check out the series—These are great resources to use in your morning standup meetings! 
    • Introductory – How to Use Take 5
    • Vaccine Eligibility Part 1
    • Vaccine Eligibility Part 2
    • Overcoming Refusals
    • Additional Precautions for Unvaccinated HCP
    • Walkthrough Care Compare
    • How to Stay Up To Date With Trusted Resources
    • Booster and Variants
    • Impacting Booster Update for Short Stay
    • Cohorting
  • Visit the Alliant Health Solutions Give the Boost A Shot webpage for up-to-date resources, events, newsletter information and more, including social media graphics and flyers. Visit Website
  • Visitor Talking Point-Visitor Flyer
  • Attention Visitor Flyer
Upcoming Safe Visitor Policy and Cohorting Plan Assessment
CMS requested Alliant Health Solutions, your QIN-QIO, to work with nursing homes to understand emerging health care needs in the skilled nursing facility and ensure plans addressing safe visitors and cohorting are in place to achieve and maintain health quality and equity. Over the next several months, Alliant Health Solutions will be reaching out to your nursing homes via phone and email to answer two quick questions: 
  • Does your facility have a formal cohorting plan?  
  • Does your facility have a formal Safe Visitor Policy?  
We appreciate your timely response to this CMS-driven directive. Additional information will be provided soon.

Give the Boost a Shot Education and Office Hours Event: Novavax: Game Changer for the Unvaccinated?
Thursday, August 4 at 2 p.m. ET / 1 p.m. CT (45 min.)
**ANCC Contact Hours Awarded**
This session will discuss the recently EUA-approved Novavax COVID-19 vaccine, how it differs from the currently authorized COVID-19 vaccines, and how it could be a game changer for your unvaccinated residents and staff. Presenters: Dr. Swati Gaur and Lisa Davies
Register Here

COVID-19 Workforce Virtual Toolkit: Resources for Healthcare Decision-Makers Responding to COVID-19 Workforce Concerns 
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response developed a collection of training resources for decision-makers managing healthcare workforce challenges in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Resources include COVID-19 Health Equity, Healthcare Workforce Training, Workforce Solutions from the Field and more. Get Resources

NCRN COVID-19 Resources
Alliant Health Solutions is a strategic partner in the Morehouse School of Medicine National COVID-19 Resiliency Network (NCRN) in mitigating the effects of COVID-19. Check out our video on building resiliency in the face of the pandemic:
Access FREE expert guidance on this topic: Contact Jeremy Bischoff

International Overdose Awareness Day August 31, 2022 
International Overdose Awareness Day is observed on August 31, 2022, to raise awareness and commemorate those who have been lost to a drug overdose. Death from overdose is a public health issue that transcends internationally. International Overdose Awareness Day advocates for destigmatizing death by overdose by providing support to those who have lost friends or family to overdose-related deaths. As well as spreading the message that drug overdose is preventable. Learn More

DEA National Fentanyl Day Prevention and Awareness Day August 21, 2022 
National Fentanyl Day Prevention and Awareness Day is observed on August 21, 2022, serves to remember those who were lost to illicit fentanyl poisoning. The Drug Enforcement Administration coordinates with fentanyl awareness organizations and affected families sharing their experiences. Illicit fentanyl is 100 times more potent than morphine and 50 times stronger than heroin. Fentanyl test strips are usually available through local state health departments. Learn more about the danger of illicit fentanyl here or here

988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline 
On July 16, 2022, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255) transitioned to an easy-to-remember, three-digit number (988). This represents an unprecedented opportunity to strengthen and expand the existing network of over 200 locally operated and funded crisis centers across the country. Learn More

CMS Chronic Pain Journey Map 
The Chronic Pain Experience Journey Map highlights the most prominent barriers experienced by people accessing care and the influencers acting on providers, ultimately affecting the person with chronic pain, their quality of care, and their quality of life. Download the Chronic Pain Journey Map

Access FREE expert guidance on this topic: Contact Tanya Vadala

COVID-19 and Infection Prevention and Control
According to a USA TODAY analysis of Johns Hopkins University data, 18 states reported more coronavirus cases in the week of June 30-July 7 than in the week before, which led to a rise in hospitalizations. Read Article


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 Amy Ward

Be Part of the “One Voice, One Vision To Save and Heal Lives” Campaign  
A collaboration of 12 national organ, eye, and tissue organizations, transplantation foundations, and multicultural and minority education associations, known as the National Organ, Eye, and Tissue Donation Multicultural Action Group (NMAG), bring to light the need to address health inequities in organ donation and transplantation among members of multicultural, minority communities during National Minority Donor Awareness (NMDAM) Month in August. According to Donate Life America, there are approximately 100,000 people currently waiting for an organ or tissue transplant. More than half of those organ transplant candidates represent people from African American, Hispanic, Asian/Pacific Islander and Native American communities. Unfortunately, racial and ethnic minority communities experience higher rates of chronic conditions like diabetes, hypertension, chronic and end-stage kidney disease, liver, and heart disease, which may contribute to organ failure. The Office of Minority Health (OMH) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recognizes lower organ donation and transplantation rates among ethnic and racial minority communities. African American, Hispanic, Asian/Pacific Islander, and Native American transplant candidates are often registered for organ transplantation later in their disease process and wait longer on organ procurement lists. 
The “One Voice, One Vision To Save And Heal Lives” campaign focuses on:

  • Raising awareness of the need for increased organ donation and transplantation among multicultural, minority communities
  • Providing education and access to resources that support transplant candidates in navigating the organ transplant care continuum
  • ​​Encouraging potential organ donors to register to give the gift of life while helping to bridge the gap between the demand for organ transplants and the supply of donated organs available to those in need

The campaign also promotes the role of a healthful lifestyle that encompasses healthy eating, daily exercise, and physical and mental well-being in the prevention of diseases that often lead to a need for organ transplantation. 

Do your part in observing National Minority Donor Awareness Month by spreading the positive messaging of the “One Voice, One Vision To Save And Heal Lives” campaign to your patients, providers, fellow stakeholders, colleagues, family, and friends. Get Resources

Access the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) resources and tools for transplant professionals here.

Access FREE expert guidance on this topic: Contact Ingris Garcia

Engaging Communities in Disaster Preparedness, Response and Recovery 
The CMS recommends that all community coalitions or communities of partnership include Community Organizations Active in Disaster (COADs). Communities that bring resources together in a COAD can increase the effectiveness of their response to the needs of disaster survivors in a timely way. The Extension Disaster Education Network (EDEN) Resource Catalog has resources and examples of materials for each step of the COAD planning and development process to develop your community’s COAD. No two disasters are alike, and the EDEN resources provide a framework for community collaboration on your community’s emergency preparedness priorities. Learn More

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

Get Back on Track with Routine Vaccines 
National Immunization Awareness Month is an annual observance held in August to highlight the importance of vaccination for people of all ages. The CDC National Immunization Awareness website has resources to assist throughout the year, including toolkits, newsletter content and social media graphics. Learn More

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: 

Medicare Beneficiaries at a Glance 
The CMS has developed the Medicare Beneficiaries at a Glance infographic, which provides a visual summary of Medicare beneficiaries, including types of coverage, utilization, the average cost for specific services, top chronic conditions, beneficiary satisfaction and access to care, and usual source of care. Visit the Site

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-AHS TO1-CH TO1-NH--2377-07/29/22
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