A Day in the Life: The residential habilitation certification team ensures safety, quality care for residents

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Sandi Frelly and Michaela Tourville, medical program specialists, meet with residential habilitation agency staff during an agency survey.

The Division of Licensing and Certification – not to be confused with Vital Records or Occupational Licenses – licenses and certifies 18 distinct healthcare facilities and agency types in Idaho on an ongoing basis to make sure residents are safe and are receiving high-quality care.

Residential Habilitation (ResHab) agencies are relatively young agencies, born in the 1990s when there was a big push to integrate people with developmental and/or physical disabilities into the community and out of state-run facilities. ResHab facilities are funded by Medicaid, and provide caretaking and education services to help adults 18 and older and who qualify for the program to learn to live more independently in the community with staff support.

Participants may receive support from ResHab staff that could range from caretaker visits of a few hours per day, to a high or intense level of support, such as 24-hour one-to one support. ResHab staff help participants by providing skills training. This can include multiple areas of skills, such as medication management, daily living skills, socialization, behavior shaping and management, mobilization, and self-direction, which is an option for Medicaid participants who choose which services and supports they will spend their budget on.

The goal is to reduce the level of services participants need by teaching the skills participants need to be safe in the community with minimal support. Every participant has a different plan that is developed with the person-centered planning team to fit their individual needs. Participants sometimes learn skills as simple as wiping a counter top, to complex skills such as identifying and taking the correct bus route, which will increase their independence in mobility.

The Boise ResHab survey team is responsible for protecting these participants by ensuring that the services provided by ResHab staff and facilities are high quality and compliant with all of the rules and regulations they are subject to. The team for this survey includes Eric Brown, Sandi Frelly, and Michaela Tourville. “This job allows me the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of people with disabilities,” Sandi said. Continue reading “A Day in the Life: The residential habilitation certification team ensures safety, quality care for residents”

Licensing and Certification partners with Idaho Healthcare Association for better training and education for members

Many of us have had the frustrating experience of putting in hours of work only to find out we are “reinventing the wheel” because another person, group, or company is doing the exact same thing. In 2018, the department’s Division of Licensing & Certification (L&C), and their partners, the Idaho Healthcare Association (IHCA), realized they were doing just this – unnecessarily duplicating their training and education efforts.

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They put their heads together and came up with an idea. Their solution was to hold an annual educational summit for individuals and organizations. The summit would offer training and educational resources that would address the training needs of those who work in 19 different facility types, with the goal of improving the quality of care for patients.

Among the facility types the division regulates are skilled nursing facilities, assisted living facilities, and Intermediate Care Facilities for Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities. The IHCA represents many of these facilities and works closely with its members toward its mission of “improving lives by delivering solutions for quality care.”

A big part of IHCA’s work includes providing education for their association members. Sensing an opportunity for collaboration, L&C joined forces with IHCA in the spring of 2018 to identify and develop resources and training opportunities for management, clinical, and direct care staff in these three facility types. The first Education Summit was held in November 2018.  Thirty-two individuals representing 11 organizations participated in the summit. Continue reading “Licensing and Certification partners with Idaho Healthcare Association for better training and education for members”

New online search tool makes it easier to find an assisted living facility in Idaho

Idahoans who are searching for an assisted living facility for themselves or a loved one now have another tool, thanks to a new online search available for recent facility inspections completed by the Residential Assisted Living Facility Program in the Division of Licensing and Certification.

The tool allows users to search for facilities in specific areas of the state and ones that accept different types of residents, including those who need a secured environment. It also provides information on the size, location, ownership, administration, and survey and complaint history.

In addition to the ability to search for a facility by name, the new online portal allows users to search for survey reports in three timeframes: the last 90 days, the last 180 days (6 months), or for the past year. The results can be sorted by the location of the facility, the type of survey being done, and the license status, among other criteria.

According to a recent 90-day search, the program had completed 90 surveys.

To search facilities, click here. The recent surveys are available here.

The Residential Assisted Living Facility Program ensures that businesses that provide residential care or assisted living services to Idaho residents comply with state statute and rules through inspections, which are also called surveys. The surveys must be completed before a new facility can accept residents; for re-licensure for established facilities; for follow-up surveys when issues are identified that need to be addressed; and for complaint investigations.

There are 372 assisted living facilities in Idaho, representing more than 10,000 beds. Facilities range in size from six to 152 beds.


New online tool helps Idahoans find the right care for loved ones

The Department of Health and Welfare’s Residential Care and Assisted Living Facilities Program has modernized its facility search webpage to better help Idaho adults with one of the most difficult decisions they face: choosing a quality assisted living residence where their parents or loved ones can receive around-the-clock care and supervision.

Leveraging consumer-style web search features such as filters, ratings and location-specific content, the new Facility Licensing and Regulatory Enforcement System (FLARES) webpage makes searching for assisted living facilities in Idaho faster and easier.

It also provides users with important details – whether Medicaid clients are accepted, the tenure of administrators, which facilities have received awards for outstanding compliance, the nature and veracity of any complaints filed and copies of the facility’s most recent DHW licensing inspection surveys. Continue reading “New online tool helps Idahoans find the right care for loved ones”

Nurse staffing levels in nursing homes is not an easy calculation

A recent editorial in the Idaho Press-Tribune congratulated Holly Lane Rehabilitation and Health Care Center for the work the facility has done to come back into compliance with federal and state requirements. We are also appreciative of the work the facility has done, and we look forward to continuing to work with the facility to ensure sustained compliance.

The editorial also raised some interesting questions about nurse staffing levels in nursing homes. Determining those levels is not as black and white as you might think. It’s a somewhat complicated process with several variables.

We believe it’s important to first work with facilities to fully understand their staffing challenges and work collaboratively to address them. We have a work group that has been meeting for several years that addresses issues such as quality improvement, including staffing levels, in nursing facilities. The group meets quarterly and includes department staff, representatives from nursing facilities, representatives from the Idaho Health Care Association, the state ombudsman, and representatives from Qualis, the quality improvement contractor for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid.  Continue reading “Nurse staffing levels in nursing homes is not an easy calculation”