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NAHC Report: Issue# 2444, 6/6/2014
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CMS to Surveyors: Certain Infection Control Breaches Warrant Referral to Authorities
NAHC Statement on the Confirmation of Sylvia Mathews Burwell as Secretary of Health and Human Services
For Your Information: NAHC Announces Keynote Speakers for NAHC Annual Meeting
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CMS to Surveyors: Certain Infection Control Breaches Warrant Referral to Authorities

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently issued a Memorandum (Infection Control Breaches Which Warrant Referral to Public Health Authorities) to State Survey Agency (SA) Directors outlining specific infection control breaches that, when identified by either state surveyors or accrediting organization (AO) surveyors, should be referred to state authorities for public health assessment and management.  The instructions outlined in the Memorandum are effective immediately.  Certain infection control breaches pose a risk of bloodborne pathogen transmission and warrant referral to public health authorities in order that appropriate risk assessment and - when necessary - patient notification can be conducted.  These are outside the authority of CMS, and the agency is therefore providing guidance to SAs and AOs on appropriate steps that must be taken to correct the deficient practices and ensure that responsible state authorities are notified. The memo directs SAs to consult with their state’s Healthcare Associated Infections (HAI) Prevention Coordinator or State Epidemiologist to identify the preferred referral process for such breaches.  AOs are expected to refer such breaches to the appropriate state public health contact. 

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NAHC Statement on the Confirmation of Sylvia Mathews Burwell as Secretary of Health and Human Services

The Senate recently confirmed Sylvia Mathews Burwell as the next Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) by a 78 – 17 vote. She is replacing Kathleen Sebelius, who announced that she was leaving HHS in April. Val J. Halamandaris, president of the National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) released the following statement on the confirmation of Ms. Burwell as the next Secretary of HHS.

“NAHC is pleased that Sylvia Mathews Burwell has been confirmed as Secretary of HHS. She brings a wealth of health care and budget experience from her previous work in both the private and public sectors. She will be an outstanding secretary, and the home care and hospice industry looks forward to working with her to provide high-quality health care in America.”

Ms. Burwell will take the healm of HHS just prior to the second Open Enrollment period of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), in October 2014, and will be in charge of an agency tasked with implementing certain elements of the ACA that are still controversial. Aside from the Open Enrollment period, as well as Mediciad expansion in some states, Ms. Burwell will also be succeeding Secretary Sebelius as the public face of the website specfically, as well as the broader  implimentation of the ACA.

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NAHC Announces Keynote Speakers for NAHC Annual Meeting

The National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) is pleased to announce three new high-profile speakers for its Annual Meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, on October 19 - 22, 2014. Featured speakers include Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), Chairman, Senate Finance Committee; former U.S. Representative Gabby Giffords; and her husband, astronaut and retired U.S. Navy captain Mark Kelly.

“We are honored and delighted to have Chairman Wyden join us at our annual Meeting,” said NAHC President Val J. Halamandaris. “And we are proud to bring our members two of our nation’s most-respected heroes — Gabby Giffords and Mark Kelly.”

Senator Ron Wyden is scheduled to speak Sunday, October 19, 2014. He is the senior U.S. Senator for Oregon, serving since 1996, and a former member of the U.S. House of Representatives, where he served from 1981 to 1996. Whether he’s taking on powerful interests, listening to constituents at one of his famous town hall meetings, or standing up for Oregonians on the Senate floor, Wyden is an effective leader on issues that matter most. He now serves on the Committees on Finance, Budget, and Intelligence, along with the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. He is also chairman of the Senate Finance Committee and ranking Democrat on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

Former U.S. Representative Gabby Giffords is known across the country for her resilience in the face of violence, and for her consensus-building leadership in Congress. First elected to Arizona's 8th Congressional District seat in 2006, she went on to win re-elections in 2008 and 2010. Then, on January 8, 2011, a would-be assassin opened fire at a local event in Tucson, where Giffords was meeting with constituents. Six people were killed, and 13 others were injured in the attack. Among the injured was Giffords, who sustained a gunshot wound to the head and faced immediate neurosurgery to treat her life-threatening injuries. She resigned her Congressional seat in January 2012 but has gone on to lobby for public safety and share her story nationwide.

Mark Kelly is an American astronaut, retired U.S. Navy captain, bestselling author, prostate cancer survivor, and experienced naval aviator who flew combat missions during the Gulf War. As an astronaut, he flew his first of four missions in 2001 aboard Space Shuttle Endeavour, the same space shuttle that he commanded on its final flight in May 2011. He has also commanded Space Shuttle Discovery and is one of only two individuals who have visited the International Space Station on four different occasions. The mantra of the space program has long been “Failure is not an option.” And he has seen the true meaning of the phrase right at home as watches his wife’s relentless work to make the world a better place.

Giffords and Kelly are scheduled to speak on Sunday, October 19, 2014. For a taste for what’s in store, read their bestselling memoir, Gabby, in which they share their story of hope and resilience with the world. This inspiring account has topped multiple bestseller lists, including the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and Amazon. Together, Giffords and Kelly show the power of the human spirit to overcome obstacles and succeed against the odds.

Additional keynote speakers are still being finalized.

For more information on the NAHC Annual Meeting, please click here.

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