McKnight's Online Expo offers free continuing education units for the first time

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McKnight's Online Expo offers free continuing education units for the first time
McKnight's Online Expo offers free continuing education units for the first time
In this down-turned economy, when most things seem to be getting more difficult to accomplish or acquire, there is one high-quality endeavor bucking the trend.

It's a recent innovation in terms of long-term care trade education and exhibitions, and it has sprouted more opportunities for the long-term care provider. And the enhanced offerings still come without a price tag, as in gratis, kostfrei … FREE.

The McKnight's Online Expo gathers national experts in your office—or wherever you power up your computer—for two cost-free days of educational sessions and exhibits. This year, attendees also can earn up to five continuing education credits toward nursing home administrator requirements. They just need to dial up and “attend” the sessions.

Experts will discuss technology tools that spur quality improvement, how providers can deal with increasing demands over wound care, and the latest wrinkles in the new MDS 3.0 system on the horizon. There also will be sessions on how to evaluate your marketplace in this turbulent economy, and discussions on the latest news and developments regarding Medicare and Medicaid payments.

This virtual trade show will take place March 25-26, with three sessions the first day and two the second.
The price is right

Registration and attendance are free, as is the application for CEUs. The only thing one needs to attend and take part is a computer with a sufficient Internet connection. Registration takes place at

The sessions are recommended for all long-term care professionals, as they will have crossover appeal and applications.

In addition, nearly 20 vendors will display their products and services in virtual trade booths, which also will be accessible via your keyboard.  The ability to “surf” the show this way is unique.

Visitors can wander in and out to browse literature or displays about the latest products, or even conduct private discussions with experts at their booths.

In other words, this is a trade show without the expensive airline tickets, hassle of getting to and from the airport, car rentals, costly hotel rooms or other accumulating bills.

Past McKnight's virtual trade show attendees have raved about the ability to close their office doors, put their feet up and concentrate on the session at hand —all while not losing grip of the daily flow of activities that otherwise would pile up during a trip out of town.

Esteemed speakers

The hour-long sessions kick off at 11 a.m. (Eastern Time) March 25 with a keynote presentation on using technology to improve quality outcomes. Take-aways will include strategies to help boost scores on the new federal Five-Star Quality Rating System for nursing homes.

Susan Coppola and Ed Tyson, senior vice president of clinical operations and vice president of process improvement at Sun Healthcare, respectively, will be the featured speakers.

They recently led Sun—with more than 24,000 skilled nursing beds, the fifth-largest for-profit nursing home chain in the United States—through a vast overhaul and upgrade of its information technology infrastructure. They will offer “real world” observations and advice for operators.

“It doesn't matter if you're just beginning to consider what you should be doing differently or are  an early adopter, this is a session you're not going to want to miss,” says McKnight's Vice President and Associate Publisher John O'Connor, who will moderate the session.

“If you have the right technology tools, and use them correctly, you can lower costs – and improve outcomes.”

After a two-hour break for browsing the exhibit hall or attending to matters around the office, attendees will then be able to tune in to “Wound care: Providers are under more pressure” at 2 p.m. (Eastern).

Donna Sardina, the co-founder and president of the Wound Care Education Institute, will give attendees relief when it comes to concerns about of pressure ulcers and other aspects of wound care.

“This is a critical time to keep up to date on wound care because antiquated practices or, ‘We have always done it this way,' just doesn't cut it anymore,” says Sardina, who is also a featured McKnight's “Ask the Expert” columnist. “Surveyors have been trained and are up-to-date on standards of wound care and expect you to be also.”

While offering advice on how to spend wisely on wound care and improve care outcomes at the same time, Sardina also will discuss new developments in regulatory, clinical and reimbursement matters related to wound care.

The first day of the expo will wrap up with “MDS 3.0 is coming–are you ready?” Numerous milestones are still expected for the new version of the Minimum Data Sets, which as of press time is still being readied for an Oct. 1 rollout. But those, and many other details of this hugely important program, remain to be seen.

One of the most outspoken authorities on MDS 3.0, Leah Klusch, the executive director of the Alliance Training Center, will guide providers through the highly charged topic.

“It will be all about strategies: how to prepare and what the changes in the database will give the payors and regulators as they evaluate facilities,” Klusch said. “Expect a very interactive and thought-provoking session.”
Reality hits home

The second day of the conference will begin with what should be a hot topic for all involved: The effects of the economy on current market conditions, and what can be done about them.

The session, “Sizing up new marketplace realities,” will focus on quality and capital acquisition and be led by Michael Hargrave, vice president of the NIC Market Area Profiles (NIC MAP) data and analysis service.

“The turbulent national economy is affecting eldercare and seniors housing in a variety of ways, some of them expected, some of them not so expected,” Hargrave said.

He'll offer advice on how providers can act “proactively” to best position themselves until economic conditions improve.

The final session, “Medicare, Medicaid and the year ahead,” will focus on some of the most important policies affecting long-term care providers.

“We'll take a look at the current federal Medicaid program and payment overview,” said Joy Morrow, Ph.D., senior clinical consultant with Hansen, Hunter & Company. She will lead the session along with Peter Gruhn, director of research for the American Health Care Association.

“We'll also discuss the (Medicaid) rule delays in detail and look at implementation outcomes,” she added.

Recordings of each session will be archived and available to registered individuals on the McKnight's Online Expo Web site for 60 days.