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On October 1, 2016, the new changes to Section S of the MDS (Minimum Data Set) for the State of Illinois will go into effect. These updates are significant changes and, unlike the prior Section S, this new item set will require corroboration between social services and the clinical team. If you haven't already, now is the time to establish a process to accurately fulfill this requirement: compliance in this area will eventually be reported, enforced, and impact Medicaid reimbursement.

Section S is a State defined Section of the MDS 3.0 and is required for each MDS submitted to the national repository and ultimately the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS). 

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The Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS) announced on August 24, 2016 that they are expanding enrollment for the Supportive Living Program for dementia care settings for experienced healthcare providers. The application process will require interested parties to demonstrate experience in working with individuals in a dementia care setting.

Dementia care patients are those who have a mental inability that is severe enough to prevent an individual from being able to perform normal activities of daily living. Diagnosis that are commonly found in dementia care patients include Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, Huntington's disease, or mixed dementia.  

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In response to the industry concerns regarding Call Reporting preparation and related costs, the FFIEC has approved burden-reducing revisions to Call Reports effective September 30, 2016 and March 31, 2017.  These revisions still need to be approved by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget and the FFIEC made some minor modifications since the revisions proposed in September 2015.     

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As everyone in the financial institution industry is knee-deep in its analysis of the new Current Expected Credit Loss ("CECL") model guidance issued by the Financial Accounting Standards Board ("FASB") in June 2016, the questions on every financial institution's finance team are: "What model should I use?" and "What data do I need?"  The FASB did not specify which model or methodology should be used and as a result, it is at the discretion of the financial institution to choose the correct model that fits that institution's loan portfolio and risk profile, as well as the skills, experience and knowledge of the finance team and the cost/benefit of running the institution.  

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A potential convergence of multiple negative trends in the commercial real estate market could create added volatility as slowing growth in China, depressed oil prices and debt maturities threaten to reduce U.S. commercial real estate prices by as much as five percent during the next year.  Even the largest property market in the U.S. (New York) is expected to see a significant reduction in real estate transactions this year.  Moreover with the added issues present in the commercial mortgage-backed securities markets, price growth has continued to be reduced.      

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The results of the recent American Banker/Reputation Institute Survey of Bank Reputations showed that in the reputation rankings of banks –large, regional and nontraditional- large banks come in third place in the overall rankings. As the economy is improving there seems to be a consistent rise in the overall reputation of banks and we are seeing large banks starting to make a comeback. Large banks are developing strategies to improve their ranking and are striving to enhance their customer reputation. It would also be expected that regional and nontraditional banks begin a push to enhance their reputations as well, which should drive improvements in the industry as a whole. 

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Health care industry manufacturers reported $7.52 billion in payments and ownership and investment interests to physicians and teaching hospitals in 2015.  

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At a time where costs are rising and margin pressure continues to grow, certain institutions consistently perform above the rest. These top performers have specific common characteristics that drive their success. All of these common characteristics relate to the leadership and culture that management creates within the institution. Financial institution management should use the top performing institutions as role models, identify the keys to their success and implement strategies that will fit within the environment of their own institution.  

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A recent FICO survey revealed that 29 percent of millennials will move their money out of a financial institution that has experienced a fraudulent incident. This percentage was higher than older generations. The plethora of options for consumers in the financial institution industry as well as the ease of switching has partially driven the trend for millennials to make a change should their bank be the victim of some kind of attack. Although most institutions have similar defenses against fraudulent activity, this hasn't prevented millennials from closing accounts and moving to other institutions. The public perception may be inaccurate, but the ease with which one can switch institutions emphasizes the importance of a strong cybersecurity system to safeguard against fraudulent activity and retain customers. 

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As with most industries, advancements in technology and consumer habits have been changing the landscape in which financial institutions engage and provide services to their customers.  Industry experts expect certain trends during 2016 that are hallmarks of this evolving environment to continue, such as increased mobile and remote banking and fewer customers actually making the trip to a physical branch.

These experts also anticipate that technology used mostly by larger banks, like remote deposits, chip cards, and support for mobile payments (e.g. Apple pay), will pick up steam with smaller, regional institutions as these technologies become more engrained in the consumer space.  Actual financial product offerings, though, are generally expected to remain the same.  Overall, institutions wanting to keep up with industry trends should focus their efforts on integrating technologies that provide competitive mobile and remote tools and services for customers who are becoming more accustomed to having these options available to them; whereas, altering the lineup or structure of products seems to be under much less of a spotlight. 

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