Wednesday, December 12, 2012

New Quality Resources!

This post is part of the AHCA/NCAL Quality Initiative Quarterly Update - Fourth Quarter 2012.

 Tracking Hospitalizations in Real Time

Visit the Advancing Excellence website to access the newly-released Safely Reducing Hospitalizations Tracking Tool! Use this Excel-based tool, derived from the pen-and-paper tracking log that is part of the INTERACT program, to establish your organization’s baseline, set a target, and then track 30-day readmissions, hospital admissions, ER visits and hospital transfers resulting in observation stays.



Management Resources to Enhance Organizational Performance

Learn what it takes to make an organization great. The AHCA/NCAL Management Series is a new educational resource for all members - a sequence of webinars designed to offer long term care leaders new insights into key management elements for success.

Taught by teams of nationally-recognized authorities in organizational excellence from within and outside the long term care profession, this series reflects the very best of management practice.

The series can serve as a team-building experience for your staff and help you achieve the AHCA/NCAL Quality Initiative goals. Individual webinars focus on topics including workforce, customer satisfaction, data management, operations and others integral to success in all four goals. Each webinar also links directly to the AHCA/NCAL National Quality Award Program criteria and will be a helpful resource for members engaged in preparing award applications.



Build a Committed and Motivated Workforce

The new staff satisfaction guide from AHCA/NCAL provides practical ways (a lot of them free) leaders can address the most important factors that drive staff satisfaction. Implementing just a few of these could increase your customer satisfaction and business outcomes.


ASSISTED LIVING: Safely Reducing Hospital Readmissions

With approval from the developers of INTERACT, the nurses on NCAL’s Quality Committee and the AALNA Board have revised the INTERACT SBAR and Stop and Watch tools for assisted living, including adding in an SBAR for AL Caregivers and an SBAR for AL Nurses. Check out these tools to help you meet the Quality Initiative Goal of safely reducing hospital readmissions: qualityinitiative.ncal.org.

'Tis the Season: Review Goals, Set Targets

This post is part of the AHCA/NCAL Quality Initiative Quarterly Update - Fourth Quarter 2012.  

Many organizations are preparing for year-end Quality Assurance (QA) meetings and the process of setting 2013 QA targets. Yearly goal-setting sessions provide your team with a clear direction and a focus on outcome-driven results.

That’s why AHCA and NCAL each set measurable targets with the Quality Initiative.

Quality improvement research shows that organizations that set clear and specific targets are more likely to achieve their desired results.

The first step in this process is to look at 2012 data and trends. What goals did you set for 2012? Were you successful in achieving them? Did you take on any unplanned projects or new programs? How did they affect your results? Data is critical to measure progress on your goals. Facilities have access to many reports, such as financial, Quality Improvement (QI), Quality Measures (QM), resident and staff satisfaction surveys, turnover reports, grievance logs and risk management logs to list a few.

As you review your data, some key questions to ask are:
  • Did these trends or results have a negative or positive affect?
  • What type of correlations can we see?
  • Did we accomplish all of the goals? Which goals did we not hit and why?
  • What were the barriers to reaching these targets?
After you have reviewed your trends for 2012, determine which items you want to carry over to 2013, and what new priorities you want to set. Establish new goals for 2013 using the same data sources that you used in the 2012 review. Consider all aspects of care and services, not just clinical outcomes. Setting goals that will challenge your team but are realistically achievable is vital to success. Each goal that you set should be time-specific and measureable.

To start the process, consider:
  • What targets did we miss in 2012 that we want to reach in 2013?
  • Which successes from 2012 do we want to build on and be sure to sustain in 2013?
  • What are our most critical opportunities for improvement?
  • What data are we going to use for trending? QI reports? QM Reports? Logs?
  • Why are these goals important to us as an organization?
  • How are we going to measure our progress on these goals?
There are many free resources that can assist during your goal setting sessions.
  • SMART goal worksheets assist in setting realistic goals
  • PDSA work sheets outline the process for each goal and provide a frame work. This can also be a good tool to use during the review process.
  • LTC Trend Tracker (a free AHCA member benefit) provides up to 12 years of historical data for trending purposes.
  • Advancing Excellence provides numerous data collection and tracking tools that will help you monitor progress in real time, as well as resources to facilitate your quality improvement activities in areas tied to both organizational and clinical goals.
Now that you have reviewed 2012 and prepared for 2013, make sure you have plans in place to achieve buy-in and review progress regularly. Make sure the goals your team set are visible and understood by everyone in the organization. Keep them front and center to ensure a shared and continued focus. Make this the first agenda item in each of your 2013 QA meetings. This will allow the team to stay on track during the year and provides a plan for each of your 2013 meetings.

To enhance your organization’s ability to achieve the best possible results, set realistic and SMART goals, use data to determine trends, and look at all aspects of your care and services during your goal planning session.

What goals will you set in 2013?

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

“Fiscal Cliff Bungee Jumping”


The title of the post is the phrase uttered by former Gov. Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota during a Bloomberg Government briefing this morning: “Downsizing the Deficit.” Senators Mark Warner, Bob Corker and Representative Chris Von Hollen joined Gov. Pawlenty in analyzing the fiscal cliff and they all touched on the effect it will have on the profession.

Lawmakers continue to negotiate to avoid the fiscal cliff which will take place at the beginning of the year if we reach no compromise. All eyes fall to Speaker Boehner and President Obama to negotiate a deal. AHCA has run a series of ads to ask Congress to stop the sequester/fiscal cliff and avoid a 2% across the board Medicare cut for providers.

Sen. Corker lamented that the president, “has to do something with entitlement reform.”

Rep. Van Hollen stressed that we must have a “different approach to Medicare” indicating that the focus should fall on the “value of care rather than the volume of care.”

Gov. Pawlenty echoed those sentiments by referencing “valued added payments.”

And Sen. Warner concluded with what everyone thought, “A real deal would do more for growth than anything else.”

And it’s all a question of political will. AHCA stands ready to help achieve compromise that does not threaten America’s nursing homes and we continually need to call on you as members to be part of that effort.

All on the panel hedged odds at not falling off the cliff as better than 50 percent. What do you think?