Tuesday, April 2, 2013

There’s No Time Like the Present

Start Preparing for QAPI!

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires that each nursing center in the nation develop a Quality Assurance/Performance improvement (QAPI) program. CMS is currently developing the regulation that will implement this section of the ACA, and AHCA expects it to be published by 2014. Once the regulation is finalized, facilities will have one year to implement it and have a QAPI program in place.

But there is no reason to wait and watch from the sidelines - many facilities across the country have already started incorporating QAPI principles into their facility and are using them to structure their quality improvement programs and achieve better results. The time is now to prepare for QAPI!

What is QAPI?
QAPI is an organizational framework. It extends across your entire organization, all departments and all levels of service. The QAPI framework takes a systems-based approach to quality improvement. QAPI is not all new, it builds upon and strengthens the processes a facility already has in place. Some key principles of QAPI include:
  • a strong leadership system; 
  • using data to make decisions and set targets; 
  • chartering performance improvement teams to tackle specific projects; 
  • using root cause analysis; and 
  • using established performance improvement methods. 
QAPI directly aligns with and can be supported by the criteria of the AHCA/NCAL National Quality Award program and both can be very helpful to facilities striving to meet the AHCA Quality Initiative goals.

Is This One More Thing I Need to Do?
The AHCA Quality Initiative, the Quality Award program and QAPI are all grounded in the same theories; facilities should follow a data-driven, evidence-based approach to quality improvement, whereby each facility has a process to assess quality and ensure that the results of these efforts lead to sustained quality improvement. 

Facilities can use the framework from the Quality Award program and QAPI to develop their improvement efforts related to the four Quality Initiative goals. For example, if a facility determines that they need to increase their staff stability, they may charter a team with a mission of improving staff stability, and give the team the authority and resources to act. The team may begin by assessing the data sources and trends, and identifying the root cause of the issue. The team can then develop strategies to test the improvements, monitor results and act accordingly. The approach should be systematic and repeatable, to prevent future issues. 

How to Prepare for QAPI?
If this is new to you, here are some key resources that will help you get started:

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