Wednesday, May 13, 2015

AHCA Announces New Quality Initiative Goals

Andrea Todd

On May 7, the American Health Care Association (AHCA) announced the expansion of the Quality Initiative to further improve quality care in skilled nursing care centers. For the next three years, the Initiative will challenge member organizations to apply the nationally recognized Baldrige Performance Excellence Framework to achieve more ambitious targets in eight areas with a special focus on three priorities—organizational success; short-stay/post-acute care; and long-term/dementia care.

These areas are aligned with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)’ Quality Assurance/Performance Improvement (QAPI) program and federal mandates, such as the Five-Star and the Improving Medicare Post-Acute Care Transformation (IMPACT) Act.

The goals of the Quality Initiative include new areas of focus for quality enhancement. The eight target areas and priorities are:

Priority: Improve Organizational Success by:

· Increasing staff stability by decreasing turnover among nursing staff by 15 percent or achieve and maintain turnover of less than 40 percent by March 2018;
· Ensuring at least 25 percent of members measure and report long-stay resident and family satisfaction and/or short-stay satisfaction using the Core-Q survey;
· Reduce the number of unintended health care outcomes by March 2018;

Priority: Improve Short-Stay/Post-Acute Care by:

· Safely reducing the number of hospital readmissions within 30 days during a skilled nursing center stay by an additional 15 percent or achieve and maintain a low rate of 10 percent by March 2018;
· Improving discharge back to the community by 10% or achieve and maintain a high rate of at least 70 percent by March 2018;
· Ensuring at least 25 percent of members adopt and use the mobility and self-care sections of the CARE tool and report functional outcome measures using LTC Trend TrackerSM;

Priority: Improve Long-Term/Dementia Care by:

· Safely reducing the off-label use of antipsychotics in long-stay nursing center residents by an additional 10 percent by December 2015 and 15 percent by December 2016;
· Safely reducing hospitalizations among long-stay residents by 15 percent or achieve and maintain a low rate of 10 percent or less by March 2018.

Since the launch of the Quality Initiative in 2012, AHCA members have achieved reductions in the use of antipsychotics and in hospital readmissions. Specifically, member organizations safely reduced the off-label use of antipsychotic medications by 21.2 percent compared to the national average of 19.4 percent in the fourth quarter of 2014. As a result, 33,100 individuals are no longer receiving these medications. For hospital readmissions, AHCA members successfully prevented 40,424 individuals from returning to the hospital — a 14.2 percent reduction since 2011.

AHCA will use CMS data and measures to track progress of the goals. Members can view their progress using AHCA’s LTC Trend Tracker and are encouraged to use this resource. Not sure if your organization uses LTC Trend Tracker? Please email and request the name of your account administrator.

Visit for more information about the AHCA Quality Initiative.

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