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A Commitment to Quality Makes a Difference for the Industry

hospital-waiting-area.jpgBy Liz Liberman, Health Care Analyst, NIC

As quality increasingly is key to understanding a skilled nursing property’s performance, organizations across seniors housing and care are championing quality improvements. One clear example is the American Health Care Association (AHCA), which last week publicized several moves to promote quality in the nursing home industry.

AHCA is a trade association that supports members through research, membership conventions, and guidelines. It also acts as the sector’s advocate in Washington, and last week the group hosted its annual Congressional meetings with record-breaking turnout. Quality was a top topic during the meetings with Congress, as AHCA emphasized the importance of quality care and reminded legislators of the efforts AHCA and its members have made to improve quality industry-wide. Other issues AHCA discussed with lawmakers included allowing hospital observation stays to count toward the three-day stay rule, value-based purchasing policies, and a rule on home and community-based services in assisted living facilities, according to Provider Magazine.

Key Goal Reached

During the congressional meetings last week, AHCA announced that its members reached their goal of reducing antipsychotics use six months ahead of schedule. The goal was established in 2012 and aimed at reducing antipsychotics use by 30% by the end of 2016.

According to the association’s press release, “the overall decline in antipsychotic use in AHCA member centers is 30.4 percent.” AHCA credits this achievement to the association’s nationwide campaign, its quality initiative, and the Partnership to Improve Dementia Care established by CMS.

Recommendations for Post-Stroke Rehabilitation

In a further show of its commitment to quality care, AHCA spoke out this week against recommendations from the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association (AHA/ASA). The organization recommended that stroke victims seek rehabilitation treatment through in-patient rehab facilities. However, skilled nursing facilities also are equipped to handle complex rehab patients. In fact, many skilled nursing properties have been ramping up their therapy, staffing, and specialty equipment for the specific purpose of attracting this patient population. AHA/ASA’s failure to acknowledge the services these properties offer, AHCA stated, was negligent. Not only can patients typically get equal care in a skilled nursing property, but patients may prefer the comfort of a more residential setting. In addition, a skilled nursing property has a lower daily cost of treatment as compared to an in-patient rehab facility. Following AHCA’s remarks, AHA/ASA clarified its recommendations, with guideline committee co-chair Joel Chairman stating in an interview with McKnight’s, “I would certainly not dispute the value of SNF care, the guidelines were not intended for that . . . People [who] end up going to a SNF for care shouldn’t feel [as if] they’re getting secondary, lower-level care.” It was an important step for demonstrating that other associations within healthcare recognize the quality the skilled nursing sector provides.

Industry Recognition

Also last week, a profile of AHCA’s Dr. David Gifford, director of government and quality relations for the organization, was published and gave further evidence of the group’s commitment to quality. In Washington, AHCA celebrated the annual National Nursing Home Week and honored Richard Herrick and Robert Hillis with the Joe Warner Patient Advocacy Award. It was an important week for AHCA, for its members, and for the promotion of quality care the sector provides.

Want More Insight into the Skilled Nursing Sector?

 

As quality increasingly is key to understanding a skilled nursing property’s performance, organizations across seniors housing and care are championing quality improvements. One clear example is the American Health Care Association (AHCA), which last week publicized several moves to promote quality in the nursing home industry.


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