Nursing Home Trade Group Unveils Quality Initiative to Reduce Hospital Readmissions

The American Health Care Association and the National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) unveiled on Wednesday a multi-year initiative to meet new quality goals, which include reducing rehospitalization rates and improving staff retention.

The Quality Initiative has four goals designed to improve care in skilled nursing and assisted living facilities.

“We’re looking at the future of how our care delivery system will evolve and we’re making the most of this enormous opportunity to affect how individuals are cared for in this country,” said Neil Pruitt, Jr., Chairman of AHCA’s Board of Governors, in a statement. “This is an effort that builds upon existing work our profession is doing to advance quality by setting specific, measurable targets to further improve care.”

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AHCA listed the initiative’s goals:

  1. Reduce Hospital Readmissions: By March 2015, reduce the number of hospital readmissions within 30 days during a SNF stay by 15%.
  2. Increase Staff Stability: By March 2015, reduce turnover among clinical staff (RN, LVN, CNA) by 15%.
  3. Reduce the Off-Label Use of Antipsychotics: By December 2012, reduce the off-label use of antipsychotics by 15%.
  4. Increase Resident Satisfaction: By March 2015, increase the number of customers who would recommend the facility to others up to 90%.

If facilities can reach the targets set in each goal, it will improve residents’ health and simultaneously drive down healthcare costs, says the trade group.

“When AHCA members achieve the goal of reducing hospital readmissions by 15%, 26,000 fewer people will go back to the hospital each year,” it says.

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Pruitt said there are five strategies to reaching these goals: redefine the consumer experience for seniors and their families, with quality as an expectation; become part of the solution, and partner with CMS and others that have the best interests of the association; think differently in coming up with solutions; promote technology, and accept a challenge to do better in serving patients; and be present as an industry, to work together with other state associations to promote goals and discuss best practices.

This initiative will be increasingly relevant as the facility gears up for healthcare reform’s impact, says Gary Kelso, the president of a small not-for-profit regional organization in Utah. With a changing landscape that includes bundled payments and ACOs, “the goals of this initiative will help us be ahead of the curve,” he says.

Written by Alyssa Gerace

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