AHCA Issues New Care Goals for Skilled Nursing Providers

The American Health Care Association (AHCA) on Tuesday rolled out new three-year goals for skilled nursing facilities, challenging operators to improve on a variety of metrics.

The goals announced at AHCA’s national Quality Summit in New Orleans — for skilled nursing are aligned with new value-based care models and the priorities of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). In particular, AHCA laid out four key areas of focus:

1. Improve rehospitalization rates by 10%, or maintain a rate of 10% or less.


2. Improve functional outcomes — mobility and self-care — by 15%.

3. Improve long- and short-stay satisfaction by 10%, or reach a rate of 90% or more.

4. Safely decrease off-label antipsychotic use by 10%, or maintain a rate of 8% or less in long-stay residents and a rate of 1% or less in short-stay residents.


“Our members are the driving force behind the significant quality advancements our profession continues to make,” AHCA president and CEO Mark Parkinson said in a press release announcing the goals. “The next phase of the Quality Initiative sets the bar even higher. The goals we have established will improve the lives of the patients, residents, and families we serve.”

The Quality Initiative launched in 2012, and since that time, skilled nursing members have reduced rehospitalizations and antipsychotic use, with 57% of skilled nursing member organizations reducing off-label use of antipsychotic medications by 30% in the third quarter of 2017, according to AHCA. Since 2011, skilled nursing members prevented more than 142,000 individuals from going back to the hospital, a reduction of 12%.

Antipsychotic use in nursing homes came under the spotlight when Human Rights Watch (HRW) released a scathing report in February that estimated more than 179,000 people in U.S. nursing facilities are inappropriately given such drugs. AHCA pushed back against the report’s characterization of the profession at the time, but it noted there is still work to be done in this area.

AHCA will use CMS measures to track progress on antipsychotic usage and measures endorsed by the National Quality Forum (NQF) to follow progress on rehospitalizations, functional outcomes, and customer satisfaction.

Written by Maggie Flynn

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