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AHCA Emphasizes Quality Improvement in America's Nursing Homes

CMS "Five-Star" Should Include More Components to Fully Measure Quality

WASHINGTON, June 18 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The American Health Care Association (AHCA) today commended the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) for their commitment to quality nursing home care through the newly introduced "five-star" rating system, but urged caution, stating that although they support a quality index, any system that relies heavily on survey data can not accurately assess quality in any one facility.

"Every one of our nation's nursing home residents deserves the highest quality nursing home care, and although we applaud the longstanding work of CMS, we do not believe that an index which relies upon a broken survey system is an accurate way to measure quality," stated Bruce Yarwood, President and CEO of AHCA. "Quality improvement is a dynamic ongoing process -- and its quantification must reflect the many variants that go into the delivery of care."

As CMS further develops the "five-star" rating system, Yarwood urged the agency to, "Incorporate consumer and staff satisfaction, which are two critical components of quality care."

In releasing this new program, CMS praises the work of the Advancing Excellence in America's Nursing Homes campaign. As a founding member, AHCA has been working with CMS and other stakeholders to enhance quality care and improve consumer information in our nation's nursing facilities.

Yarwood emphasized that one of the keys to improving the collaborative process between providers and regulatory authorities -- and a key to helping facilities in need of improvement -- is expanding the concept of transparency beyond just facilities to include the survey and enforcement process itself. "Our profession has helped lead the nation's healthcare sector in terms of quality improvement, and we are committed to continuing our relationship with CMS to advance a transparent survey process that recognizes quality, and provides the resources for facility improvement, will enhance every facility's efforts to improve patient care, and would mirror our profession's own quality improvement initiatives."

"Continuing to work successfully with all stakeholders -- and establishing a 'culture of cooperation' -- is imperative to optimizing care quality in every facility," continued Yarwood. "In this way, we can continue to improve the quality of care and quality of life for the millions of patients and families who rely upon us every day for the long term care and services they need."

"We look forward to continuing our work with CMS and other willing partners to influence development of the program to create a system that is fair to facilities and appropriate for consumers, and that ensures every American has continued access to quality nursing home care -- now and in the years and decades ahead."

SOURCE American Health Care Association
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