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Nursing Home Task Force Says, 'The System Is Broken and Can't Be Fixed'
Date:8/25/2008

NASHVILLE, Tenn., Aug. 25 /PRNewswire/ -- A national task force from the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging (AAHSA) recently reported that the current survey and certification processes used to evaluate long-term care facilities nationwide is broken and beyond repair.

After a thorough investigation into survey and certification protocol across the country, the task force concluded in its final report, "Broken and Beyond Repair: Recommendations to Reform the Survey and Certification System," that an independent, broad-based national panel of experts should be convened to re-examine the oversight process for nursing homes.

The report's 31 recommendations address short-term and long-term solutions, including improved communication to surveyors and providers about new requirements and changes to the survey process, standardized job descriptions for surveyors, more efficient use of survey resources, and flexibility to adapt to culture change. The task force's overarching recommendation is that an independent commission, such as the Institute of Medicine, re-examine the survey and certification process to "create a common vision for how our nation should care for its frailest citizens and to recommend a new oversight model for ensuring that this vision becomes reality in every nursing home today."

This report hits home in Tennessee, where the trend of increased admission suspensions continues for the second consecutive year, with 16 facilities forced to remit significant fines and suspend new patient admissions so far in 2008, following 29 in 2007. This comes as a result of violations reported under the current survey system.

Co-chair of the 20-member task force and CEO of Hebrew Health Care in West Hartford, Conn. Bonnie Gauthier acknowledged that, "Our short-term suggestions alone won't bring the system back to the intent of OBRA 87-achieving optimal, quality-based, resident-centered care-but they will tide the sy
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SOURCE Tennessee Association of Homes and Services for the Aging
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