Nursing Homes Subject to 21 New Federal Quality Measures

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ Nursing Home Compare site is about to become more comprehensive. The National Quality Forum (NQF) released 21 newly approved quality measures, to replace the current 17, on Wednesday. The new quality measures focus on pressure ulcers, self-reported pain, falls, infections, and general patient well-being for both short-stay and long-term residents in skilled nursing facilities. 21 new quality measures for Nursing Home Compare

The NQF’s Steering Committee on Nursing Homes led the revamp; the Committee was co-chaired by Dr. David Gifford, recently-appointed senior vice president of quality and regulatory affairs at the American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL), and Christine Mueller, a professor at the University of Minnesota School of Nursing and co-Director of the Hartford Center of Geriatric Nursing Excellence.

According to Gifford, the 21 new measures for nursing homes were introduced to help consumers “better understand and compare quality of care when selecting nursing homes and will help to monitor care once they or a family member is in a nursing home.” In addition, the 21 new measures will be in compliance with CMS’ updated data collection instrument, the Minimum Data Set 3.0 (MDS 3.0).

Dr. Gifford also points out that the new measures will serve as a benchmark for nursing facilities to compare their performance against other facilities in the same geographic region or across the United States, which can serve as a useful tool for training, quality improvement and assessment.

Other new measures include the monitoring of urinary tract infections (UTIs), loss of control of bowel or bladder during a stay (for long-term residents), use of physical restraint, increases in the need for assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs), and Consumer Assessment of Health Providers and Systems (CAHPS®). Nursing Home Compare does not currently monitor performance or offer benchmarks for assisted living facilities. For a complete list of the 21 newly-endorsed measures, visit the NQF website.

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