A nursing home quality initiative soon to be unveiled by the Bush administration will give consumers Internet access to quality-of-care measures for facilities and feature an expanded role for independent quality-review organizations, Modern Healthcare has learned.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is expected to announce the initiative Nov. 19. Modern Healthcare first reported the plan Nov. 9 in its Daily Dose electronic newsletter.
The National Quality Forum, a not-for-profit agency charged by the federal government with improving healthcare quality, is developing performance measures for nursing homes. The forum's steering committee on nursing home performance measures, which includes industry, government and consumer representatives, was expected to meet early this week in Arlington, Va.
The CMS is expected to use about five of the forum's quality measures in the initiative, possibly including frequency and severity of resident bedsores, industry sources said. Nursing homes' performance will be available on the Internet.
The agency is expected to conduct a five-state pilot project in spring 2002 to test the new performance measures before broader implementation. The states being considered for the pilot are California, Maryland, Ohio, Rhode Island and Washington.
In addition, nursing homes will receive more support from peer-review organizations, independent state-based agencies that contract with Medicare to conduct quality-improvement activities with hospitals. The PROs' role with nursing homes will be similar, according to the CMS plan. Assistance will include helping nursing homes identify and use industry best practices in caring for residents.
Currently, PROs' involvement with nursing homes is limited to helping with immunization of residents. Costs and funding details of their greater involvement were not immediately available.
In early September, the Bush administration denied that its nursing home quality initiative would include easing up on facility inspections. "We are pursuing initiatives to strengthen accountability and improve monitoring of nursing homes," CMS Administrator Thomas Scully said in a written statement at the time.