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CMS Initiative collects data for consumer use. (NH News Notes).

Facilities offering quality care will have another resource to highlight their strengths as the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) rolls out a new consumer-focused initiative to compare how performance differs among nursing homes.

"People covered by Medicare and Medicaid have the power to choose the best care to meet their individual needs, but they have to have more reliable information to choose quality care," Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy G. Thompson said in a release. "Our efforts...will help beneficiaries all across the country to compare the performance of their local nursing homes, and will provide the recognition that high-quality nursing homes deserve."

Starting this month CMS will collect data on seven measures of chronic care quality and four measures of post-acute care quality (Table) in Colorado, Maryland, Ohio, Rhode Island and Washington nursing homes. CMS will make this information available on www.medicare.gov beginning in April, and the national project is slated to begin in October. CMS hopes to eventually publish similar information on home health agencies, hospitals and other healthcare providers.

According to a CMS spokesman, the initiative will not affect the survey process. The quality measures will be based on MDS data, meaning nursing homes should not expect more data-reporting requirements. Unlike the information CMS already provides on its Nursing Home Compare site (www.medicare.gov/NHCompare/home.asp), the new initiative's data will be risk-adjusted.

"Because quality matters, and because we know that performance differs among nursing homes, it is essential that we identify true measures of quality care that, uniformly applied and easily understood, can be used as a tool both for improving nursing home performance and educating consumers," said William L. Minnix, Jr., DMin, president and CEO of the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging (AAHSA), in a statement. Echoing that sentiment, Mary Ousley, chair of the American Health Care Association (AHCA), said in a release, "It is our expectation that an honest and reliable measurement system, coupled with a system of public disclosure, will provide consumers with useful information upon which to base their long-term care choices and decisions.... This is a tremendous new opportunity to achieve excellence in our long-term care system, and we will work with all parties involved to ensure its success."

RELATED ARTICLE: Table. Eleven Risk-Adjusted Quality Measures.

Measures of Chronic Care Quality

* Physical restraints

* Pressure sores

* Weight loss

* Infections

* Pain management

* Declines in activities of daily living

* Use of antipsychotic drugs without a psychiatric diagnosis

Measures of Post-Acute Care Quality

* Managing delirium

* Pain management

* Improvement in walking

* Rehospitalizations
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
Author:Edwards, Douglas J.
Publication:Nursing Homes
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jan 1, 2002
Words:427
Previous Article:Documenting the Disappearing Administrator. (View on Washington).
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