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New long term care commission packs political muscle.

In an effort to evaluate the quality of long term care, federal and state lawmakers and association leaders in October formed the National Commission for Quality Long Term Care.

The new group, headquartered in Washington D.C., is co-chaired by former Sen. Bob Kerrey and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, according to Tammy McBride, the National Quality Forum's senior program director.

McBride said the commission's goals are to recommend national goals and objectives for long term care quality improvement, report on quality indicators and measures, provide a forum for public dialogue among long term care professionals, review quality-related policy proposals and recommend a national policy agenda for LTC improvement.

* In other brief news of the long term care field, Calif. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a law that makes the state the first to guarantee nursing homes a 5 percent annual profit. The law will take effect on Jan. 1, 2005.

The legislation switched the reimbursement payment method to the state's Medi-Cal nursing homes from flat rate to cost-based. It also added a tax--a "quality assurance fee"-paid by nursing homes to the state to increase the amount of money California contributes toward payment of Medi-Cal expenses. The new fee is expected to generate $250 million from state nursing homes for reimbursement needs, and an additional $250 million from the federal government.

* Families of a deadly Sept. 2003 nursing home fire in Nashville, Tenn., have settled 28 of 32 lawsuits against National HealthCare Corp., the facility's Murfreesboro, Tenn.-based owner. Settlement terms were not disclosed, according to David Randolph Smith, the Nashville-based lead counsel for 21 attorneys representing the families.
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Title Annotation:Briefly
Publication:Contemporary Long Term Care
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Nov 1, 2004
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