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Oregon-based Organizations Partner to Engage Nursing Homes, Consumers in New National Quality Campaign.

Advancing Excellence in America's Nursing Homes Campaign Aims at Accelerated Improvement, Resident and Staff Satisfaction

PORTLAND, Ore. -- Oregon's Seniors and People with Disabilities Division, long-term care associations and healthcare quality experts are partnering to support nursing homes in the state that volunteer for a national campaign aimed at accelerating the rate of quality improvement in nursing homes across the country.

The Advancing Excellence in America's Nursing Homes campaign kicked off Friday, September 29, 2006, at a national Nursing Home Summit in Washington, D.C. The voluntary campaign targets eight measurable clinical quality and organizational improvement goals on which nursing homes can work to improve their quality of care. Consumers are also invited to participate in the campaign.

The campaign intends to establish Local Area Networks for Excellence (LANEs) in states across the country that will consist of local organizations qualified to promote and support the effort. In Oregon, the LANE will be a collaboration of organizations that support and promote quality care and environments for nursing home residents and staff. Initial members of Oregon's LANE are: Acumentra Health (formerly OMPRO), the Oregon Alliance of Senior & Health Services, the Oregon Health Care Association, and the State of Oregon's Department of Human Services, Seniors and People with Disabilities Division.

"We have seen significant improvement in the quality of care in our state's nursing homes since Medicare began publicly reporting on clinical quality nearly four years ago," commented Jon Mitchell, President and Chief Executive Officer of Acumentra Health. "We look forward to continuing to collaborate with our partners to successfully promote the campaign and support nursing homes throughout Oregon who volunteer to participate."

"The Advancing Excellence campaign sets goals that operationalize and measure the improvements in quality that many nursing homes are already achieving," said Ruth Gulyas, Executive Director of the Alliance. "Voluntarily signing on to work on at least three of the eight campaign goals is an important way for nursing homes in our state to demonstrate that high quality is a top priority."

The campaign is different from existing national quality initiatives in several respects. It encourages consumer involvement as an important component to achieving success. The campaign also acknowledges organizational culture elements such as the critical role of consistent nursing home staffing and resident and family satisfaction in improving care.

"As Oregon's LANE, we will collaborate to set goals applicable for Oregon nursing homes, raise awareness of the campaign, drive enrollment by nursing homes, and provide technical assistance and other support for participants," stated Jim Carlson, Executive Director of the Oregon Health Care Association.

"This campaign goes beyond healthcare providers and government," stated Elaine Young, Nursing Facility Program Manager, with the State of Oregon. "The campaign, by educating the public, will empower consumers to ask informed questions and expect high quality of care."

For more information about the Advancing Excellence in America's Nursing Homes campaign, visit www.nhqualitycampaign.org.

Acumentra Health (formerly OMPRO) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the quality and effectiveness of health care. Established in 1984, Acumentra Health's work spans the continuum of care, reaching all ages and economic levels, and all delivery settings. Acumentra Health contracts with Medicare to support effective, evidence-based health care for Medicare beneficiaries in Oregon and oversees the state's Medicare Beneficiary Protection Program. In addition, Acumentra Health contracts with state agencies, public health organizations and coalitions, health plans, hospitals, physicians and others to conduct healthcare quality assurance and quality improvement projects. As a leader in healthcare quality, Acumentra Health provides expertise in areas such as performance measurement and improvement, surveys, utilization management, healthcare data analysis, chronic disease management and electronic health records. For more information, visit www.acumentra.org.

Established in 1979, the Oregon Alliance of Senior & Health Services is the state association of not-for-profit, mission-directed organizations dedicated to providing quality housing, health, community and related services to the elderly and disabled. Alliance members set the standards for the field through service excellence and mission-driven objectives. Alliance member organizations embrace values that emphasize individual dignity, self-respect, personal independence and a supportive environment for the elders they serve. Our members serve more than 13,000 older Oregonians with a commitment to meet their total needs: social, physical, emotional, spiritual and environmental. For more information, visit www.oashs.org.

Oregon Health Care Association (OHCA) is one of the state's leading trade associations, representing over 570 members including skilled nursing facilities, assisted living and residential care facilities, integrated health systems, independent senior living communities and licensed in-home care agencies. Members provide services to over 40,000 people each day and employ more than 30,000 Oregonians. Members include for profit and not for profit organizations, multi facility health systems and industry partners. For more information, visit www.ohca.com.

The State of Oregon's Department of Human Services, Seniors and People with Disabilities Division provides a variety of supports and services from in-home to comprehensive skilled nursing care. Services are designed to protect a person's individual independence, dignity and choice. Staff at local offices and through community partners help find the right mix of services to meet an individual's needs. Visit www.oregon.gov/DHS/SPD/ for additional information.
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Date:Oct 2, 2006
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