Mary Ousley, Quality Initiative
The American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) has created a Quality Cabinet, which is out ​of the starting gate with an ambitious five-point agenda that includes a groundbreaking effort to develop outcome measures for therapy provided to skilled nursing facility residents.

The cabinet was established by the AHCA Board of Governors to “coordinate and direct our collective efforts as we advance quality-of-care and quality-of-life issues on behalf of our members and those in our charge,” said a description from AHCA Chair Neil Pruitt Jr.

The Quality Cabinet is chaired by Mary Ousley, president of Ousley & Associates in Richmond, Ky., and former chair of AHCA. Howie Groff, former NCAL chair, serves as vice chair.

Ousley said the cabinet will address five strategic goals, which are part of the AHCA/NCAL Quality Initiative:
  • Reduce the 30-day hospital readmission rate during a skilled nursing facility (SNF) stay by 15 percent over three years;
  • Reduce the off-label use of antipsychotic drugs for the geriatric population by 15 percent by December 2012;Reduce facility turnover among clinical staff by at least 15 percent over three years; and
  • Increase resident satisfaction so that more than 90 percent of residents, families, and other stakeholders are willing to recommend the facility to others.
“A separate group will work on the fifth area: development of new therapy outcome measures,” Ousley says.

Currently, there “is no way to say that when you receive this level of therapy in a skilled nursing facility this would be the expected outcome,” she says. The therapy outcomes group, which will hold an organizational meeting early this year, will begin by researching existing outcome measures and scientific evidence of their value and explore measures that would be a good fit for a post-acute and long term care model, Ousley says.

The therapy outcomes group will include representatives from the National Association for the Support of Long Term Care and academic institutions that have conducted outcomes research. It will also reach out to the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission for input and has the support of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

While the Quality Cabinet’s goals won’t be achieved overnight, “by the end of 2012 and 2013 we expect to have made a substantial difference in each of these areas across our membership,” Ousley says.