Loretta Kaes

Providers have access to data collection tools in the profession, says Loretta Kaes of the Health Care Association of New Jersey. Members of the National Center for Assisted Living, for example, have access to Long Term Care Trend TrackerSM, a web-based tool that allows an AL community to track, benchmark, and compare metrics across the profession.

Data include staff retention and turnover, customer satisfaction, the off-label use of antipsychotics, hospital admissions and readmissions, and occupancy rate. About 8,000 long term/post-acute care providers are currently signed up for the service.

“Our providers in New Jersey are already collecting the data that hospitals and ACOs want to see through Trend Tracker,” says Kaes. “It’s a great member benefit.”

New Jersey providers can also benefit from a partnership between the Health Care Association of New Jersey Foundation (HCANJF) and the state government, called Advanced Standing. HCANJF created the program, which was later approved by the New Jersey Department of Health. AL communities can receive the designation of Advanced Standing when HCANJF verifies that the community has satisfied all state licensing regulations and met quality benchmarks.

In exchange, those communities meet the benchmarks for certain prescribed quality indicators as chosen by a peer review panel of HCANJF. Currently, 84 communities in New Jersey have the Advanced Standing distinction.

For collecting customer satisfaction data, Kaes recommends providers use the CoreQ survey, which measures customer satisfaction across any health care setting.

Developed by AHCA and NCAL, the CoreQ survey consists of three questions for long-stay residents and family members and four questions for short-stay and assisted living residents and family members. It has been independently tested as a valid and reliable measure of customer satisfaction.

The ability to compare between these settings and to determine the satisfaction level of a center in an understandable format is at the heart of the CoreQ survey. The information collected is used to create a score that gives a measure representing the overall satisfaction with the center. 

“The government is really going toward standardized forms,” says Kaes. “The CoreQ is a very short and therefore more-likely-to-be-completed survey of the residents, patients, and families. It shows how they view their experience. That’s an important quality measure for the ACOs—so much so that the Atlantic ACO is already using the CoreQ survey.”

What the survey sometimes gets pushback on, says Kaes, is that it’s so short. AL providers can add in other questions for their community, but these few questions can give a clear picture of how residents, patients, and family members feel, she says.