Kentucky, Mississippi Nursing Homes Receive Assistance for Targeted Quality of Care Improvements

Memphis, Tenn. –Several nursing homes in Kentucky and Mississippi will soon receive a boost in their ongoing effort to provide quality care for residents. The atom Alliance, a partnership between Memphis-based Qsource in Tennessee, Kentucky and Indiana; Information & Quality Healthcare (IQH) in Mississippi; and AQAF in Alabama was recently named the recipient of a Special Innovation Project (SIP) award by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). The purpose of the study is to work collaboratively with nursing homes and long-term care facilities in Kentucky and Mississippi to improve quality-of-care concerns that represent the greatest potential for patient harm.

The atom Alliance, under CMS contract as a Quality Innovation Network-Quality Improvement Organization (QIN-QIO), works to improve overall healthcare quality throughout Alabama, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi and Tennessee.

The atom Alliance will work with state survey agencies and volunteer nursing home facilities in Kentucky and Mississippi to analyze outcomes and identify those measures of quality most frequently cited as posing potential risks to patients.  Volunteer facilities will then work with the Alliance and state agencies to develop and support widespread adoption of effective interventions to address these concerns.

Michelle Jarboe, chair of the Kentucky Association of Health Care Facilities (KAHCF) Quality Initiative Committee, which works on a variety of quality improvement efforts, said, “It’s an important endeavor. Caring for older adults can be challenging and we know that many facilities will appreciate the added support and expertise atom Alliance will be providing through this project. It will be a benefit to the nursing facilities, their residents and families.”

Qsource’s Janet Pollock agrees. Pollock will lead the project for atom Alliance over the next two years and says her teams will work hand-in-hand with the nursing home facilities to develop and implement proven, data-driven interventions that are sustainable. “Given the scarcity of resources available to most nursing homes, we understand quality improvement programs must be systemically executable, consistent and sustainable,” Pollock said. “We’ll accomplish this by working closely with the facilities toward attainable quality improvement goals.”

Working in collaboration with the Kentucky and Mississippi state survey agencies and the participating nursing homes, atom Alliance will design tools, resources, a training curriculum and educational programs to help facilities ensure safe, effective and consistent delivery of services for residents in long-term care facilities.

The Division of Health Care in the Office of Inspector General (OIG) is responsible for licensure and certification of all health facilities in Kentucky and will partner with atom Alliance to help nursing homes address problems and improve care. “As the state survey agency, we see deficient practices and missed opportunities that may result in negative outcomes for facility residents, as well as for the facility itself. We are excited to work with atom Alliance by providing the data and support they need to assist facilities in addressing these problems,” said Sandra Houchen, director of the OIG Division of Health Care.

IQH’s Trannie Murphy is a state director for the atom Alliance in Mississippi. According to Murphy, atom Alliance expects to develop a thorough curriculum that includes at least eight general training modules for nursing home staff. “Six training programs will cover topics related to leadership, person-centered care, data reporting and other processes that ensure quality care is provided, documented and can be shared among other facilities. At least two training modules will be targeted toward more specific but frequently-cited quality of care issues, such as medication errors or infection control,” Murphy said.

LeadingAge Kentucky, formerly known as Kentucky Association of Homes and Services for the Ageing (KAHSA), represents not-for-profit community, church, proprietary and government sponsored healthcare facilities, retirement communities, assisted living, housing and service programs for the elderly and disabled.

LeadingAge Kentucky’s president, Timothy L. Veno, is a former Inspector General of the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services and director of the Kentucky state survey agency.“LeadingAge Kentucky has historically advocated for more technical support, training and dissemination of best practices when regulatory issues are identified. I can tell you that this approach, versus the highly punitive approach of leveling huge civil money penalties, will provide a more rapid improvement in care and longer lasting, positive results for residents,” he said.

Pollock noted that SIPs are two-year quality improvement projects aligning with goals of a broader, national CMS Quality Strategy that emphasizes the power of partnerships. “The atom Alliance is leveraging data-driven methods, state partnerships and stakeholder relationships, and our ability to ensure that the voices of patients and families are all represented. Already, additional partners like The Alzheimer’s Association, have agreed to assist in the effort,” Pollock said.

For information on this SIP and other examples of how atom Alliance is assisting the region’s healthcare providers with quality improvement, practice transformation and other initiatives, please visit: www.atomAlliance.org.

About atom Alliance

atom Alliance is a five-year, five-state initiative to ignite powerful and sustainable change in healthcare quality. Formed as a partnership between three leading healthcare consultancies, atom Alliance is working under contract to THE CENTERS for MEDICARE & MEDICAID SERVICES (CMS) to improve quality and achieve better outcomes in health and healthcare and at lower costs for the patients and communities we serve. Through atom Alliance, AQAF in Alabama, IQH in Mississippi and Qsource in Indiana, Kentucky and Tennessee are carrying out an exciting strategic plan, with programs in place to convene, teach and inform healthcare providers, engage and empower patients, and inspire, share knowledge and spread best practices with communities across the entire healthcare continuum.

 

Contact: Brooke Tweddell, Qsource
For: atom Alliance
PH: 901.273.2646 or 901.233.5547
btweddell@qsource.org