QIO Nursing Home Program Worth the Cost

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<p>To improve the quality of care that Medicare beneficiaries receive from hospitals, nursing homes, and other health care providers, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services contracts with Quality Improvement Organizations (QIOs) to lend technical assistance, disseminate quality improvement resources, and lead educational conferences and collaborative learning sessions for providers. But are the benefits produced by the QIO program worth the government's financial investment?</p><p>A recent <a href="/cnlib/pub/enews_clickthrough.htm?enews_item_id=29405&return_url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww%2Ecommonwealthfund%2Eorg%2Fpublications%2Fpublications%5Fshow%2Ehtm%3Fdoc%5Fid%3D512641%26%23doc512641">study</a> published in <em>Health Care Financing Review,</em> led by The Commonwealth Fund's Anthony Shih, M.D., M.P.H., finds that based on the results of the QIOs' work with nursing home care providers, the program is indeed worth its cost. Over the period 2002-2005, the cost of the QIO nursing home quality improvement program was calculated at just over $100 million.</p><p>According to the cost-utility analysis conducted, the QIO nursing home quality improvement interventions cost $2,063 to $7,667 per "quality-adjusted life year" gained, which the researchers say is an excellent return on investment. A single quality-adjusted life year--a unit of measurement often used to evaluate the benefit of a medical intervention--is commonly valued at between $50,000 to $100,000.</p><p>"Investment in QIO nursing home quality improvement activities appears to be a good value for health care dollars," the authors conclude.</p>