Stepping Up Efforts to Improve Nursing Homes

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<p>While regulation is necessary to uphold minimum standards of nursing home care, Commonwealth Fund assistant vice president Mary Jane Koren, M.D., M.P.H., testified today before a House subcommittee that more fundamental reform is needed to "move nursing homes to a higher level of performance."<br><br>In her <a href="/publications/testimonies/2008/may/testimony----moving-to-a-higher-level--how-collaboration-and-cooperation-can-improve-nursing-home-qu
">invited testimony</a> before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, Dr. Koren cited the promise and early accomplishments of the "culture change" movement to transform institutional long-term care settings into more homelike, resident-centered facilities. In addition to discussing results from the Commonwealth Fund's <a href="/publications/fund-reports/2008/may/culture-change-in-nursing-homes--how-far-have-we-come--findings-from-the-commonwealth-fund-2007-nati
">2007 National Survey of Nursing Homes</a>, Dr. Koren described the impressive collaborative efforts undertaken by the Advancing Excellence in America's Nursing Homes campaign, which she currently chairs. Nearly 7,000 nursing homes have joined the broad-based campaign, which requires participants to work on selected target areas for improvement and to measure and report back on their progress.<br><br>Dr. Koren concluded her testimony by observing "there is no silver bullet that will make all nursing homes good places to live and to work." But she also laid out specific steps Congress could take that would support current voluntary efforts, increase transparency, and improve the regulatory process. These include: improving the information available to consumers for comparing nursing homes; developing payment methods that reward homes that participate in the quality campaign; and directing the Quality Improvement Organizations to play a more active role in helping nursing homes provide resident-centered care.</p>