MUNDELEIN -- Medline Industries has launched a major initiative to help long-term care facilities attain higher quality standards developed by the American Health Care Association and the National Center for Assisted Living.
Called Advancing Quality Together, Medline’s program aligns with AHCA/NCAL Quality Initiative’s four targeted goals: Safely reduce hospital readmissions, improve staff stability, increase customer satisfaction and safely reduce the off-label use of antipsychotics. Medline developed the initiative through key industry partnerships and customer input.
“We have collaborated with highly respected thought leaders and experts in the long-term care field to develop programs, services, tools and education to help skilled nursing facilities achieve the highest standards of care,” said Medline President Andy Mills.

Safely reduce hospital readmissions
Starting in October 2012, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services began imposing severe reimbursement penalties to hospitals for avoidable and costly re-hospitalizations, which CMS estimates cost the U.S. health care system an estimated $17 billion a year.
Almost one in four hospital patients who are transferred to nursing homes are readmitted to the hospital. Medline has developed several solutions to help nursing facilities reduce avoidable hospital readmissions:
• INTERACT - Medline has an exclusive partnership with Florida Atlantic University (FAU) to make available online training and tools for FAU’s INTERACT quality improvement program. INTERACT is an acronym for “Interventions to Reduce Acute Care Transfers,” which was developed by an interdisciplinary team led by Dr. Joseph Ouslander. It is a quality improvement program for the identification, evaluation, communication, and documentation of changes in the clinical condition of nursing home residents. Medline’s online educational resource, Medline University, is the exclusive clinical resource for training on the INTERACT program.
• abaqis Readmissions Tracker - Through the abaqis Quality Management System, skilled nursing facilities can develop trend analysis and track rates for readmissions. The system also provides facilities CMS-definition-based comparisons between facilities or groups, as well as targeted reports to identify issues causing readmissions and support continuous improvement.
“Using the abaqis readmission tracking system saved us an incredible amount of time in identifying the areas of our facility that needed to be improved and the residents that were at most risk for a re-hospitalization,” said Carmen Shell, vice president of clinical services for MorseLife Geriatric Center in West Palm Beach, Fla., which was a test site for the new module. “With so many users of abaqis around the country, including our area in Florida, we will eventually be able to benchmark our readmissions rate against other organizations and learn best practices to help reduce our readmissions further.”

Improve staff stability
Certified nursing assistants, the group that will be most in demand as the population continues to age, is beset with high turnover and in need of greater recognition and educational opportunities. To address these issues, Medline has formed an exclusive partnership with the National Association of Health Care Assistants to reduce the turnover rate and improve job satisfaction among CNAs, both of which have been shown to improve the quality of patient care. Facilities that join NAHCA have reported a 25 percent annual increase in retention translating to a cost savings estimate of $42,000.

Increase customer satisfaction
Currently, long-term care facilities have achieved 86 to 87 percent recommendation rates and AHCA/NCAL’s goal is to increase the number of customers who recommend facilities to others to 90 percent by 2015.
According to AHCA/NCAL, facilities with the highest satisfaction rates perform better in staff retention, survey results, census and cash flow. The abaqis Quality Management System recently added a customer satisfaction module that provides resident-level data that enables facilities to target areas for improvement, market the highest performing areas and compare a facility’s performance to other similar facilities.

Safely reduce off-label use of antipsychotics
There is a growing focus on person-centered care for residents with dementia without the use of antipsychotics and their potentially negative side effects. But providing this level of care requires a skilled staff that is trained in creative-problem solving. Medline’s free online educational resource, Medline University, offers skilled nursing facility staff CE-accredited courses on how to care for residents with dementia without the use of medication.