Advancing Excellence suspends some activities after funding loss

Advancing Excellence suspends some activities after funding loss
Advancing Excellence suspends some activities after funding loss

Advancing Excellence in Long-Term Care Collaborative (AELTCC), a group of organizations aiming to raise quality in nursing homes, has suspended its outreach efforts and staff due to a lack of funding.

Conference calls, webinars and outreach educational activities are among the suspended activities, along with the release of staff members. Other aspects will continue, such as providers' ability to enter data related to quality through the AE website. The site is run through a Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services contract with Telligen, a Quality Innovation Network-Quality Improvement Organization.

Members will continue to pay dues, and “likely won't know much has changed,” according to LeadingAge senior vice president for advocacy Cheryl Phillips, M.D., immediate past co-chairwoman on the AELTCC board.  

“In short, the message is Advancing Excellence isn't going anywhere. Some of the contact from the AE staff is going to be suspended, but we are full steam ahead,” Phillips told McKnight's.

More than 6,000 nursing homes have signed up for AELTCC, and more than 2,000 are submitting data.

While LeadingAge has provided in-kind support to AELTCC, such as office space, the large budget hole resulted from the termination of roughly a half-million dollar grant through The Commonwealth Fund. In a statement to McKnight's, the fund's executive vice president for programs noted the organization's seven years of support.

“The Commonwealth Fund supported the Advancing Excellence Campaign beginning in 2007, and continuing through 2014, when our program areas changed to focus more broadly on improving the healthcare delivery system in the U.S.,” said Donald Moulds. “Advancing Excellence was very successful in building a national coalition to improve quality of care in nursing homes, with the majority of nursing homes participating, and regional networks in every state and D.C.”

While this is Advancing Excellence staff members' last week, LeadingAge said interim executive director Carol Benner will continue to work as a consultant. Benner previously was the national director for six years  for the Advancing Excellence in America's Nursing Home Campaign, the Advancing Excellence campaign to improve quality in nursing homes. Benner returned following the August departure of Doug Pace, who now works at the Alzheimer's Association.

The loss of the Commonwealth Fund grant became known earlier this year. Sources said the organization tried other ways to raise the funding, but ultimately fell short.  

The board will elect new leadership in January "as we continue our governance responsibilities and look toward growth opportunities," said current chairwoman Beverley Laubert, Ohio's long-term care state ombudsman. 

"The Advancing Excellence Campaign continues with great support from and collaboration with member organizations, individuals, and the board," she added.