QIOs should target low-performing facilities, GAO says

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Quality Improvement Organizations should direct more of their resources to the improvement of "low-performing" nursing homes, a new report from the Government Accountability Office said.

In 2002, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services contracted with QIOs to help nursing homes address quality problems such as pressure ulcers. It awarded $117 million in grants over a three-year period to QIOs. But QIOs generally selected facilities that volunteered to work with the organizations and not those with many survey deficiencies.

Going forward, CMS should increase the number of poor performing facilities that QIOs work with intensely. The agency also should improve monitoring and evaluation of QIO activities. Further, it should require QIOs to share the identity of homes it worked with to facilitate evaluation, the GAO said.

A summary of the GAO report is available at: http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d07373high.pdf.