Q: You recently received the Mary K. Ousley Champion of Quality Award from the American Health Care Association. What are some of the biggest current obstacles to improving quality in long-term care? 

A: It’s that systematizing of quality and looking for reproducible processes that produce consistent results. We’re not a McDonald’s. It’s not two all-beef patties, but trying to get to where even though there’s variation in people, different comorbidities and healthcare issues, we still have tried-and-true processes.

Q: To that end, you’ve been a champion of Quality Assurance and Performance Improvement. Do you have tips for operators about QAPI?

A: My staff and I consistently see an inherent fear of the unknown. And providers see the QAPI tools as complex. They panic. But those that start practicing the tools tell me that once we do this once or twice, we see the value. The biggest roadblock is getting that comfort that this is not a very complex process, and practicing.

Q: Despite this fear, are providers moving in the right direction to improve and assure quality?

A: There’s a big push. We’ve always focused on quality of life and quality of care, but there’s a big push to understand what systematic quality is, and I see it industry wide.