Doctor speaking with older couple during COVID-19 pandemic

It’s time for Congress and federal nursing facility regulators to take action to improve clinical care as outlined in a new and damning industry quality report, according to long-term care physician advocates. The increased visibility of medical directors should be a key focus, they say.

AMDA-The Society for Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine is pushing to raise the profile and competencies of industry clinicians, especially medical directors. Recent events have helped to bolster the organization’s case for accomplishing that goal.

The White House recently released a nursing home reform proposal including more than 20 actions to improve care for residents. And last week, the National Academies published a report in which numerous industry stakeholders and experts deemed the federally supported nursing home system “ineffective” and “unsustainable.”

AMDA, which in March elected a new president, has honed in on the clinical aspects of that report, calling for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to heed its “concrete recommendations” to strengthen the role of nursing home medical directors. 

Minimum training, public database needed

New measures should include “establishing minimum training and competency requirements,” for the role and creating a national, public database of medical directors that includes training information and other data of interest to residents and their families, it said in a statement released last week. 

AMDA also backs the report’s call for increased training requirements for the entire interdisciplinary team, and improved working conditions and wages for certified nursing assistants and licensed practice nurses.

The organization has been asking for such changes for years, said Society President Suzanne Gillespie, M.D., RD, CMD., who was installed in March. 

“We at AMDA believe that such requirements should exist on the federal level for all Medicare and Medicaid certified nursing homes,” she said in the statement.

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