Former Sen. Bob Kerrey (D-NE) and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA) have been named co-chairmen of the new National Commission for Quality Long-Term Care. The former legislators were to be formally introduced today at an early-afternoon press conference in Washington.

The commission has been designed to bring new improvements to quality of care and make recommendations about care processes. Stakeholders are hailing the commission as the first of its kind; the panel is a direct outgrowth of the industry’s voluntary Quality First initiative, which was unveiled two years ago.

The 15 commission members will come from within and outside the nursing home ranks, and include members of academia and other interested groups. Other known members include immediate past president of the National Governors Association Dirk Kempthorne of Idaho, who highlighted nursing-home issues during his tenure, and Gov. Mark Warner of Virginia.