National LTC quality commission members named amid praise, criticism

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Members of a new independent commission have been handed the job of evaluating, improving and making national policy recommendations regarding the quality of long-term care in the U.S.

National Quality Forum President and CEO Kenneth W. Kizer announced on Tuesday the organization's launch of the National Commission for Quality Long-term Care, and named the members of the panel. The commission will act as an independent body to examine the current status of long-term care quality, identify factors that enhance the capability to improve quality and track improvement in both facilities and public policy in the upcoming years.

Some healthcare experts and providers have proclaimed the commission as unique and visionary. But at least one consumer-oriented group expressed concern.

The National Citizens' Coalition for Nursing Home Reform said that to maintain credibility and pursue truly new solutions for problems within the industry, the panel must establish independence from the national provider organizations supporting it. NCCNHR especially noted a need for the commission to decrease nurse understaffing and poor training. The group further decried the presence of only one consumer advocate on the 14-member panel.

The American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging, the American Health Care Association, and the Alliance for Quality Nursing Home Care all have pledged their support and initial funding of the commission. NQF will provide managerial services and training.

Former Sen. Bob Kerrey (D-NE) and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA) are the panel's co-chairmen. Other members include Kizer, Virginia Gov. Mark Warner, Idaho Gov. Dick Kempthorne and AARP CEO William Novelli. For more information and a full list of members, visit www.qualitylongtermcarecommission.org.