Amy Stewart, RN, RAC-MT, DNS-CT

The federal government on Wednesday released new data on the quality of care delivered in skilled nursing facilities, ratcheting up pressure on providers to improve outcomes.

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid officials added five brand new quality-related measures to Nursing Home Compare.

Transparency of outcomes “continues to intensify,” with this posting of the inaugural SNF Quality Reporting Program measures, said Amy Stewart, RN, curriculum development specialist with the American Association of Directors of Nursing Services.

She encouraged nursing homes to check their scores on the five newly published SNF measures as soon as possible to know what the potential clients are seeing, and be ready to discuss their results. Scores will be of more interest than ever before to hospitals and other healthcare entities looking to partner with SNFs.

“If the scores are great, perhaps send out a local press release or broadcast them in your upcoming constituent newsletter,” Stewart advised. “For those facility leaders experiencing less-than-anticipated results in the posted SNF QRPs, now is the time to get the team together and begin planning how to improve the measures,” she told McKnight’s.

The five quality measures included in this latest release:

  1. Percent of residents that developed new or worsening pressure ulcers during their stay in an SNF — 1.7% is the nationwide rate in SNFs, CMS reported
  2. Percentage of patients whose activities of daily living and thinking skills were assessed and related goals were included in treatment plan — 95.8% nationally
  3. Percentage of patients that experienced a fall resulting in a major injury during their stay in a SNF — 0.9%
  4. Medicare spending per beneficiary for patients in SNFs (showing whether Medicare spends more, less or about the same per episode of care for a patient treated in a SNF compared to how much Medicare spends on an episode of care across all SNFs nationally) — 1.01
  5. Rate of successful return to home or community from a SNF — 48.57%

CMS officials said they decided not to include a sixth quality measure it had previously planned to employ: Potentially preventable 30-day post-discharge readmission. Instead, the agency will allow for additional time to test and determine if there are modifications needed to better display this measure.

CMS has posted a FAQ on its website to answer some of the most common questions related to this release.

Stewart added that, while some measures may seem duplicative of those used in the Five-Star Rating System, which includes all residents, these SNF QRP measures are specific to Medicare Part A residents only.