Providers hail new quality improvement bill

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Providers are hailing the introduction of the "Long Term Care Quality and Modernization Act of 2006" as an important step toward resolving key problems for themselves and their residents. Sen. Gordon Smith (R-OR), chairman of the Aging Committee, and Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) introduced the bill late last week.

The measure, S 3815, promotes investment in capital improvements and health information technology, including a 20% credit for facilities' investment in computers, software and other IT-related material.

The measure also encourages collaboration between providers and surveyors, promotes better training and support for workers (including relaxation of some stipulations for for-profit providers), and addresses various access and financing concerns. In addition, the bill aims to modernize the payment system by better differentiating long-term care from acute care.

The bill "will help sustain and advance the progress being made to improve both the quality of care and quality of life" for the nation's nursing home residents, said Bruce Yarwood, president and CEO of the American Health Care Association.

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