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Industry leaders were pleasantly surprised to learn that nursing home operators had exceeded goals for lowering unnecessary antipsychotics use. The level dropped by nearly 20% over a three-year span.

A public-private coalition under the guidance of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services released study findings January 23. The announcement came weeks before CMS said it was including short-stay and long-stay antipsychotics measures in quality ratings.

Using CMS-compiled quality data, the National Partnership to Improve Dementia Care in Nursing Homes noted that 19.2% of long-stay nursing home residents were receiving an antipsychotic medication in the third quarter of 2014. That’s down from 23.9% in the fourth quarter of 2011.

Mark Parkinson, American Health Care Association president and CEO, said it means provider efforts are working. AHCA’s goal is to reduce off-label use by another 10% this year.

 “It is still full steam ahead,” added Larry Minnix, LeadingAge president and CEO, about his members’ similar intentions