Skilled nursing providers fell well short of reaching a 15% reduction in off-label antipsychotic use by the end of 2012, the American Health Care Association announced Monday. However, AHCA renewed the goal for 2015, and an organization spokesman said he anticipates providers will meet that goal this year. AHCA members also performed better in the reductions than nursing providers as a whole.

AHCA set the reduction goal in February 2012, as part of the AHCA Quality Initiative, and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services later announced it was embracing the 15% reduction for all SNFs.

Early reports indicated that SNFs had reduced off-label antipsychotic use about 4% last year, on average. This number improved in the latest report, which included data through the fourth quarter of 2012. Nationwide, nursing homes reduced antipsychotic use about 5.9% last year. Among AHCA members, that number was 6.7%.

“When we rolled out these Quality Initiative goals last year, we knew they were ambitious,” said AHCA Board Chair and UHS-Pruitt Corp. Chairman and CEO Neil Pruitt Jr. “While we may not have reached our 2012 year-end goal for antipsychotics, that doesn’t negate the nearly 3,000 member facilities that have achieved our goal, nor more importantly, the 11,349 individuals living with dementia who will enjoy a better quality of life without these medications.”

UHS-Pruitt facilities saw nearly a 25% reduction in antipsychotic use, he said, showing that the reduction goal is achievable. The biggest obstacle in reaching the goal has been slowness in educating providers, he added.

More significant progress was made on the Quality Initiative goal of reducing 30-day hospital readmissions by 15% by March 2015. Nearly a quarter of AHCA members met that goal during 2012, saving the Medicare program an estimated $140 million, according to AHCA.