At a time when low census and shifting payer mixes are making it harder than ever for some providers to focus on quality, Mountain Valley of Cascadia has kept beds full, retained staff and poured resources into promoting resident care. The Idaho skilled nursing facility recently was named a Gold winner in the American Health Care Association QualIty Award program — for the second time.

On this McKnight’s Newsmakers podcast, Mountain Valley CEO Emilee Kulin and McKnight’s Long-Term Care News Senior Editor Kimberly Marselas explore what it takes to be a Quality Award winner, and why integrating improvement efforts into everyday culture must be about more than the recognition.

“The staff members at every level are involved in our QAPI program, from housekeeping to nursing to senior leaders to our medical director to our consulting pharmacists,” Kulin says. “Some buildings think that management is just who handles QAPI, and it’s not like that at Mountain Valley at all. Our staff, through our open door policy, are empowered to come and provide feedback and suggestions, and those are what tend to be the most valuable pieces of our entire QAPI program.”

From a senior leader rounding program to infection control management and the pursuit of technology grants, Kulin shares strategies that helped Mountain Valley maintain its performance goals during the pandemic and beyond.