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CMS nursing home initiative to address behavioral health, use of antipsychotics

March 28, 2012
by Kevin Kolus
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The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) launched a new initiative Thursday aimed at improving behavioral health and reducing the use of antipsychotic medications in nursing home residents.

As part of the initiative, CMS is also developing a national action plan that will utilize a “multidimensional approach” that includes public reporting, regulatory oversight, training and research. The action plan is targeted at enhancing person-centered care for nursing home residents, particularly those with dementia-related behaviors.

Thursday’s event, streamed live on the Internet, provided an overview of the national initiative, resources for technical assistance and plans for upcoming education offerings.

The American Health Care Association applauded the announcement, as did the Long Term Care Community Coalition, which called it a “long-overdue initiative.”

“The word needs to get out that chemical restraints are as dangerous for residents as physical restraints,” said Richard Mollot, executive director of the Long Term Care Community Coalition in New York.

Chemical restraints for nursing home residents, along with the off-label use of antipsychotic medications, have been viewed with increased criticism in resident safety discussions, which may be coming to a head with the new CMS initiative.

The American Health Care Association recently announced its own Quality Initiative, which tasked its members to reduce the off-label use of antipsychotics by 15 percent by December 31.

Click here for handouts and other supplemental materials from CMS.

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