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LTC providers offered guidance to measure preventable hospitalizations

February 17, 2012
by Patricia Sheehan
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The Long-Term Quality Alliance (LTQA) yesterday released a white paper reporting the lack of quality measures in long-term care to prevent unnecessary hospital readmissions, despite increasing scrutiny for LTC organizations to do just that. The paper goes on to recommend how LTC groups can generate information, training and support to reduce preventable hospitalizations.

“Research shows that transitions are where much quality of life is lost as chronically [affected] populations try to navigate the healthcare system and where [money] is ultimately wasted,” said Larry Minnix, CEO, LeadingAge, in a conference call yesterday. “The good news is the management of those transitions where it’s done well reflects improved quality of life and reduced costs.”

The paper recommends seven actions for the LTQA to pursue, including:

  • Defining preventable hospitalizations in general instead of by setting.
  • Defining as precisely as possible the population receiving long-term services and supports.
  • Beginning a process to develop appropriate measures or measure-based procedures to identify potentially preventable hospitalizations in the LTQA population.
  • Advocating for studies of measures.
  • Advocating with CMS for rigorous monitoring of programs designed to reduce preventable hospitalizations.
  • Expanding education for clinicians who trigger hospitalizations.
  • Advocating for expanded implementation of existing tools for reducing preventable hospitalizations.

“If we are going to link financial incentives to improved care for the LTQA population, we need to know how to measure quality,” said Joe Ouslander, MD, professor and senior associate dean for geriatric programs, Florida Atlantic University, co-author of the paper. “We also need broad implementation of interventions that can improve the measures.”

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