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Texas provider association notes SNF improvements, challenges

May 19, 2015
by Lois A. Bowers, Senior Editor
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On the heels of the May 14 release of a Kaiser Family Foundation analysis that found Texas to be the state with greatest share of low-rated nursing homes (51 percent with a one- or two-star rating from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services), the Texas Health Care Association (THCA) has released the results of a survey indicating that nursing home quality in the Lone Star State has improved over the past year.

The survey, administered from January up to the first week of April, compiled direct responses from nursing home providers that are part of the “Commitment to Care” initiative, which is designed to intensify efforts to elevate the quality of care in Texas skilled nursing facilities (SNFs). It found:

  • Almost 70 percent of responding SNFs have reduced the use of antipsychotics.
  • More than 55 percent have reduced re-hospitalizations.
  • Almost 57 percent have reduced the incidence of pressure ulcers.

In fact, the THCA says that a majority of the SNFs have improved in several quality measures over the past year while being challenged with high staff turnover rates and a $343 million Medicaid funding shortfall. The current daily Medicaid rate for skilled nursing care is about $6 an hour per beneficiary, according to the THCA.

Seventy-four percent of respondents cited direct care staff turnover as the chief obstacle to achieving facility improvement goals. If the state legislature closes the gap in the Medicaid funding shortfall, providers said, their top three priorities moving forward would be to:

  1. Increase staff wages.
  2. Hire additional direct care staff.
  3. Invest in staff education and training.

“The Commitment to Care survey is an accurate reflection of the areas of care where facilities are making actual improvements as well as the ongoing challenges of stabilizing a workforce that is essential to elevating the quality of care on a consistent basis,” Kevin Warren, president and CEO of the THCA, said in a statement. “As our state legislators make final decisions on funding, we urge them to close the gap in the funding shortfall for the 60,000 elderly Medicaid beneficiaries requiring skilled care in Texas nursing homes.”

Results from the entire survey can be viewed here.

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