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Demo Project Provides QAPI Expertise to Nursing Homes as Mandate Looms

Published Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The partners in an innovative pilot project developed an essential framework for nursing homes facing the rollout of the national Quality Assurance Performance Improvement (QAPI) requirements. The University of Minnesota School of Public Health and Stratis Health, who led the project on behalf of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), now stand ready to assist nursing homes in applying QAPI.

The Affordable Care Act mandates that all nursing homes implement QAPI—a systematic, data-driven approach to improve the quality of life, care, and services in nursing homes. The University of Minnesota and Stratis Health developed a QAPI technical assistance program and tested it with 17 nursing homes across the country in a two-year demonstration project.
“Nursing homes that have participated in other quality programs, such as the Advancing Excellence in America’s Nursing Homes Campaign, will find the QAPI framework familiar. For other nursing homes, QAPI may not come naturally,” said Jane Pederson, Stratis Health director of medical affairs and geriatrician with Allina Senior Care Transitions.

The demonstration project produced tools and resources tailored to address the challenges faced by nursing homes from a variety of backgrounds and quality improvement awareness levels. These tools created by the University of Minnesota and Stratis Health will be instrumental in the national rollout. As the materials are finalized by CMS, they will be available on the federal QAPI website.

“QAPI ushers in new possibilities for nursing homes to develop comprehensive, performance improvement programs tailored to their own programs and needs. This work will take nursing homes beyond compliance with rules. It will engage whole organizations in programs that aspire to ever-improving quality,” said Rosalie A. Kane, PhD Professor in the University of Minnesota School of Public Health Division of Health Policy & Management.

Following the successful completion of the demonstration project, the project personnel at the University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health and Stratis Health are available to help nursing homes across the country incorporate QAPI, including sharing best practices and assisting with education, training, and technical assistance across the country. Current examples of QAPI work include: Stratis Health is leading a collaborative on nursing home quality that incorporates QAPI methods and principles, and a May 2014 educational opportunity “Getting the Most Out of QAPI,” is sponsored by the University of Minnesota’s Center on Aging. For more information about this summer institute program, visit the Center on Aging website.