The Center for Health Policy Evaluation in Long-Term Care


 Who We Are

The Center for Health Policy Evaluation in Long-Term Care is a collaborative research effort aimed at improving the quality of care for our nation’s elderly and disabled populations. Our multidisciplinary team has expertise in public health, medicine, nursing, epidemiology, policy, nutrition, economics, health services research, quality improvement, long-term care workforce, measure development, quality of life, dementia, customer satisfaction, program implementation, and healthcare administration, management, and leadership.

 What We Do

Our faculty leverage their range of skills, experiences, and partnerships to translate health policies and legislation into a real-world understanding of their impact on the lives of post-acute and long-term care residents and providers. Working across a range of stakeholders, we use this understanding and a systems-thinking approach to improve lives by providing solutions for quality care.



A Review of Nursing Home Medicaid Value-Based Payment Programs

February 2022

​Historically, state Medicaid programs have paid a single all-inclusive per-diem amount for every Medicaid beneficiary. Several services and treatments (i.e., medications, tests, procedures, treatments, and clinician fees) are excluded from this amount and are covered either by Medicare or Medicaid under varying arrangements, but most often in a fee-for-service arrangement. Because these per diem payments are distributed unrelated to the quality of care provided, they have been criticized for not incentivizing better quality. Value-based payments (VBP) have been used as an alternative payment model to incorporate quality to the payment to nursing facilities. Also known as pay for performance, these VBP programs link payments with the quality of care received by residents through varying arrangements thus promoting and incentivizing providers to focus on quality instead of volume of care.  



 COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

 Quality Improvement & Measurement

​Our Staff

 David Gifford, MD, MPH: Center Director

David Gifford, MD, MPH, is a geriatrician who currently serves as Chief Medical Officer at the American Health Care Association (AHCA). He helped create the Quality Department at AHCA, which assists providers in their quality improvement efforts and works with administration officials on regulations and policies impacting the profession. He also established the Center for Health Policy and evaluation in LTC at AHCA and currently oversees AHCA’s Long Term Care Data Cooperative, a National Institute of Aging funded initiative to link EMR data from nursing homes to help improve care. Dr. Gifford also serves on the Board of the Baldrige Foundation and chairs the U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs Geriatric and Gerontology Advisory Committee, a congressional chartered committee to advise the U.S. Secretary of Veteran’s Affairs on geriatric services for veterans.

He is a former Director of the Rhode Island State Department of Health from 2005 to 2011, where he received the National Governor’s Distinguished Service Award for State Officials for his management of the H1N1 influenza outbreak. Prior to that, he served as Chief Medical Officer for Quality Partners of Rhode Island, where he directed the CMS national nursing home-based quality improvement effort. He holds a faculty appointment at Brown University Medical School and School of Public Health and served as medical director in several nursing homes in Rhode Island. He received his medical degree from Case Western Reserve University and conducted his geriatric fellowship at UCLA, where he also earned his Master’s in Public Health while a Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholar.

 Kiran Sreenivas, MS, CPHQ: Associate Center Director

Kiran Sreenivas is the Vice President of Research at the American Health Care Association (AHCA) in Washington, DC. He oversees providing internal and external stakeholders with data and analyses to support AHCA’s mission of improving lives and delivering solutions for quality care.

His passion is helping others use data to make informed decisions. Before joining AHCA in 2015, he worked for four years at America’s Essential Hospitals on a collaborative to reduce hospital readmissions and hospital-acquired conditions, such as pressure ulcers and surgical site infections.

Kiran received his master’s in health policy at George Washington University and his bachelor’s in biology at Northwestern University.

 Stephanie M. Kissam, MPH: Associate Center Director

Stephanie M. Kissam is a health services researcher with over 20 years of leadership in public health program development, research, and management. She started at AHCA in October 2023 after nearly 15 years at RTI International, where she led large national evaluation projects for the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation and the Administration for Community Living.  Her areas of research include state health policy, health IT implementation, nursing home quality measure development and maintenance, and outcomes of value-based payment models. She received her Master’s in Public Health from the University of Michigan.

 Holly Harmon, RN, MBA, LNHA, FACHCA: Senior Clinical Fellow

Holly Harmon, RN, MBA, LNHA, FACHCA brings both passion and a wealth of practical, real-world, clinical and operational experience to her role as Associate Vice President, Quality & Clinical Affairs at AHCA. Her extensive service in a wide array of settings including post-acute care, long term care, residential care, assisted living, independent living, a psychiatric hospital and occupational health have provided her with insights, knowledge, skills and innovative ideas which she exuberantly shares with others.
In addition to her vast clinical experience, Ms. Harmon has put her dynamic energy into leading the statewide Maine Culture Change Coalition/LANE as President, the Maine Partnership to Improve Dementia Care in Nursing Homes as Co-Chair, Vice-President of American College of Health Care Administrators, Maine Chapter and the Maine LANE Co-Convener for the national Advancing Excellence in America’s Nursing Homes Campaign. She also served as the Director of Quality Improvement & Regulatory Affairs at the Maine Health Care Association.
She puts her boundless energy and warm and energetic personality into training, education and presenting both, nationally and locally. She has made simplifying the complex world of long term and post-acute care policy and practice an art.

 Terry Hawk, MS: Senior Research Analyst

Terry Hawk is the Senior Research Analyst at the American Health Care Association (AHCA) in Washington, DC. He oversees data and quality tracking for use in Research, AHCA/NCAL’s Clinically Integrated Networks, and the Long-Term Care Data Cooperative to support AHCA’s mission of improving lives and delivering solutions for quality care.

Terry has worked with a wide range of healthcare settings and their data including inpatient, hospice, home health, and most of all skilled nursing and assisted living facilities. His interest is helping translate data insights into actionable outcomes to inform data practices and regulations.

Terry received his master’s in public health nutrition at University of Washington - Seattle and his bachelor’s in biomedical studies at University of Oklahoma.

 Valerie Williams, MHA: Research Associate

Valerie N. Williams is the Research Associate at the American Health Care Association (AHCA) in Washington, DC. She manages Battelle’s PQM endorsement of AHCA/NCAL’s CoreQ quality measures, helps maintain Power BI data reports, and share data and findings with constituent groups.

She enjoys working in the health care sector. Before joining AHCA, she worked at a freestanding emergency room for 4 years and a DC area SNF for 5 years both in the Business/Finance office assisting patients/residents/families navigate the financial processes.

Valerie received her Master’s Degree in Health Care Administration at University of Maryland Global Campus and her Bachelor’s Degree in Health Care Administration at University of Maryland -Baltimore County (UMBC).

 KeShawn Franklin, MBA: Manager

Since 2015, KeShawn has worked with the American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) providing her skills to the Quality, Regulatory, and Research Departments and members of the long-term care sector. In 2021, she expanded her role by joining the Research department as the Manager of LTC Trend Tracker and Quality.

In her current role, KeShawn supports the advancement of AHCA/NCAL’s mission of "Improving Lives by Delivering Solutions for Quality Care” through the day-to-day operations and management of the LTC Trend Tracker system, serving as the staff liaison of AHCA/NCAL’s Customer Experience Committee, and her involvement in various quality improvement & research efforts.

She obtained her Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from Howard University and obtained her M.B.A. with a concentration in Project Management, from the University of Phoenix.

 Lucille Xiang, MPH: Research Analyst

Lucille joined the AHCA/NCAL Research team this past July 2023 having recently graduated from Brown with her Master’s of Public Health (MPH). At Brown, she worked part-time at the Center for Gerontology and Healthcare Research doing research on a variety of long-term care topics.

In her current role, Lucille applies her practical and technical abilities to analyze data and communicate research findings into solutions to improve quality of care for AHCA/NCAL members and state affiliates.