Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content
Press Releases >>
Progress Made on Safely Reducing the Off-Label Use of Antipsychotic Medications  
Progress Made on Safely Reducing the Off-Label Use of Antipsychotic Medications
AHCA renews 15% Quality Initiative reduction goal
(202) 898-3162


Washington, DC – Since launching the Quality Initiative in February 2012, 11,349 nursing center residents are no longer receiving antipsychotic medications in member facilities. That was the news from the American Health Care Association (AHCA) today, as the Association announced its long term and post-acute care facilities achieved on average a 6.7 percent reduction in the off-label use of these drugs in 2012, nearly half-way to its 15 percent goal as set by the AHCA Quality Initiative.

“When we rolled out these Quality Initiative goals last year, we knew they were ambitious,” said AHCA Board Chair Neil Pruitt, Jr. “While we may not have reached our 2012 year-end goal for antipsychotics, that doesn’t negate the nearly 3,000 member facilities that have achieved our goal, nor more importantly, the 11,349 individuals living with dementia who will enjoy a better quality of life without these medications.”

Nationally, the overall change in antipsychotic use dropped 5.9 percent, from 23.6 percent at the end of 2011, to 22.2 percent at the end of 2012. AHCA represents approximately two-thirds of the nation’s skilled nursing facilities. For AHCA members, the overall change in antipsychotic use dropped from 23.8 percent at the end of 2011 to 22.2 percent at the end of 2012, a 6.7 percent reduction.

Following the announcement of 2012 results, AHCA renewed its 15 percent reduction goal for skilled nursing centers, a similar target established by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) Partnership to Improve Dementia Care in Nursing Homes.

“By partnering with CMS, developing resources for our members and promoting person-centered care, AHCA brought significant awareness to this often misunderstood issue last year,” said Dr. David Gifford, Senior Vice President of Quality and Regulatory Affairs at AHCA. “But we still have work to do. AHCA is confident we can continue this momentum and will reduce the use of antipsychotics by 15 percent before the end of this year.”

Hospital Readmission Results

AHCA also released the most recently available hospital readmission data, another focus of the Quality Initiative with a target reduction of 15 percent before March 2015. The Association used national MDS 3.0 data from CMS and calculated the 30-day, risk-adjusted readmission rate for all nursing centers through Third Quarter 2012 using PointRight’s OnPoint-30® rehospitalization measure. AHCA reported a 1.1 percent reduction of 30-day hospital readmissions during a skilled nursing center stay, bringing the national average down to 18.0 percent.

During 2012, 24.9 percent of AHCA members achieved the 15 percent goal, and 14,330 hospital readmissions were prevented in member facilities. The reduction of hospital readmissions from skilled nursing facilities in 2012 is estimated to have saved the Medicare program approximately $140 million.

“Like our antipsychotics goal, this progress is encouraging, but we still have a great deal of work to do to meet our three-year goal,” commented Dr. Gifford. “We will continue to work with members to emphasize the importance of data tracking, improving communications between providers and increasing the use of consistent staff assignment.”

About the AHCA Quality Initiative

The AHCA Quality Initiative is an effort that builds upon the existing work of the long term and post-acute care field by setting specific, measurable targets to further improve quality of care in America’s skilled nursing centers. AHCA members are encouraged to reach defined, concrete goals over the next three years, in four core areas: hospital readmissions, staff stability, customer satisfaction and the off-label use of antipsychotic medications. For more information, please visit

The American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) represent more than 13,000 non-profit and proprietary skilled nursing centers, assisted living communities, sub-acute centers and homes for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. By delivering solutions for quality care, AHCA/NCAL aims to improve the lives of the millions of frail, elderly and individuals with disabilities who receive long term or post-acute care in our member facilities each day. For more information, please visit or