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Skilled Nursing Profession Expands National Initiative  
Skilled Nursing Profession Expands National Initiative
New goals build on sector’s momentum of progress
(202) 898-3165


Washington, D.C. — The American Health Care Association (AHCA) today announced the expansion of its nationwide, multi-year initiative to improve quality care in skilled nursing care centers. Building on the progress achieved by the profession over the last three years, the next phase of the initiative includes eight measurable targets with a strategic focus on three priorities: improvements in organizational success; short-stay/post-acute care; and long-term/dementia care.

“Our members have embraced the Quality Initiative, and we’re proud of their significant achievements,” said AHCA President and CEO Mark Parkinson. “The next phase sets the bar even higher. The goals and priorities we have established will continue to improve lives and deliver solutions for the patients, residents and families we serve.”

The goals of the Association’s Quality Initiative for the next three years include new areas of focus for quality enhancement. The eight target areas and priorities are:

Improve Organizational Success by:

 - Increasing staff stability by decreasing turnover among nursing staff by 15 percent or achieve and maintain a turnover rate of 40 percent or less by March 2018;

 - At least 25 percent of members measuring and reporting long-stay resident and family satisfaction and/or short-stay satisfaction using the Core-Q survey;

 - Reducing the number of unintended health care outcomes by March 2018;

Improve Short-Stay/Post-Acute Care by:

 - Safely reducing the number of hospital readmissions within 30 days during a skilled nursing center stay by an additional 15 percent or achieve and maintain a low rate of 10 percent by March 2018;

 - Improving discharge back to the community by 10 percent or achieve and maintain a high rate of at least 70 percent by March 2018;

 - At least 25 percent of members adopting and using the mobility and self-care sections of the CARE tool and report functional outcome measures using LTC Trend Tracker;

Improve Long-Term/Dementia Care by:

 - Safely reducing the off-label use of antipsychotics in long-stay nursing center residents by an additional 10 percent by December 2015 and 15 percent by December 2016;

 - Safely reducing hospitalizations among long-stay residents by 15 percent or achieve and maintain a low rate of 10 percent or less by March 2018.

“Striving for quality improvement is a journey.  It’s about beginning and never stopping.  This Initiative gives skilled nursing care providers a road map to work from,” said Leonard Russ, AHCA Board Chair, and Principal Partner of Bayberry Health Care and Co-Owner of Aaron Manor Nursing and Rehabilitation in New York. “It gives us all goals to achieve so we can continue to deliver high-quality care and improve the lives of those we serve every day.  I’m proud to be a part of this effort and challenge others to continue the quality journey with me.”

Since the launch of the Quality Initiative in 2012, AHCA members have achieved reductions in the use of antipsychotics and in hospital readmissions. Specifically, member organizations safely reduced the off-label use of antipsychotic medications by 21.2 percent compared to the national average of 19.4 percent in the fourth quarter of 2014. As a result, 33,100 individuals are no longer receiving these medications. For hospital readmissions, AHCA members successfully prevented 40,424 individuals from returning to the hospital — a 14.2 percent reduction since 2011.

“The next three years of the Quality Initiative will position nursing care providers to achieve even greater successes in improving outcomes for their patients and residents,” said Mary Ousley, AHCA Quality Cabinet Co-Chair and Chief Strategy Officer for PruittHealth. “Studies show that health care centers that apply a systematic, data-driven approach to their organization consistently outperform those that do not in terms of quality. That’s why we not only aligned all of our goals with CMS national priories, such as Five-Star, but we are also being much more strategic about our approach.”

AHCA will use CMS data and measures to track progress of the goals. Members can view their progress using AHCA’s LTC Trend TrackerSM, a web-based, data collection and benchmarking tool.

Visit for more information about the AHCA Quality Initiative.


The American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) represents more than 13,700 non-profit and proprietary skilled nursing centers, assisted living communities, sub-acute centers and homes for individuals with intellectual and development 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