With the final rule recently being announced regarding QAPI regulations, the clock is ticking. All nursing homes will have one year from the effective date to develop their initial QAPI program. Here is a list of things to get nursing homes thinking all things QAPI:
1. QAPI is a requirement for every nursing home.
As mandated by the Affordable Care Act, once the final QAPI regulation has been announced nursing homes will have one year to get a functioning program in place.
2. QAPI helps nursing homes actively pursue quality improvement.
Quality management isn’t an entirely new concept for nursing homes. But QAPI, which marries quality assurance (QA) and performance improvement (PI) in order to drive clinical quality and resident quality of life, is less responsive and more proactive than what many nursing homes have done previously.
3. Nursing homes benefit financially from effective QAPI.
Yes, having a QAPI program will eventually be required. But there are many other reasons for nursing homes to pursue QAPI, for example, financial protection. Effective quality management protects organizations from costly errors and financial penalties that result from not meeting safety, quality and other performance standards.
4. CMS has a framework in place to follow.
Nursing homes have flexibility when designing their QAPI programs, but it isn’t necessary to start from scratch. CMS has done some of the initial work by outlining key elements to include in QAPI. Additionally, CMS recommends a set of steps that can be used when making quality improvement plans.
5. There are many QAPI tools and resources available.
Organizations that want to manage quality themselves should be able to find a wide number of tools and resources to use. This includes QAPI materials created by CMS, as well as other types of quality improvement resources that can be applied to a QAPI program. There are also many vendors and quality improvement partners that nursing homes can partner with if they want outside help.
6. Effective quality management is reliant upon data.
Managing quality takes a lot of analysis. It involves collecting data and looking at it to monitor and measure performance outcomes. Nursing homes must have a way to collect information on a number of different data points, and then analyze and use that data to understand progress and direct QAPI efforts. This data abstraction and analysis can be done internally or outsourced.
7. All QAPI programs are not the same.
Every organization needs to focus on different quality management efforts based on its unique makeup and the needs of its residents. Since, QAPI programs need to be tailored to the specific programs and services a facility offers, as well as the various resident groups, QAPI programs look different from one nursing home to the next. Having a well-designed program is necessary for QAPI efforts to be effective.
As the points above illustrate, QAPI offers many benefits to nursing homes and residents. It takes a lot of planning and work to implement a new QAPI program. For that reason, a final “bonus” point that nursing homes should understand sooner than later is: there is no reason to wait to get started with QAPI. The TIME is now. Nursing homes that have not started planning their QAPI program should begin today. Any type of large scale change takes time to implement, and quality improvement is no exception.
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