QAPI is Rolling

Well we knew it was coming…. I just didn’t expect it now.  Just as summer has started, we’re brought in from the beach, the baseball field and the cookout to CMS’s announcement that they are rolling out QAPI materials for Nursing Homes.  You have no excuse now!

According to the memorandum to State Survey Agency Directors, CMS has made introductory materials available on the CMS QAPI website including:

  • QAPI at a Glance – a guide for understanding and implementing QAPI in nursing homes
  • QAPI Tools – process tools, within QAPI at a Glance, to help providers establish a foundation in QAPI
  • QAPI News Brief – a newsletter describing basic principles of QAPI
  • Video – Nursing Home QAPI – What’s in it for you? – introduces QAPI, its value to residents, their families and caregivers, and what is in it for nursing homes that embrace QAPI

These materials are meant to serve as a foundation for providers to implement and sustain QAPI.  You now have what you need to get started. Right?

So what else can you do now that you have “foundation” materials.  QAPI is all about the quality of the services you are providing.  Your staff’s skills and performance will be key factors and indicators in all of your performance improvement initiatives.  And while CMS plans to expand the QAPI website, for you, your residents and even your residents’ families, you are going to have to be proactive and get out in front of this before your survey identifies you as behind the curve.

Your staff’s competence on everything from reducing rehospitalization to wound care, from compliance with fraud and abuse to ADL care is going to be measured, tracked and examined in order to find out how that is impacting your quality assurance.

Are they ready? If not, how are you going to prepare them?

First, you need to get to the root of your problem.  See where I’m going? In order to have a successful quality assurance program that empowers staff to improve, you need to recognize the factors that result in poor outcomes or consequences in order to identify what behaviors or actions your staff needs to take or change to prevent recurrence and confirm lessons learned.

By understanding your problems, you can determine what you are improving…. your Performance Improvement (the PI in QAPI).  You can understand where you’re starting at and gather data based on the root cause analysis and use that as the benchmark for improvement.

Cheryl Swann

Cheryl Swann, RN-BC, BSN, WCC, LNHA has worked in long-term care for 20 years. Mrs. Swann has worked in many positions including Director of Nursing, Medicare Nurse Coordinator and Nursing Home Administrator. Cheryl is certified in both Gerontological nursing and wound care. In the past, she has assisted in the operations of multiple nursing facilities, including staffing, payroll, public health concerns, family member issues, management of consultant relationships (e.g. pharmacy, dietary, etc.), and as an intermediary between long-term care facilities and doctors. Mrs. Swann worked closely with federal monitors and the Office of Inspector General in developing an effective Continuous Quality Improvement and compliance program in her organization. Mrs. Swann has presented nationally regarding effective Quality Assurance, Restraint Reduction, Wound Prevention, CMS Five Star Quality Rating System and Developing a Corporate Compliance Program. Her expertise includes staff training and development, Quality Assurance and Performance Improvement initiatives, and policy development.

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