Patient Satisfaction News

CMS Program to Support Patient Safety in Nursing Home Care

The program will empower nursing home workers with the skills needed to improve patient safety and care quality, CMS says.

patient safety nursing home

By Sara Heath

- CMS is ramping up its efforts to improve patient safety and care quality in nursing home settings.

Through the Civil Money Penalty Reinvestment Program (CMPRP), the agency aims to give nursing home employees and caregivers the tools necessary to improve patient safety and care quality, ideally creating a better patient experience.

Central to the three-year program will be various practice improvement products CMS will provide to nursing homes. These tools aim to improve nursing home staffers’ care delivery skills and will include staff competency assessments, instructional guides, training webinars, and technical assistance seminars.

Ideally, these tools will equip nursing home managers, administrators, nurses, and other providers with the tools needed to reduce adverse patient safety events, improve dementia care, and strengthen staff quality both through better staff performance and lower staff turnover.

In addition to announcing the program, CMS has released the first of its CMPRP toolkits. This first guide, which looks at nursing home staff safety and competency, will help nursing homes evaluate their own processes and determine where they are succeeding and where they need to revamp strategies.

From there, CMPRP is able to provide relevant funding to nursing homes to with an improvement action plan. CMPRP is also prepared to aid these nursing homes with technical assistance and other learning opportunities.

The competency assessments focus on three areas:

  • Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA)/Certified Medication Technicians (CMT)
  • Licensed Practical/Vocational Nurses (LVN/LPN) and Registered Nurses (RN)
  • Assistant directors of nursing (ADON), directors of nursing (DON) and administrators

The guide comes complete with instructions for conducting the self-assessment, educating providers on completing the assessment, and creating provider buy-in for the assessment.

Other CMPRP toolkits will include a nursing home employee satisfaction survey, a guide to improving nursing home employee satisfaction, and access to best practices from top performers.

CMS created this program as a part of its efforts to improve care quality and patient safety across the healthcare spectrum. Currently, CMS has also worked to improve patient experiences in nursing homes through the Nursing Home Compare and star ratings websites, public availability of payroll-based staff data, and the National Partnership to Improve Dementia Care in Nursing Homes.

The partnership focuses on reducing inappropriate prescribing of antipsychotic drugs in dementia patient population.

“CMS is committed to ensuring nursing home residents are safe and receive quality care,” said CMS Administrator Seema Verma. “We are pleased to offer nursing home staff practical tools and assistance to improve resident care and positively impact the lives of individuals in our nation’s nursing homes.”

CMS funded this three-year program through federal civil money penalties, which are penalties that nursing homes have to pay to CMS when they are noncompliant with certain regulations or when there are serious patient safety events.

Usually, CMS sends a portion of these payments to states to do more unique, statewide initiatives. CMS has developed CMPRP using the funds that it retains and has partnered with industry leaders to create toolkits that are most relevant to all nursing home stakeholders.

Concerted efforts to improve patient safety usually yield positive results, data shows. A 2018 assessment from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) showed that implementing best practices for patient safety reduced hospital-acquired conditions by 8 percent between 2014 and 2016.

Hospital-acquired conditions may include adverse drug events, catheter-associated urinary tract infections, central-line associated bloodstream infections, pressure injuries, and surgical site infections, among others, AHRQ explained.

In total, reductions in adverse hospital events prevented about 8,000 deaths and saved approximately $2.9 billion.

Improving patient safety in healthcare facilities is an essential part of a positive patient experience. While healthcare organizations do look to better patient-provider communication, streamlined processes, and amenable facilities, they must also drive patient safety to improve satisfaction scores.


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