Targeting nursing homes under the Quality Improvement Organization program's 9th statement of work

J Am Geriatr Soc. 2009 Sep;57(9):1678-84. doi: 10.1111/j.1532-5415.2009.02401.x. Epub 2009 Aug 4.


In the Quality Improvement Organization (QIO) program's latest Statement of Work, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is targeting its nursing home activities toward facilities that perform poorly on two quality measures-pressure ulcers and restraint use. The designation of target facilities is a shift in strategy for CMS and a direct response to criticism that QIO program resources were not being targeted effectively to facilities or clinical areas that most needed improvement. Using administrative data, this article analyzes implications of using narrowly defined criteria to identify facilities that need improvement, particularly in light of considerable evidence showing that nursing home quality is multidimensional and may change over time. The analyses show that one in four facilities is targeted for improvement nationally but that approximately half of some states' facilities are targeted while other states have almost none targeted. The analyses also convey deeper limitations to using threshold values on individual measures to identify poorly performing homes. Target facilities can be among the top performers on a range of other quality measures, and their performance on targeted measures themselves may change over time. The implication of these features is that a very different group of facilities would have been chosen had the QIO program targeted other measures or examined performance at a different point in time. Ultimately, CMS has chosen a blunt instrument to identify poorly performing nursing homes, and supplemental strategies-such as soliciting input from state survey agencies and more closely aligning quality improvement and quality assurance efforts-should be considered to address potential limitations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Homes for the Aged / standards*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Nursing Homes / standards*
  • Pressure Ulcer / epidemiology
  • Pressure Ulcer / prevention & control
  • Quality Assurance, Health Care / standards*
  • Quality Indicators, Health Care / standards*
  • Restraint, Physical / statistics & numerical data
  • United States
  • Utilization Review