Nursing Home Quality Assurance Requirements in Nursing Homes
Pursuant to federal regulations in 42 CFR § 483.75, quality assurance and performance improvement.
(a) Quality assurance and performance improvement (QAPI) program. Each LTC facility, including a facility that is part of a multiunit chain, must develop, implement, and maintain an effective, comprehensive, data-driven QAPI program that focuses on indicators of the outcomes of care and quality of life. The facility must—
(1) Maintain documentation and demonstrate evidence of its ongoing QAPI program that meets the requirements of this section. This may include but is not limited to systems and reports demonstrating systematic identification, reporting, investigation, analysis, and prevention of adverse events; and documentation demonstrating the development, implementation, and evaluation of corrective actions or performance improvement activities;
(2) Present its QAPI plan to the State Survey Agency no later than 1 year after the promulgation of this regulation;
(3) Present its QAPI plan to a State Survey Agency or Federal surveyor at each annual recertification survey and upon request during any other survey and to CMS upon request; and
(4) Present documentation and evidence of its ongoing QAPI program’s implementation and the facility’s compliance with requirements to a State Survey Agency, Federal surveyor or CMS upon request.
(b) Program design and scope. A facility must design its QAPI program to be ongoing, comprehensive, and to address the full range of care and services provided by the facility. It must:
(1) Address all systems of care and management practices;
(2) Include clinical care, quality of life, and resident choice;
(3) Utilize the best available evidence to define and measure indicators of quality and facility goals that reflect processes of care and facility operations that have been shown to be predictive of desired outcomes for residents of a SNF or NF.
(4) Reflect the complexities, unique care, and services that the facility provides.
(c) Program feedback, data systems and monitoring. A facility must establish and implement written policies and procedures for feedback, data collections systems, and monitoring, including adverse event monitoring. The policies and procedures must include, at a minimum, the following:
(1) Facility maintenance of effective systems to obtain and use of feedback and input from direct care staff, other staff, residents, and resident representatives, including how such information will be used to identify problems that are high risk, high volume, or problem-prone, and opportunities for improvement.
(2) Facility maintenance of effective systems to identify, collect, and use data and information from all departments, including but not limited to the facility assessment required at §483.70(e) and including how such information will be used to develop and monitor performance indicators.
(3) Facility development, monitoring, and evaluation of performance indicators, including the methodology and frequency for such development, monitoring, and evaluation.
(4) Facility adverse event monitoring, including the methods by which the facility will systematically identify, report, track, investigate, analyze and use data and information relating to adverse events in the facility, including how the facility will use the data to develop activities to prevent adverse events.
(d) Program systematic analysis and systemic action. (1) The facility must take actions aimed at performance improvement and, after implementing those actions, measure its success, and track performance to ensure that improvements are realized and sustained.
Requirements for Quality Assurance Policies and Procedures
(2) The facility will develop and implement policies addressing:
(i) How they will use a systematic approach to determine underlying causes of problems impacting larger systems;
(ii) How they will develop corrective actions that will be designed to effect change at the systems level to prevent quality of care, quality of life, or safety problems ; and
(iii) How the facility will monitor the effectiveness of its performance improvement activities to ensure that improvements are sustained.
(e) Program activities. (1) The facility must set priorities for its performance improvement activities that focus on high-risk, high-volume, or problem-prone areas; consider the incidence, prevalence, and severity of problems in those areas; and affect health outcomes, resident safety, resident autonomy, resident choice, and quality of care.
(2) Performance improvement activities must track medical errors and adverse resident events, analyze their causes, and implement preventive actions and mechanisms that include feedback and learning throughout the facility.
(3) As a part of their performance improvement activities, the facility must conduct distinct performance improvement projects. The number and frequency of improvement projects conducted by the facility must reflect the scope and complexity of the facility’s services and available resources, as reflected in the facility assessment required at §483.70(e). Improvement projects must include at least annually a project that focuses on high risk or problem-prone areas identified through the data collection and analysis described in paragraphs (c) and (d) of this section.
(f) Governance and leadership. The governing body and/or executive leadership (or organized group or individual who assumes full legal authority and responsibility for operation of the facility) is responsible and accountable for ensuring that—
(1) An ongoing QAPI program is defined, implemented, and maintained and addresses identified priorities.
(2) The QAPI program is sustained during transitions in leadership and staffing;
(3) The QAPI program is adequately resourced, including ensuring staff time, equipment, and technical training as needed;
(4) The QAPI program identifies and prioritizes problems and opportunities that reflect organizational process, functions, and services provided to resident based on performance indicator data, and resident and staff input, and other information.
(5) Corrective actions address gaps in systems, and are evaluated for effectiveness; and
(6) Clear expectations are set around safety, quality, rights, choice, and respect.
(g) Quality assessment and assurance. (1) A facility must maintain a quality assessment and assurance committee consisting at a minimum of:
(i) The director of nursing services;
(ii) The Medical Director or his or her designee;
(iii) At least three other members of the facility’s staff, at least one of who must be the administrator, owner, a board member or other individual in a leadership role; and
(iv) The infection control and prevention officer.
(2) The quality assessment and assurance committee reports to the facility’s governing body, or designated person(s) functioning as a governing body regarding its activities, including implementation of the QAPI program required under paragraphs (a) through (e) of this section. The committee must:
(i) Meet at least quarterly and as needed to coordinate and evaluate activities under the QAPI program, such as identifying issues with respect to which quality assessment and assurance activities, including performance improvement projects required under the QAPI program, are necessary; and
(ii) Develop and implement appropriate plans of action to correct identified quality deficiencies; and
(iii) Regularly review and analyze data, including data collected under the QAPI program and data resulting from drug regimen reviews, and act on available data to make improvements.
(h) Disclosure of information. A State or the Secretary may not require disclosure of the records of such committee except in so far as such disclosure is related to the compliance of such committee with the requirements of this section.
(i) Sanctions. Good faith attempts by the committee to identify and correct quality deficiencies will not be used as a basis for sanctions.
For more information about quality assurance requirements or other questions about elder abuse and neglect contact Nursing Home Neglect Attorney Kenneth LaBore for a free consultation at 612-743-9048 or by email at KLaBore @ MNnursinghomeneglect.com.