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Could incentive program prevent nursing home neglect?

In an effort to raise the quality of care in nursing homes across the country, officials in one U.S. state are testing a new approach. Instead of the current reactionary system of penalizing nursing homes that do not comply with minimal standards, the state is implementing an award system to offer financial incentives to facilities that provide a higher quality of care for residents.Under the new system, nearly 10 percent of the Medicaid payments made to nursing homes will be awarded based on a variety of quality of care factors, such as rates of medical complications, the number of nurses on staff and residents' happiness and satisfaction. Currently, Colorado and a handful of other states have similar systems in place, but officials say that they do not provide great enough incentives to motivate change at nursing home facilities. Under the new system, those incentives will be much greater.For example, the bonuses given in Colorado generally range from 60 cents to 6 dollars per day if facilities meet the standards laid out by state officials. The new program will award payments of up to about $16 per Medicaid patient per day if the facility meets at least five of 20 quality of care standards.

Although these incentives are only being tested in Ohio, it could be rolled out to Colorado and other states if it is found to be successful. In addition, Medicare reportedly plans to roll out a similar program nationally over the next few years.

What do you think? Will incentive programs work to reduce nursing home neglect?

Source: USA Today, "Nursing homes urged to improve with incentives," Judith Graham, Aug. 14, 2012

The attorneys at our Denver law firm represent clients and their families in cases of nursing home abuse. To learn more about what we do, see our practice area page.

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