Empowering Health Care Consumers

Grantee Name

Long Term Care Community Coalition

Funding Area

Empowering Health Care Consumers

Publication Date

January 2019

Grant Amount

$84,979

Grant Date:

January 2017 – April 2018

Despite the critical services nursing homes provide for people with both long-term and short-term needs, they do not always provide safe, high-quality, person-centered care that maintains the physical, emotional, and social wellbeing of the frailest New Yorkers.

To address these problems, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued an overhaul of federal nursing home standards and updated Nursing Home Compare, the government-operated nursing home comparison website, to help the public gain better insight into the quality of care provided by facilities in their communities. In 2017, NYSHealth awarded Long Term Care Community Coalition (LTCCC) a grant to ensure that the new standards and information sources are understood and used by New York’s nursing home residents and their families.

Outcomes and Lessons Learned

  • Organized an outreach campaign to alert nursing home residents and their families, family councils, long-term care ombudsmen, legislative offices, consumer assistance organizations, and other stakeholders about the regulatory changes taking place and updates to Nursing Home Compare, as well as other available free programs and resources.
  • Held monthly webinar trainings on nursing home regulation changes related to quality of care, quality of life, and dignity, including topics on nursing home discharge and transfer protections; dementia care and antipsychotic drugging standards; and care planning and resident choice standards.
  • Conducted monthly outreach about the webinars and other trainings to New York State’s Long Term Care Ombudsman Program (LTCOP) and local LTCOPs across the State, consumer organizations, and county long-term care navigator organizations.
  • Hosted a half-day training conference to further discuss the meaning of the new regulations. Conference materials were distributed to additional stakeholders, such as nursing home staff and staff members from the government agencies that monitor and oversee care.
  • Developed updated fact sheets, a consumer guide, and other tools and materials on nursing home quality and dignity standards to reflect the new regulations, which were posted on LTCCC’s website, redesigned specifically for showcasing these materials, and disseminated widely through regular mail, e-mail alerts, and social media.

LTCCC worked across sectors to educate and inform stakeholders on key changes to the standards and the usefulness of Nursing Home Compare as a tool to access good care. It presented its work at the 2017 National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care annual conference, which in turn led to LTCCC’s executive director being interviewed on a podcast on the topic. At the State level, LTCCC has met and shared its work with the New York State Department of Health, the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, and with legislative officials in Albany, including the Office of the New York State Attorney General, Office of Medicaid Inspector General, and Office of the New York State Comptroller.

Nationally, LTCCC has discussed the project and its outcomes with legislative officials in Washington, D.C., and with senior staff at CMS’s Nursing Home Division. CMS staff were particularly interested in learning about LTCCC’s consumer education/engagement efforts. LTCCC provided input to two key stakeholder workgroups convened by CMS: one that worked with CMS on developing federal guidelines for implementation of the new regulations, and another that helped CMS implement improvements to Nursing Home Compare. In addition, LTCCC’s experiences with consumers in New York State enabled it to provide CMS with essential input as it rolled out a new system of public reporting on nursing home staffing levels—an important indicator of a nursing home’s quality—in 2017–18. This information is now more accessible to consumers, researchers, and policymakers.

Local LTCOPs and other organizations working with seniors continue to use the materials and resources developed by LTCCC to educate consumers and families in their communities—and the number of stakeholders accessing information and advocacy materials from LTCCC continues to grow. Through these efforts, nursing home residents and their families across the State have strengthened their abilities to apply these new mechanisms and protections to their own health and wellbeing.

 Co-Funding and Additional Funds Leveraged: N/A