NASEM Report Calls for Change in Nursing Home Care

Nursing Home quality in the United States has been a longstanding health policy issue. As one family member stated however, “The pandemic has lifted the veil on what has been an invisible social ill for decades.” In an effort to transform nursing home care in the US,  The National Imperative to Improve Nursing Home Quality: Honoring Our Commitment to Residents, Families, and Staff, was released in early April by a committee at the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM). HCP Professor David Grabowski was a member of the 17-person committee NASEM committee.

The NASEM report concluded that the way in which the United States finances, delivers, and regulates care in nursing home settings is ineffective, inefficient, fragmented, and unsustainable. The committee argued that immediate action is needed to initiate fundamental change.

The report provides a series of recommendations around seven broad goals: 1) deliver comprehensive, person-centered, equitable care that ensures the health, quality of life, and safety of nursing home residents; promotes resident autonomy; and manages risks; 2) ensure a well-prepared, empowered, and appropriately compensated workforce; 3) increase transparency and accountability of finances, operations, and ownership; 4) create a more rational and robust financing system; 5) design a more effective and responsive system of quality assurance; 6) expand and enhance quality measurement and continuous quality improvement; and adopt health information technology in all nursing homes. The committee proposed a timeline to implement the reforms.

Members of the committee are hopeful recent policy and media attention make these issues too big to ignore. As Dr. Grabowski told the Associated Press: “It has been a long time since we as a country have been willing to dig in and reform how we finance, pay, regulate, and deliver nursing home services.”

Dr. Grabowski and colleagues published a piece in STAT. Further information on Dr. Grabowski’s research can be found on the HCP website.