CoPs Breakdown on the New QAPI Regulations
On January 13th, the rules for CoP’s Quality Assessment and Performance Improvement regulations changed. Section 484.65 QAPI has replaced sections 484.16 (Group of Professional Personnel) and 484.52 (Evaluation of the agency’s program). The new section does a great deal to highlight the responsibilities of the agency’s executive team and expects the governing bodies to focus on technology concepts like data- driven indicators to identify, track, and measure quality initiatives for high risk, high volume or safety issues.
The program includes 5 standards:
• Program Scope 484.65 (a)
• Program Data 484.65 (b)
• Program Activities 484.65 (c)
• Performance Improvement Projects 484.65 (d)
• Executive Responsibilities 484.65 (e)
Agencies are required to develop a data-driven QAPI program with measurable improvement indicators. The organization must measure, analyze, and track quality indicators including a patient’s adverse events, as well as other signs of performance to assess processes, services, and operations. However, it is not enough to just create the indicators. Agencies must use data to provide evidence that the improvement has led to improved health outcomes (ex: reduced hospitalizations, ED visits), safety and quality of care for patients.
The QAPI program must utilize quality indicator data, including measures derived from OASIS that CMS has reported, to assess the quality of care provided to the patients and identify, prioritize, and manage opportunities for improvement. The QA efforts, including data collection, should focus on high-priority safety and health conditions. Like the program scope, data collected should support the quality measures and identify opportunities for improvement.
Agencies will need to focus on those areas of past performance which have proven problematic for the agency over time or areas where there was clear evidence of poor patient outcomes as well as high risk and high volume.
The QAPI activities should include incidence, prevalence, and severity of problems in those areas. So that preventative actions and mechanisms can be implemented, agencies must track and analyze activities over time to ensure sustained improvements. Management should immediately correct any issues identified that directly or potentially threaten the health and safety of patients.
Performance Improvement Projects
The QAPI program requires that agencies performance improvement projects be conducted annually, at a minimum. The plan should reflect each agencies unique scope, complexity, and past performance. There should be clear documentation of the QAPI projects including the reason for conducting these projects and the measurable progress achieved.
The agency’s governing body must define, implement, and maintain a program for quality improvement and patient safety that is ongoing and agency-wide.
The governing body for each agency is responsible for ensuring the QAPI reflects the complexity of the organization and its services, including contract and arrangement, are focused on indicators related to improved outcomes. They must also approve the frequency and level of detail in data collection. The governing body should establish clear expectations for patient safety and address issues in performance across the spectrum of care including the prevention and reduction of medical errors.
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