MU Sinclair School of Nursing receives nearly $20 million

11 months 2 weeks 6 days ago April 06, 2016 Apr 6, 2016 Wednesday, April 06 2016 Wednesday, April 06, 2016 10:51:00 AM CDT in News
By: Luisangel Rodriguez, KOMU 8 Digital Producer

COLUMBIA - The University of Missouri Sinclair School of Nursing announced Wednesday they have received nearly $20 million in funding from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

According to a press release, the money is going to be used to expand the Sinclair School of Nursing’s Missouri Quality Initiative for Nursing Homes. This program works to create a national model for senior care and significantly reduce national health care spending.

The Missouri Quality Initiative for Nursing Homes was launched in 2012 and is a partnership among MU, CMS and state Medicaid programs, and 16 nursing homes in St. Louis committed to improving care.

"We have already seen monumental success from the Missouri Quality Initiative for Nursing Homes," said Judith Fitzgerald Miller, dean of the Sinclair School of Nursing. "Just last month our researchers received kudos from CMS from the first phase of the project. Having the opportunity to expand this program showcases the university's commitment to improving nursing homes and care of older adults not only in Missouri, but across the nation."

The second phase of the program will take place at an additional 16 homes that have systems in place to manage the most common diseases associated with hospitalizations: pneumonia, dehydration, congestive heart failure, urinary tract infections, skin ulcers and asthma.

This money is intended to avoid unnecessarily hospitalizing residents of nursing homes.

"One of the challenges nursing homes face in determining care is the amount of payment they receive from CMS," said Curators' Professor Emerita of Nursing Marilyn Rantz. "This disparity in payment, between what hospitals are paid and the significantly less amount nursing homes are paid leads nursing homes to hospitalize residents who could have been cared for in the home. For example, a physician can bill CMS $203 for a resident hospitalized with pneumonia, but a nursing home can only bill $136. This inequity means that decisions about resident care can come down to money, not what is best for the patient."

Since launching, the Missouri Quality Initiative for Nursing Homes has recruited and placed an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) at 16 participating nursing homes. The APRNs worked with nursing home staff and health providers to coordinate patient care. One of the results of the project was a 34.5 percent decrease in potentially avoidable hospitalizations.

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