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Health Care Providers and the Public Reporting of Nursing Home Quality in the United States Department of Veterans Affairs: Protocol for a Mixed Methods Pilot Study.

Pimentel CB, Clark V, Baughman AW, Berlowitz DR, Davila H, Mills WL, Mohr DC, Sullivan JL, Hartmann CW. Health Care Providers and the Public Reporting of Nursing Home Quality in the United States Department of Veterans Affairs: Protocol for a Mixed Methods Pilot Study. JMIR research protocols. 2021 Jul 21; 10(7):e23516.

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BACKGROUND: In June 2018, the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) began the public reporting of its 134 Community Living Centers'' (CLCs) overall quality by using a 5-star rating system based on data from the national quality measures captured in CLC Compare. Given the private sector''s positive experience with report cards, this is a seminal moment for stimulating measurable quality improvements in CLCs. However, the public reporting of CLC Compare data raises substantial and immediate implications for CLCs. The report cards, for example, facilitate comparisons between CLCs and community nursing homes in which CLCs generally fare worse. This may lead to staff anxiety and potentially unintended consequences. Additionally, CLC Compare is designed to spur improvement, yet the motivating aspects of the report cards are unknown. Understanding staff attitudes and early responses is a critical first step in building the capacity for public reporting to spur quality. OBJECTIVE: We will adapt an existing community nursing home public reporting survey to reveal important leverage points and support CLCs'' quality improvement efforts. Our work will be grounded in a conceptual framework of strategic orientation. We have 2 aims. First, we will qualitatively examine CLC staff reactions to CLC Compare. Second, we will adapt and expand upon an extant community nursing home survey to capture a broad range of responses and then pilot the adapted survey in CLCs. METHODS: We will conduct interviews with staff at 3 CLCs (1 1-star CLC, 1 3-star CLC, and 1 5-star CLC) to identify staff actions taken in response to their CLCs'' public data; staff''s commitment to or difficulties with using CLC Compare; and factors that motivate staff to improve CLC quality. We will integrate these findings with our conceptual framework to adapt and expand a community nursing home survey to the current CLC environment. We will conduct cognitive interviews with staff in 1 CLC to refine survey items. We will then pilot the survey in 6 CLCs (2 1-star CLCs, 2 3-star CLCs, and 2 5-star CLCs) to assess the survey''s feasibility, acceptability, and preliminary psychometric properties. RESULTS: We will develop a brief survey for use in a future national administration to identify system-wide responses to CLC Compare; evaluate the impact of CLC Compare on veterans'' clinical outcomes and satisfaction; and develop, test, and disseminate interventions to support the meaningful use of CLC Compare for quality improvement. CONCLUSIONS: The knowledge gained from this pilot study and from future work will help VA refine how CLC Compare is used, ensure that CLC staff understand and are motivated to use its quality data, and implement concrete actions to improve clinical quality. The products from this pilot study will also facilitate studies on the effects of public reporting in other critical VA clinical areas. INTERNATIONAL REGISTERED REPORT IDENTIFIER (IRRID): DERR1-10.2196/23516.

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