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MU Sinclair School of Nursing Receives Kudos for Results in CMS Initiative Aimed at Reducing Avoidable Hospitalizations of Nursing Home Residents

Reducing avoidable hospitalizations will improve patient care, lower health care costs

February 3rd, 2016

Story Contact: Sheena Rice, 573-882-8353,

COLUMBIA, Mo. – The University of Missouri Sinclair School of Nursing today announced they are achieving leading results in their Missouri Quality Initiative for Nursing Homes, as reported in Project Year Three Final Annual Report, Evaluation of the Initiative to Reduce Avoidable Hospitalizations Among Nursing Facility Residents, released by Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

“I am so proud of the team of researchers who are leading this successful Missouri Quality Initiative for Nursing Homes,” said Judith Fitzgerald Miller, dean of the Sinclair School of Nursing. “To be a leader in achieving results in this seven-state demonstration showcases the university’s commitment to improving nursing homes and care of older adults not only in Missouri, but across the nation.  We have nursing and social work leaders who are gerontological experts who designed the successful initiative that is transforming care for older adults and saving CMS money.”

Launched in 2012, the Missouri Quality Initiative for Nursing Homes is a partnership among MU, CMS and state Medicaid programs initiated to improve care at 16 nursing facilities in St. Louis. Through this program the Sinclair School of Nursing is working to create a national model for senior care and significantly reduce national health care spending. The program is led by Marilyn Rantz, a Curators Professor of Nursing and a team of MU researchers.

“The cornerstone of our Initiative is having an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) working full time in each of the 16 nursing facilities. They are key to working with the residents and staff, helping staff recognize changes in health status quickly and getting treatment in place early, so people can avoid getting seriously ill and recover more quickly,” Rantz said. “The APRNs are constantly educating the nursing facility staff about the care of the residents and helping them improve the health of each person and the skills of the staff. We are excited to be leading in the national initiative and want to see APRNs practicing in nursing homes nationwide.”

The Year 3 Report, prepared by RTI International, found that there are strong patterns indicating intervention effects in reducing utilization and spending. Overall, these results suggest that reduced hospitalizations and expenditures in Missouri from 2012 to 2014 are associated with the Missouri Quality Initiative for Nursing Homes.

The Missouri Quality Initiative for Nursing Homes is now in year four, and is working to continue improving care and outcomes even more. Rantz’s pioneering work in nursing homes’ care quality spans more than thirty years; she is regarded as a premier international expert in quality measurement in nursing homes and research programs to improve quality of care of older people.

Other MU nursing school researchers involved in the project include:
Greg Alexander, professor
Marcia Flesner, clinical instructor
Jessica Mueller, program coordinator
Lori Popejoy, associate professor
Amy Vogelsmeier, associate professor

MU researchers from other colleges and schools include:
Colleen Galambos, professor in the College of Human Environmental Sciences’ School of Social Work
Greg Petroski, biostatistician in the Medical Research Office

Subcontractors on the grant are Primaris, a federally designated organization that works to improve health care quality and affordability for Missouri residents, and Missouri Health Connections, a non-profit organization that creates secure health information networks to connect patients and providers in the state.

Editor’s Note: For additional information on the Missouri Quality Initiative for Nursing Homes please see the following stories: