Imagine checking into a medical facility for care and never making it back home. Or, think of the anxiety and uncertainty some family members feel when admitting their frail elderly parent into a nursing home. Both of these scenarios make healthcare and long-term care a very personal, high-stakes experience — which Healthcare Management Solutions, LLC (HMS) wants to call attention to during National Healthcare Quality Week.
Healthcare quality professionals make it their mission to optimize patient care, safety, and outcomes by implementing healthcare policy and process improvements. Among other positive impacts, their work results in reduced hospital readmissions, fewer deaths caused by avoidable error, and improved care coordination among departments.
Unfortunately, despite the incredible efforts of these professionals, challenges still exist. In a 2021 Commonwealth Fund assessment that compared the health systems of 11 high-income countries, the United States ranked last on access to care, administrative efficiency, equity, and healthcare outcomes.
A Yale School of Medicine study, published in January 2020, concluded that medical errors are not the third leading cause of death in the U.S. — a claim often and erroneously made by a variety of articles and organizations. But the actual number — approximately 22,165 preventable deaths annually and 7,150 deaths for patients with greater than three-month life expectancy — is a reminder that healthcare quality still needs monitoring and improvement.
Prior to founding HMS, President Leah Heimbach understood the urgency of healthcare quality optimization while her mother and father-in-law were in nursing homes. Her experience taught her that oversight is key in medical facilities because the laws designed to ensure the highest standards of healthcare are only as strong as their enforcement.
Heimbach and the HMS team have dedicated their careers to protecting vulnerable populations. Their survey expertise, innovative technology, and consulting services help federal and state agencies ensure that healthcare and long-term-care facilities are complying with the federal and state regulations.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ Nursing Home Quality Initiative helps Americans understand the quality measures applied to long-term care facilities. Medicare’s website also helps consumers compare the quality of healthcare facilities in their area: https://www.medicare.gov/care-compare/.