McLean, VA: The American Health Quality Association, AHQA, applauds the Biden Administration and Congress for passing the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. This historic bill will deliver resources for the COVID public health response and economic aid to those impacted by the pandemic.
The legislation included critical resources to assist nursing homes with infection control support and vaccine uptake through the Medicare Quality Innovation Network – Quality Improvement Organization (QIN-QIO) program. QIOs had been deployed on a limited basis to assist nursing homes during the public health emergency, resulting in a 30% reduction in COVID incidents among those nursing homes receiving assistance. This legislation provides resources to expand QIN-QIO technical assistance to all nursing homes to help us stay ahead of the coronavirus and its emerging variants. The legislation also expands the QIO role to include vaccine uptake, which will continue to be a priority as we work to educate communities and overcome access issues to achieve meaningful inoculation levels. The QIO program had been crippled by cuts in 2019, leaving health care providers with fewer resources to navigate a historic pandemic; this will finally put the program on a wartime footing against COVID-19.
“This legislation demonstrates the important role that the QIN-QIO program plays in helping our nation’s nursing homes respond to COVID-19. We will continue supporting community education and increased access to the COVID-19 vaccine,” said AHQA President Sven Berg, MD.
AHQA and its members would like to recognize the leadership of Ways & Means Chairman Richie Neal (D-MA) and Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-OR) for prioritizing the QIN-QIO COVID deployment in the American Rescue Plan. The association is grateful for the tireless work of Congressman Ron Kind (D-WI) and Congressman Dan Kildee (D-MI), who fought for these critical resources along with Congressman Michael Burgess M.D. (R-TX) and Congressman Fred Upton (R-MI) who joined them to cosponsor the Infection Control Training and Support Act last Congress. Finally, the Association would like to thank Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) and Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) along with 15 of their Senate colleagues who led the introduction of the COVID-19 Nursing Home Protection Act, which included restoring QIO resources to nursing homes.
Since 1984 the American Health Quality Association (AHQA) has represented Quality Improvement Organizations (QIOs) and other professionals working to improve health care quality and patient safety. AHQA is an educational, not-for-profit national membership association dedicated to promoting and facilitating fundamental change that improves the quality of health care in America.