School of TransformAging® receives grant to improve TennCare services for aging

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Transforming the way society responds to aging issues—from public policy to service-delivery is the primary focus of Lipscomb University’s School of TransformAging®. Now, experts at the school have a new opportunity to impact the quality of care in Tennessee through a partnership with Princeton University.

TransformAging pictureLipscomb University’s School of TransformAging has been contracted by Princeton to provide technical assistance to the Bureau of TennCare through a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation as part of the state’s Quality Improvement in Long-Term Services and Supports (QUILTSS) values-based purchasing initiative for nursing facility and home and community-based services. TennCare is Tennessee’s Medicaid program.

“We are honored to be selected to help make an impact in the lives of the aging population in Tennessee through this project,” said Charla Long, dean of the College of Professional Studies and founder of Lipscomb’s School of TransformAging. “Working alongside industry leaders and the Bureau of TennCare, the QUILTSS initiative will allow the State to define quality more broadly than just clinical, health outcomes. Tennesseans who live in nursing facilities or receive care in their home need to know how well providers are delivering their full-range of patient-centered care and services.”

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation provides grants for projects in the United States and U.S. territories to improve the health and health care of Americans. Launched by Johnson & Johnson founder Robert Wood Johnson in 1936, it is the nation's largest philanthropy devoted solely to public health.

Long said School of TransformAging experts will provide technical assistance to TennCare’s Long-Term Services and Supports (LTSS) division as it seeks to change how it purchases nursing home services and makes improvements in the quality of care provided in nursing homes in Tennessee. TennCare’s LTSS division offers several options for individuals who are elderly or disabled and who qualify for services. This division has been recognized by AARP as being one of the top Medicaid LTSS programs in the nation.

“We have an opportunity, and indeed a responsibility to ensure that the care our members receive is the highest quality possible, whether in a nursing home or in their own home,” said Patti Killingsworth, assistant commissioner and chief of Long-Term Services and Supports for the Bureau of TennCare. “Quality is especially important for long-term services and supports, because this is care our members may receive every day and perhaps for the rest of their lives. Lipscomb’s School for TransformAging experts have a passion for bringing quality care for the aging population in our state. They have an innovative approach to the way we think about these issues and will make a good partner as we look to strengthen our services.”

Killingsworth said that as part of this project a new facility reimbursement model will be developed that will include the development of a quality framework to be used for payments to align incentives, enhance the customer experience of care, support better health and improve health outcomes for persons receiving LTSS and improve quality over time.

In addition, a core set of quality performance measures will be developed for home and community based services, including personal care visits and attendant care—those services which include hands-on assistance with activities of daily living. A modified reimbursement structure for these services will help to align payment rates with performance on the specified quality measures, driving toward the same objectives across the goal of better health, better care and increased cost-effectiveness, she said.

The role of Lipscomb’s School of TransformAging team will be to provide:

  • Review and analysis of values-based purchasing or pay-for-performance LTSS initiatives in other states, including key learning and recommendations;
  • Review and analysis of existing data sources that could be used in this LTSS initiative such as health care facility survey outcomes and other existing data; and;
  • Convening stakeholders around the State for input on the design and implementation of a values-based purchasing approach for LTSS in Tennessee.

The Lipscomb team includes:

  • Charla Long, dean of the College of Professional Studies, founder of Lipscomb’s School of TransformAging and an attorney, who was recently appointed by Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam to chair a new Task Force on Aging;
  • Beverly Patnaik, School for TransformAging academic director and gerontologist with more than 30 years experience in the field of aging issues, and
  • Elaine Griffin, associate provost for institutional effectiveness and former health care executive in acute care and long-term health care organizations, where she focused on quality through process-improvement.  

Lipscomb’s work with the state begins Sept. 1, and is contracted to run through March 31, 2014.

Lipscomb University’s School for TransformAging®

The School of TransformAging at Lipscomb University is designed to address the issues facing seniors and the individuals who serve them by finding lasting and meaningful solutions to America’s aging crisis. This crisis requires everyone to think differently about aging services and demands innovative leadership from all sectors, including education.

The School of TransformAging offers innovative multidisciplinary undergraduate and graduate degrees, including certificate programs and a master’s program in aging services leadership. The School strives to develop a new workforce to passionately pursue careers with the aging and demonstrate a holistic skill set. It also serves as a neutral convener of conversations of significance regarding aging issues; provides useful and timely information and training for both professional and family caregivers; and serves as the catalyst for applied research and design for professionals in the field.