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National Commission for Long-Term Care Formed to Improve Quality of Long-Term Care 
October 12, 2004 

Contact:  Doug Pace 
[email protected]  

Washington, DC--National Quality Forum President and CEO Kenneth W. Kizer today announced the convening of the National Commission for Quality Long-term Care. Co-chaired by former Sen. Bob Kerrey and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, the Commission is charged with evaluating the current quality of long-term care, identifying factors that influence the ability to improve quality of this care, and tracking improvement in the years ahead. In addition to the co-chairs, the Commission includes two sitting governors, representatives of patients and their families, healthcare providers, academics, and former local government officials. 

The Commission is unique in a number of ways, especially in being launched by the National Quality Forum (NQF), a public-private partnership whose purpose is to improve the quality of American healthcare, and in being initially funded by several long-term care associations. The NQF was selected to administer the Commission because of its record of objectivity and independence, its previous work on national healthcare quality measures, and its open and transparent processes. 

“The National Commission for Quality Long-term Care represents a bold vision for setting and achieving both broad goals and specific objectives for quality and financing of long-term care,” said Kerrey, a former governor and two-term Democratic senator from Nebraska and current president of New School University, New York City. “It’s a great challenge ahead of us, but this diverse and talented group is uniquely qualified to meet it.” 

“This Commission is committed to transforming the long-term care industry into one of healthy, active aging,” said former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, founder of the DC-based Center for Health Transformation. “They will identify the solutions and policies that will encourage the aging baby boomers and their children to stay active and healthy for as long as possible, thus maximizing their quality of life, and the period in which they can live independently with the greatest prosperity. This is a remarkable public policy opportunity.” 

The Commission has five goals:

  1. To recommend national goals and objectives for long-term care quality improvement;
  2. To report on long-term care quality indicators and measures, in order to determine progress in achieving national improvement goals, to judge improvement efforts, and to assess stakeholders’ commitment to improving;
  3. To provide a forum for public dialogue among long-term care professionals, consumers, regulators, purchasers, providers, and other stakeholders on long-term care quality and quality improvement;
  4. To review quality-related policy proposals, and facilitate accountability and public confidence in long-term care; and
  5. To recommend a national policy agenda for long-term care quality improvement.

 “This Commission will look at long-term care with fresh eyes and a sense of urgency,” Dr. Kizer said. “When you consider the demographic and financial pressures associated with this issue, it is clearly one of the top domestic policy issues confronting the nation.” 

Other members of the Commission are: 

  • Hon. Mark R. Warner (D), Governor of Virginia
  • Hon. Dirk Kempthorne (R), Governor of Idaho
  • Former Senator David Durenberger (R-MN)
  • Monsignor Charles J. Fahey, Fordham University, Bronx, NY
  • Michael Millenson, Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL
  • William D. Novelli, AARP, Washington, DC
  • Richard Payne, MD, Duke Institute on Care at the End of Life, Duke University School of Divinity, Durham, NC
  • Sister Mary Jean Ryan, SSM Health Care, St. Louis, MO
  • Judith A. Salerno, MD, MS, National Institute on Aging, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD
  • Sandra R. Smoley, RN, BSN, The Sandy Smoley Group, Fair Oaks, CA
  • Jeanette C. Takamura, MSW, PhD, Columbia University School of Social Work, New York, NY
  • Kenneth W. Kizer, MD, MPH, National Quality Forum, Washington, DC

The National Quality Forum, a private, not-for-profit, public benefit corporation created in 1999 to develop and implement a national strategy for healthcare quality measurement and reporting, is convening the Commission. The NQF will oversee the Commission and provide managerial staff and systems support, but the Commission will act as a functionally autonomous body. 

Initial funding for the Commission is provided by the Alliance for Quality Nursing Home Care, the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging, and the American Health Care Association.