CHA News Article

CMS Announces New Goal to Reduce Use of Antipsychotic Medications in Nursing Homes

The National Partnership to Improve Dementia Care, a public-private coalition, has established a new national goal of reducing the use of antipsychotic medications in long-stay nursing home residents by 25 percent by the end of 2015, and by 30 percent by the end of 2016. The coalition includes the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), consumers, advocacy organizations, providers and professional associations. Between the end of 2011 and the end of 2013, the national prevalence of antipsychotic use in long-stay nursing home residents was reduced by 15.1 percent, decreasing from 23.8 percent to 20.2 percent nationwide. The National Partnership is now working with nursing homes to reduce that rate even further.

While the initial focus is on reducing the use of antipsychotic medications, the Partnership’s larger mission is to enhance the use of non-pharmacologic approaches and person-centered dementia care practices. CMS will monitor the reduction of antipsychotics as well as the possible consequences. For example, CMS will review prescriptions of anxiolytics and sedative/hypnotics to make sure nursing homes do not replace antipsychotics with other drugs. In addition, CMS will review the cases of residents whose antipsychotics are withdrawn to make sure they don’t suffer an unnecessary decline in functional or cognitive status as a nursing home tries to reduce its usage.

“We know that many of the diagnoses in nursing home residents do not merit antipsychotics but they were being used anyway,” said Patrick Conway, M.D., deputy administrator for innovation and quality and the CMS chief medical officer. “In partnership with key stakeholders, we have set ambitious goals to reduce use of antipsychotics because there are – for many people with dementia – behavioral and other approaches to provide this care more effectively and safely.”

For more information, see the complete CMS press release.

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