Initiative to Reduce Avoidable Hospitalizations among Nursing Facility Residents

This initiative is possible through the collaboration of the CMS Innovation Center and the CMS Medicare-Medicaid Coordination Office.

This effort aims to improve the quality of care for people residing in nursing facilities by reducing avoidable hospitalizations.

CMS supports organizations that each partner with a group of nursing facilities to implement evidence-based clinical and educational interventions that both improve care and lower costs. The initiative is focused on long-stay nursing facility residents who are enrolled in both the Medicare and Medicaid programs, with the goal of reducing potentially avoidable inpatient hospitalizations. This initiative was launched in 2012.

A second phase of this Initiative was announced on August 27, 2015. Under this new phase, a new funding opportunity will allow the organizations currently participating in the Initiative to apply to test whether a new payment model for nursing facilities and practitioners, together with the clinical and educational interventions in place under the current initiative, will improve quality of care by reducing avoidable hospitalizations while also lowering combined Medicare and Medicaid spending.

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From a pool of applicants, 7 organizations were selected for phase one of this Initiative:

Alabama Quality Assurance Foundation – Alabama
CHI/Alegent Creighton Health – Nebraska
HealthInsight of Nevada – Nevada
Indiana University – Indiana
The Curators of the University of Missouri – Missouri
The Greater New York Hospital Foundation, Inc. – New York City
UPMC Community Provider Services - Pennsylvania


Nursing facility residents often experience potentially avoidable inpatient hospitalizations. These hospitalizations are expensive, disruptive, and disorienting for seniors and people with disabilities. Nursing facility residents are especially vulnerable to the risks that accompany hospital stays and transitions between nursing facilities and hospitals, including medication errors and hospital-acquired infections.

Many nursing facility residents are enrolled in both the Medicare and Medicaid programs (Medicare-Medicaid enrollees). CMS research on Medicare-Medicaid enrollees in nursing facilities found that approximately 45% of hospital admissions among individuals receiving either Medicare skilled nursing facility services or Medicaid nursing facility services could have been avoided, accounting for 314,000 potentially avoidable hospitalizations and $2.6 billion in Medicare expenditures in 2005.

Initiative Details

Since September 2012, under phase one of the Initiative, CMS has partnered with seven Enhanced Care and Coordination Provider (ECCP) organizations to improve care for long-stay nursing facility residents. In aggregate, the ECCPs collaborate with 143 nursing facilities across seven states to provide on-site staff for training and to provide preventive services and improve the assessment and management of medical conditions.

The intent of the new payment model under the second phase of the Initiative is to reduce potentially avoidable hospitalizations by funding higher-intensity treatment services for residents who may otherwise be hospitalized upon an acute change in condition. Improving the capacity of nursing facilities to treat common medical conditions as effectively as possible in-house, as appropriate, has the potential to improve the residents’ care experience at lower cost than a hospital admission. The model also includes payments to practitioners (i.e., physicians, nurse practitioners and physician assistants) at levels similar to the payments they would receive for treating beneficiaries in a hospital. Practitioners would also be eligible to receive new payments for engagement in multidisciplinary care planning activities.

The four-year payment phase of the Initiative, slated to begin October 2016, will be subject to a rigorous external evaluation. Successful ECCP applicants will implement the payment model within their existing partner facilities, where they provide training and clinical interventions, and in a comparable number of newly recruited facilities.

Additional Information

If you have additional questions on this Initiative, please e-mail For more information on this initiative, including archived information, visit the Medicare-Medicaid Coordination Office page.