Macro view of a stethoscope on computer keyboard and key botton with healthcare with pill and document background.
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Providers of home- and community-based services in assisted living communities and other settings are being asked to contribute input during the federal government’s review of its evidence map.

The Department of Health and Human Services’ Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality published a notice for public input earlier this month in the Federal Register to inform a review of its Evidence Map on Home and Community Based Services

Comments must be submitted by Nov. 6.

The AHRQ will produce a technical brief providing an evidence map that summarizes HCBS service categories, the effectiveness of interventions for specific conditions, and quality measures, as well as gaps. The work will help inform policy development by HHS’ Administration for Community Living and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. 

Argentum Vice President of Government Relations Paul Williams told McKnight’s Senior Living that the organization encourages AHRQ’s review of this “critical area” and its focus on person-centered care.

“Quality improvements in this area of care, we believe, will lead to better experiences and outcomes for those receiving care in community-based settings, such as senior living communities,” Williams said.

According to the AHRQ, more than 2.5 million individuals with disabilities that affect their cognitive function, physical function or independence receive HCBS. Although many quality and outcomes measures have been studied, a general lack of consensus exists on which ones are the most impactful and meaningful, the agency said. 

Specifically, the government is looking for available research on the effectiveness of person-centered HCBS interventions for older adults, quality measures related to person-centered HCBS interventions, and gaps in current research. Potential outcome measures include quality of life, functional independence, general satisfaction of care, mortality risk, time to nursing home placement, hospitalization, general clinical outcomes, caregiver burden and cost effectiveness/resource use.

As part of its data collection, the AHRQ plans to recruit six to nine key informants with different expertise, backgrounds and professional affiliations from HCBS providers, HCBS researchers, advocates for recipients, Area Agencies on Aging and federal agencies. Interviews with HCBS providers, researchers and policymakers will focus on their experience, opinions and challenges related to HCBS.

The agency also said it will conduct a comprehensive data search to identify existing and new literature on access to evidence-based HCBS for older adults using person-centered planning principles. 

LeadingAge said that the effort represents an opportunity for HCBS providers that maintain data on institutional diversions, quality outcomes, financial cost avoidance to government programs, or other related topics, to submit information on their programs to the AHRQ.

“Collection and aggregation of information on service availability and access will support future expansion and offer insights into underserved areas,” a LeadingAge spokeswoman told McKnight’s Senior Living. “We look forward to better understanding how the collected information can support growth and sustain existing HCBS infrastructure.”