National Commission For Quality Long-Term Care

The National Commission for Quality Long-Term Care is a non-partisan, independent body charged with improving long-term care in America. Our appointed commissioners reflect a diversity of experience in government, academia, quality improvement and long-term care.

The Commission, which is overseen by The New School, grew out of an industry-led quality initiative called Quality First, A Covenant for Healthy, Affordable, and Ethical Long Term Care. In 2004, the three leading industry organizations called for an independent commission to:

  • Evaluate the quality of long-term care in America;
  • Identify factors influencing the ability to improve quality; and
  • Recommend national strategies for sustainable quality improvement.

Funding for the Commission’s work 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. However, these organizations do not have input into the Commission’s activities or prior review of what is published. The Commission is housed in The New School and functions independently under the leadership of executive director Doug Pace.

The quality of care provided in America’s long-term care facilities has long been a matter of national concern. Historically, most efforts to improve the quality of care have been regulatory or disciplinary in nature. Recently, however, quality improvement methods successfully used in other fields have taken hold in health care in general and in long-term care in particular. New data suggest that real improvement is occurring, although there is widespread agreement that much more needs to be done.

On July 16, 2002, the three major industry organizations pledged to improve quality of care through a 5-year voluntary initiative called Quality First, A Covenant for Healthy, Affordable, and Ethical Long Term Care. The initiative aims to achieve excellence in the quality of care and services for older persons, and strengthen public trust in care and service delivery.

Around that same time in the public sector, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) launched the Nursing Home Quality Initiative (NHQI) and the Home Health Quality Initiative (HHQI). The idea was that by reliably measuring quality and making the results available to the public, providers would be motivated to improve quality, and the public would be able to identify good and poor performers.

As these initiatives moved forward, the need arose for an autonomous body that could evaluate the quality of long-term care, identify factors influencing the ability to improve quality of care, and make recommendations about national efforts that could lead to sustainable quality improvement. The National Commission for Quality Long-Term Care was convened in October 2004 by the National Quality Forum, and our work continues today at The New School.

The New School was founded in 1919 as the New School for Social Research by a group of distinguished independent-minded scholars including historian Charles Beard, economists Thorstein Veblen and James Harvey Robinson, and philosopher John Dewey. Today, The New School, led by President Bob Kerrey, is a legendary, progressive university comprising eight schools bound by a common, unusual intent: to prepare and inspire its 9,300 undergraduate and graduate students to bring actual, positive change to the world. For more information, visit

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